Since their breakthrough in 2010 with the song “Need You Now,” country trio Lady Antebellum seem to do no wrong. Between singles and albums, they have stood the test of time and adapted to the ever changing genre of country while keeping style and substance.
As the title indicates, their latest album Heart Break focuses on love including the pain and joy that comes with it. The majority of the lyrics are an ode to this, although there are a few anomalies. Many may think it would be a “love” overload – there should be more variety of subjects they sing about, and that the message may become redundant. However, each song is easily differentiated.
Lady Antebellum explores relationships and break-ups in a candid way that is fresh and new. It’s a very real and expressive album, something country has been known for in the past. They take a song and make a story of it, giving it value.
Arguably the most popular is “You Look Good,” which has been on the country charts for 21 weeks now. It was the perfect introduction song for the album, and has certainly done a good job. A playful song, it teases about admiring someone from afar. It’s one of the few upbeat tunes and it’s one of their simpler, pop-leaning songs.
If every track was similar to this, the album would have been very different, and not in a good way. Small doses of these types of songs are okay – they’re good head boppers. However, they tend to be very bubblegum with little consistency. But this is Lady Antebellum, and they certainly didn’t go that route.
“Heart Break” is a classic song for the group, with similar sounds and a steady beat. It reminds me of their older songs, which is a positive. The vocals of Hillary Scott are particularly strong here, and in “Famous.” This soul searcher breaks through to feelings that the band may or may not be experiencing; either way, the harmonies plus Scott gives us a down-to-earth song that is very different from the beginning. The guitar breakout and utilization of piano easily portray the story in the song. Lyrics and music are linked together and become one, something not always achieved by bands.
The trend of slow and almost lethargic songs doesn’t bog down the album. In fact, you could even say they drive it along. “Army” is an excellent example of this. The guitar interlude and surprisingly quick rhythms help the singing feel faster than it really is. Metaphors define this song, and Charles Kelly takes the lead on crooning this story of his love for a girl. The complexity of this song, however, is preceded by the ballad “Hurt.” Full of passion and patient love, it explains how it can be torn up and taken advantage up. The orchestra is the highlight as it augments the meaning and atmosphere of the song.
It’s safe to say that this album is another positive for the band. Overall, it is a very passionate album – it was obviously well thought-out. For me, Lady Antebellum has become a bigger staple in my listening queue. They not only have shaped country, but make country.