Miranda Lambert's "Dark Bars," appears to be on its way to becoming the Texan's next single, with Lambert sharing a lyric video for the track on July 9. The video takes the song's theme literally and tours some of Nashville's most iconic bars, which are all currently empty due to the coronavirus pandemic. The clip opens with a shot of the famous "I Believe in Nashville" sign on the wall of music venue the Basement East, which was heavily damaged during a tornado in March, and continues with footage of empty bars on Broadway, Printer's Alley and other spots in Music City.
Amid shots of plastic cups covering beer taps and stacked stools, Lambert sings about hanging out in dark bars not because she's on pain, or on pills, but instead for the cheap thrills. "I'm here for the habit / Complimentary matches / The pretty bartenders / The smoke and the mirrors," the lyrics begin. "The unhappy hour / The bitters and sours / Where nobody knows me / Where I can be lonely."
"Dark Bars" appears on Lambert's November 2019 album Wildcard and was inspired by time she spent in New York City with husband Brendan McLoughlin, who previously worked as an officer for the NYPD. "You can kind of walk around anonymously in the city some and just people watch and sort of be in your own head and still be surrounded by people," Lambert told PopCulture.com. "So in a way, you can get lonely if you want to even though there's a million people around and I don't think there's another city like that."
"New York is such a city full of art of all kinds and so, if you go there open-minded, all the creativity is gonna surround you," she added. "I was really excited to just kind of... I've only been to New York City a lot to write, I mean to work and not write, so spending time there and actually soaking in the city was amazing." Lambert wrote the song with Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey and shared that she herself feels most at home on stage in a dive bar.
"I started there and it's where I kinda got my chops," she explained. "And it feels like less pressure, but somewhere you could just actually get up there and sing a song without all of the things. Which I'm thankful for all the things, but I really love sometimes just to get my guitar and go on a stage in some honky tonk somewhere."