Need You Now - Lady Antebellum

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Need You Now - Lady Antebellum

1 CD(s) - Contemporary Country - Label: Parlophone - Distributor: EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 03/05/2010 - 5099963364125

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87% positive

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Review of "Need You Now - Lady Antebellum"

published 05/06/2011 | Soho_Black
Member since : 30/08/2002
Reviews : 687
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About me :
Brighton Marathon done in 4:32:01, London Marathon in 4:38:47. A little over £1200 (including Gift Aid) raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Excellent
Pro Some great storming country rock songs
Cons Slight predictability of track listing late on
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"You Need This Album Now"

Even before I'd heard a single note they played, I knew I was likely to enjoy Lady Antebellum. I've long been a fan of rock music and recent years have developed a greater appreciation in me for the country music I grew up listening to thanks to my Dad. I've always enjoyed the country-rock sound of The Jayhawks and recently have become a fan of country-pop, having liked the Dixie Chicks over several albums and recently adding the likes of Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and the Courtyard Hounds to my CD collection.

So hearing that Lady Antebellum were a country-rock trio was always likely to float my musical boat. It seems I'm not alone in this thought, with their second album "Need You Now" winning the Best Country Album aware at the 2011 Grammy Awards and the lead single, also the title track, picking up the Grammy for Record of the Year. Shortly after purchase, the aforementioned "Need You Now" quickly became one of the most played songs on my iTunes, but sitting down and listening to the album properly showed that they are much more than one song.

The album opens with the title track and Grammy Award winning "Need You Now". As an introduction to Lady Antebellum, this is the perfect track. The guitar riff has a 1980s stadium rock feel, reminding me of Def Leppard's "Animal" quite early on. The vocals have a country feel to them, though, which mixes the two genres very well, giving this a definite country-rock feel, not too dissimilar to the Jayhawks, only with a female vocal. I've loved this track from the first play and the novelty certainly hasn't worn off even after many repeats.

"Our Kind of Love" is an interesting combination between pop-rock and country, with the male vocals sounding like Rob Thomas and the female having more of a country feel. This has the feel of Matchbox Twenty doing a duet with Leann Rimes or Taylor Swift. It's a decent upbeat up tempo pop- rock tune with country undertones. It's not as good as "Need You Now", but it's a decent song, as was proved when it was selected as the third single from the album.

Sandwiched between the two previous songs in terms of the order they were released as singles is "American Honey". In my opinion this is the weakest track so far, although that doesn't make it a bad song by any means. There's a much slower tempo to this song and the music has a greater country influence this time around. Apart from the male vocal, the song has a country-pop feel with vocal harmonies that makes me think of the Dixie Chicks. For me, this isn't a bad thing at all, as I'm a huge Dixie Chicks fan.

The fourth track and the fourth single from the album is "Hello World". This is an entirely different sound to the album thus far, heavily weighted towards the piano and strings, with far more of a pop feel than any of the other tracks and with precious little country influence present at all. It's a well crafted song, but doesn't offer too much new, sounding a lot like some of Matchbox Twenty's more expansive ballads. It's also the longest track on the album and as it's at a slower tempo than many of the others so far, it does seem to last a little too long as it doesn't vary much in tone or tempo. I can see why this was the fourth single, as it's not typical of Lady Antebellum in either sound or energy and certainly wouldn't encourage people to buy the album in as great numbers as "Need You Now" did.

There's a lovely bass drive opening to "Perfect Day" before the guitar comes in and it's clear immediately that the country sound is back. This is a really jaunty little country-pop tune with a fun guitar riff running through it. The male vocals are reduced to the background here and that makes this sound a little like a Taylor Swift song, although with a slightly rockier edge that her usual sound, which I have no problem with at all.

There's quite a stadium rock feel to the guitar intro to "Love This Pain". Once again, the male vocal makes this sound a little like Matchbox Twenty and the pop-rock guitar riff early on only adds to that feeling, as that's a sound they've used on some of their songs. The chorus takes the edge off the song a little, as the vocal harmonies add a slight country twang to the song and give it a little less of a rock feel, but it's still a decent track, but not one of my favourites.

