This sultry and sparse song is a somber ode to hard living. It finds Lambert reflecting on getting over heartbreak through music, drinking and one-night stands. She penned the tune with Shane McAnally, who has helped write a number of Lambert cuts, including the similarly themed "Smokin' and Drinkin'
" and Josh Osborne of the country duo Brothers Osborne.
The song was Lambert's first release since her divorce from Blake Shelton
and move from Oklahoma to Nashville. "It's been a really cool journey because I've lived in Nashville for the last year almost now," she said. "I've been able to write so much more than I had before, just not being on the road constantly and moving from Oklahoma. All my friends [in Nashville] are songwriters. We're either hanging out and accidentally wrote a song or we had it set up, so I probably wrote like five days a week for five months straight."
Miranda Lambert said in a video clip that she hopes "Vice" is something listeners can relate to when they hear the track for the first time. "I hope that everybody that hears it can feel like they're not on an island," she said. "We all have things in our life that aren't necessarily pleasant to talk about, but this song is as honest as you can get about emotions and letting raw emotions live where they live until you move on to a happier place."
"Sometimes when we're not [sunshine and roses] we find things that make us feel better at the moment. That's what a vice is," Lambert added. "I think when you go through something in your life that's hard, you learn what you run to and what you run from. Sometimes it comes full circle. It's a very clear image of somebody that's willing to lay it out there and be honest."
Miranda Lambert performed the song live for the first time during her concert at the Blossom Music Center in Cleveland on July 28, 2016.
Miranda Lambert wrote the song with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne in July 2015, the same month that her five-year marriage to Blake Shelton ended in divorce. "I wrote this at the exact time of the s--t hitting the fan," she explained to The Tennessean. "I think it's great, though. It's documented on paper with emotion."
Lambert admitted that some days a "couple of" the vices she sings about in the song are her own. "Everybody has a vice of some sort," she said. "Sometimes when you're going through something in your life, you may run to some things you shouldn't and run from some things you shouldn't. I think this song is an opportunity to just be honest and own it and say, 'Yeah, I have some imperfections, and I live a life, and here and there I might get in a pickle.' It's not about one thing or another. Everybody has a vice they run to when they need comfort, and I think that's what this song says. There's no mystery here. I run to things for comfort just like everybody else."
Though Lambert and co-writers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne were principally mining the singer's emotional story, the two male co-writers also touched on their own experiences. "Everybody else knew what was going on in my life anyway, so I wasn't really hiding anything," reflected Lambert to Billboard magazine. "We just started writing it, and I think when one person in a co-write is just willing to be honest and lay it out there, it sort of opens the door for everybody, and Shane and Josh sort of made it their story as well. So it's sort of like little parts of all of us."
It was Lambert's idea to open the song with the noise of a scratchy stereo needle. The sound was achieved with something from engineer Eric Masse's personal vinyl collection.
Readers of The Boot
voted the tune Song of the Year in the 2017 Golden Boot Awards.
The song was released as the lead single from The Weight of These Wings. It was Miranda's father who was responsible for the album title. Rick Lambert was a police officer who played in a country-rock group called Contraband in the 1970s and he proposed to his daughter The Weight Of These Wings as a possible name for a song during a family argument. "My dad and I are going to write 'The Weight Of These Wings' someday," the singer told American Songwriter. "Maybe in the next phase of music."