"My last record was kind of sepia-toned and I mean that emotionally as well," says Lambert opening up about music, love and life in this week's issue

By Janine Rubenstein
October 30, 2019 10:00 AM
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On Miranda Lambert‘s seventh studio album Wildcard, out Nov. 1, the country superstar is singing a happy new tune.

“I didn’t leave it all behind on this record,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, speaking of the tough-girl grit she’s known for. “But I definitely celebrated joy a lot more than I have before.”

A lot has changed since her last album, 2016’s hit The Weight of These Wings, which came on the heels of her divorce from Blake Shelton the year prior. “My last record was kind of sepia-toned and I mean that emotionally as well,” says Lambert, who took home album of the year for Wings at that year’s Academy of Country Music Awards.

Miranda Lambert
Mei Tao

But now life seems to be in full-color for the star, who’s enjoying the newlywed phase with husband of nine months, NYPD officer Brendan McLoughlin. She says she couldn’t help letting her upbeat spirit seep into her new music.

“This record’s got some pizzazz and some pump to it,” says Lambert of foot-tapping tunes like “It’ll All Come Out In the Wash.” As for why, “It was a conscious decision,” she says of “switching gears, I guess in all ways. In life and in art. And don’t they go hand in hand most times, you know.”

Brendan McLoughlin and Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert/Instagram

Lambert also opened up about her latest body art, inspired by where she’s at in life now. Of her seven tattoos, the latest is a playing card, the Queen of Hearts, etched just above her wrist on her right arm.

“It represents a lot of things in my life,” says Lambert of the ink she got last October. “I was going from one phase of life to a new one and starting to take care of me and not worry about what was around me. It’s about making sure I know that I’m the queen of my own heart,” she says, adding, “I love it.”

Miranda Lambert’s Wildcard

That empowering body art has been on display during Lambert’s current tour, where McLoughlin, who’s on leave from the NYPD, has been by her side. She’s excited to bring fans along for the wild ride she’s been on throughout her 16-year career.

“When I go onstage, I take myself on a musical journey, and I hope that’s what I do for the crowd,” says Lambert. “I really take them through all the emotions.”

Miranda Lambert
Mei Tao

And despite how happy she is now in life and in music, she wants to assure fans of her heartbreak hits, she hasn’t lost her signature edge.

“No matter how happy I am, there’s always this side of me that’s still a skeptic,” she says. “I’ll always keep a little bit of that in me. I’m a sucker for a sad song.”

Lambert’s new album, Wildcard, will be available Nov. 1 on all streaming services. For more on Miranda Lambert’s new music and happy newlywed life, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.