When you’re about to listen to a new album by a group whose last album won them 5 Grammy’s including Record and Song Of The Year, it’s hard not to expect something extraordinary. Lady Antebellum crossed over from country to mainstream with their Billboard # 1 album ‘Need You Now‘ last year, and went multi-platinum globally, and won almost all major awards that the music industry had to offer.
So when I added their newly released ‘Own The Night‘ to my playlist, I wasn’t surprised when I was left sorta breathless by the time I was done listening to the first 5 songs and reached song # 6 on the album. The album starts off with the explosive ‘We Owned The Night‘ and continues the same streak through the next 4 numbers ‘Just A Kiss‘, ‘Dancin’ Away With My Heart‘, ‘Friday Night‘ and ‘When You Were Mine‘, until the pace slows down for the stand-out track ‘Cold As Stone‘ with it’s fantastic flute and violin conclusion.
It’s on this track that the vocal chemistry between lead vocalists Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley reach a crescendo, while Dave Haywood’s background vocals are just about perfect. This one’s pure country, without their signature pop-country touch.
The first track ‘We Owned The Night‘ is the perfect opening number for the album. It’s upbeat and catchy to the point of teasing the listener to expect something different from one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year.
Although I would not rate the first 5 tracks as extraordinary, but they definitely have what it takes to keep the listener hooked on to the album. Especially the fantastic first single ‘Just A Kiss‘, which is my fave Lady A song. The accompanying video’s a welcome change, when was the last time we got to see an innocent video about love and stuff? Blame Gaga and co for spoiling it all lately. The song also becomes Lady A’s 5th # 1 on the Billboard Country Songs charts, and has already been certified platinum.
‘When You Were Mine‘ is another pop-country radio-friendly track that might make it big on the charts. The main theme for the album seems to be a break-up and it’s consequences, it seems to be the dominant subject in a majority of the songs.
The second half of the album is mostly ballad-heavy, venturing occasionally into rock-n-roll and pop, especially on the Avril Lavigne-ish ‘Wanted You More‘. The monotony of break-up songs which fill up most of the album is probably the only drawback. But then the blend of the aforementioned genres was the strong point of their previous album, so I guess Lady A stuck to their tried and tested formula.
And after a coupla listens, the ballads grow on you quite easily, especially the songs ‘Somewhere Love Remains‘, ‘As You Turn Away‘ and the upbeat ‘Love I’ve Found In You‘ and ‘Singing Me Home‘.
The album ends with one of the best songs on the set ‘Heart Of The World‘, and this one’s pure country again, and vocally one of the best efforts by the group on the album. It’s subtle, and not overdone. It flows well, and it’s a befitting closing track for the album.
If you’re a country purist, you’ll probably not enjoy the album. If you’ve enjoyed what Lady Antebellum have created in the past, it’s likely that you’ll love the album. And if you’re just looking for some good music that dabbles in nostalgia, love and the broken-hearted-blues and makes you happy in the end, go get the album. It’s worth more than just a listen.