Where is there to go for a band that has been consistently at the top since their formation? Soon after their debut album, Lady Antebellum won awards for Top New Duo or Group by the Academy of Country Music and New Artist of the Year by the Country Music Association. Ever since they have been honored at Country music shows as well as by the wider mainstream appeal of the Grammy’s. With how frequently they are played on the radio, very few in the United States can claim not to at least have heard of them with an even smaller population disliking them.
For their seventh album, eighth including the obligatory Christmas album, Lady Antebellum faced the problem of being just too darn successful. What cause is there to rally for when they have all the love and success they could ever ask for? The three-piece band chose to turn their reflection inward for their fans to get a deeper dive into their personal lives.
Ocean is not designed to pop off the radio. Each song lets the bandmates explore their inner soundtracks regarding the families they have outside of the band. From overdrinking to commitment, the sentimental ballads whisk the listener away while reminiscing on an impending loss. The breakup or divorce hasn’t happened yet, and the album sits on the precipice of falling apart or digging deeper to pull the relationship through. Ocean can be classified as a breakup record, but the tone of the album focuses on the build-up of anticipation and worry facing anyone at a big crossroads in their life.
A song like, “Boots,” explores the joy felt at the thought of leaving while “What If I Never Get Over You” worries about this choice being irrevocably the wrong decision. “Be Patient With My Love” begs for more time to make it work while the closing song “Ocean” pleads to a closed-off lover to let her in. The album is very much like an ocean in how relationships rarely coast into a happy ending and they recommend constantly swimming to stay afloat.
Ocean is for Lady Antebellum fans. There are a few catchy songs on the album that may get picked up by new listeners, but it mainly shines a light on the intimate relationships of the band. It will appeal to those who have come to know them over the last thirteen years by stepping back from arena crescendos into more introspective tracks.