The tempo drops considerably for "When You Got a Good Thing", which is the first proper ballad on the album. The vocals are mixed up, which gives it the feel of a duet. Once again, the male vocal has a pop-rock feel and the female vocal adds a country twang. The song as a whole is largely a fairly straight pop ballad without too much of a country influence. This isn't one of my favourite songs, and it's again quite a long one and seems to drag slightly by the end.

There's a really rock influenced intro to "Stars Tonight", which I'm a big fan of. The theme of the song reminds me a little of Carrie Underwood's "Crazy Dreams" and the vocal does have a similar sound to it. This could well be a Carrie Underwood track if it weren't for the male vocal, but that does add a rock edge to turn this into an upbeat and up-tempo country-rock song and it's exactly the kind of sound I both expected to and was delighted to find when I started listening to Lady Antebellum.

"If I Knew Then" slows the tempo down to ballad level again and a little like "When You Got a Good Thing", this is a pretty standard pop ballad. The strings help give the song a more rounded feel and works well on the type of song this is, but it adds nothing particularly new to the pantheon of the pop ballad and sounds exactly like the kind of thing you'd hear closing out a film or a TV show. It's certainly a decent example of the pop ballad, but doesn't stand out as being a Lady Antebellum song.

What does stand out as being a Lady Antebellum song is the next one up, "Lookin' For a Good Time". It seems that we're alternating between pop ballads and country rock stompers and this is certainly in the latter category. There's a great driving beat to this song which makes it perfect to listen to when running, except that I keep wanting to stop and dance. Much like "Stars Tonight", this could be a Carrie Underwood song, although this time around it would probably be "Last Name", except without the regret. This is a great track and the only downside to it being that it was also on the band's first album, so it's not entirely new.

As sure as day follows night, so "Ready to Love Again" is a pop influenced ballad. Don't get me wrong, these are all decent songs, but the predictability of the songs is getting a little boring by this point. There's a lovely stripped down feel to the start of this song, with just the piano and the vocal. Once again, it's a sweet enough song and beautifully performed, but just another pop ballad. I think this is one of the better ones on the album, but as ballad fatigue has started to set in by this point, it's difficult to give it a fair judgement.

The UK bonus track is "I Run to You" and as it's a bonus track, having another song that also featured on the first album doesn't leave me feeling quite so hard done by. It's more of a mid-tempo song than an all out country-rock song, but the opening sounds a little like something Def Leppard did and the vocals make it sound like Bruce Springsteen doing a duet with Leann Rimes. Apart from it being a shame this song has appeared elsewhere previously, this is certainly a decent way to close the album.

Even allowing for the slight predictability of the track order late on the album and the minor disappointment that two of the 12 tracks have been borrowed from the debut album, this is a wonderful album. I'd go so far as to say that this is probably the second best country rock album I have ever heard, bettered only by Lady Antebellum's own debut. If you have any interest in country music and especially country-rock music, this is a must have.

There are touches of Matchbox Twenty with a country twang, but this would also appeal to fans of the Jayhawks and those fans of Taylor Swift, Leann Rimes or Carrie Underwood who can handle a little more of a rock touch in their country music than they usually provide. As fans of all of the above, I loved this album and thought I got decent value when I picked it up in a 2 for £10.00 deal in HMV. But it can be had even cheaper, from £1.99 including postage from eBay or from £3.99 from Amazon and Play for a brand new copy. For 12 tracks and 47 minutes of quality music, this is superb value and I can see this will be on repeat on my iPhone for many years to come.

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Comments on this review

  • anonymili published 23/06/2011
    E-tastic!
  • denella published 13/06/2011
    Definitely an E-worthy review
  • Deesrev published 06/06/2011
    Smashing run through of tracks xXx
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Product Information : Need You Now - Lady Antebellum

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Contemporary Country - Label: Parlophone - Distributor: EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 03/05/2010 - 5099963364125

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EAN: 5099963364125

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Listed on Ciao since: 23/05/2010