Label: Columbia Nashville
Although she came in third place on CMT's Nashville Star music competition, Miranda Lambert proved she had the guts and the grit to come out on top. With Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the gun-toting hell-raiser erases all vestiges of that pop-culture reality TV show and positions herself as a true force to be reckoned with -- especially with the album's opener, "Gunpowder and Lead." A near-perfect effort, this album overflows with hormones, hostility and hard living, and serves as the perfect antithesis to girlie country pop. Although many of the songs on this album play up the bad-girl image, others, such as the weepy "Love Letters" and the sweetly twanging "Desperation," show Lambert's vulnerable side, which is equally appealing.