Music Review: Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now"

1/27/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

Lady Antebellum’s sophomore album, “Need You Now,” is the kind of album you give to someone with an aversion to country music if you want to change their mind about country music. The trio is certainly more country than Taylor Swift, but fuse their pop influences so seamlessly into their country sound that it is not hard to imagine Lady Antebellum attaining the crossover successes that Shania, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood have experienced.

The first single off the album, also titled “Need You Now,” is getting significant airplay outside of country radio and there is little wonder why. The country/pop construction is watertight. It has a sincerity provided by the vocal congruency that reseumbles other crossover hits such as Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow’s “Picture.” It is a song whose elements anyone can appreciate and one that sends just about anyone down the road of what the lyrics are conveying--an aching, a yearning for someone.

Fortunately, there are other songs like that on the album, and just like “Need You Now,” the slow-tempo tracks are more memorable. All of them float on Dave Haywood’s sweeping piano, elevated by the heartfelt and perfectly complementary vocals of Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott. “Hello World” is a yielding and lingering song with lyrics of the broken-hearted, describing the depths of sorrow: “Sometimes I feel as cold as steel/ and broken like I’m never gonna heal.” But it also describes the first glimpses of hope when one decides to poke their head out and welcome the world again. “When You Get a Good Thing” has a weeping guitar and old rock ballad sound, but it's not a hit-you-over-the-head love song. It’s a subtle serenade, a wedding song you won’t find on a compilation CD.

There also are fun tracks with fiddles and violins. Some like “Stars Tonight” try to do too much, while others such as “Love This Pain,” a song about not being stuck with a beautiful mess of a partner, can get in your head with an up-on-your-feet cadence and lyrics like, “It's like I’m just not me if I can’t be a sad, sad song.” Also, “Something ‘Bout a Woman” is a delightful sing-along, get-up-and-dance ode to the ladies: “She’s like fire on a mountain/ Like some kind of heaven that’s pouring down on me.”

“American Honey” leans toward the country sound, but is a perfect example of the things Lady Antebellum do so well, and what they do well on this album. Their vocal performances and melodic pieces are so fresh, so sweet and so warm, manifested in a true collaborative effort where one person does not own the others, where every member’s worth is equal and evident. And this equilibrium among members clearly crosses over to the lyrical ease, the melodic bloom and the country/pop intermingling.

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