LADY ANTEBELLUM >Need You Now

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lady antebellum cover1109_o

LADY ANTEBELLUM

Need You Now

(CAPITOL NASHVILLE)

[Rating: 2 stars]

After winning three CMA awards and selling over a million copies of its self-titled 2008 debut, Lady Antebellum returns with an uninspired sophomore effort that is a prime example of style over substance. One of country music’s most hyped new acts, the trio (comprising singers Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood) has little to say on a record constructed almost entirely from derivative licks, recycled pop arrangements and an unrelenting parade of clichés–all factors that combine to render Need You Now a 44-minute blur of ineffectual, unmemorable pop country.

Need You Now sounds slick and pretty, but between the broken metaphor at the core of “American Honey” (a typical take on innocence lost), the meandering inner dialogue of “Hello World” (which sounds like something left on The Fray’s cutting room floor), and an atrocious repackage of Rascal Flatts’ “Me And My Gang” (“Stars Tonight”) these eleven songs demonstrate consistently heavy-handed songwriting.

The one bright spot is the exquisite title track, on which Scott and Kelley duet with undeniable chemistry. Unfortunately, they fail to replicate that magic and elsewhere both singers prove strictly competent. Scott, in particular, struggles to mesh her smoky, quiet alto with the album’s highly processed musical settings.

4 COMMENTS

  1. […] Lady Antebellum – Need You Now: “It’s unlikely that Lady A intended “Need You Now” to be a concept album, but it does cohesively describe the moment in young adulthood when wild promise starts to give way to more realistic expectations. Scott has a gift for strongly expressing tentative feelings, like cautious hope on “Perfect Day” and recovered self-respect in “Ready to Love Again.” Kelley is far less subtle, and his meaty gestures often threaten to overwhelm the fine material. But Lady A is making progress in its effort to balance comforting clichés with new realities.” — Ann Powers “Kelley seems like the kind of guy who hogs the mike at the karaoke bar. He dominates this album with his smug tenor, leaving Scott to trill in the background all too often. He would have been wise to let his co-pilot take the wheel on “When You Got a Good Thing,” a song that flirts with the heat of “Need You Now” but cools during the second verse, with Kelley’s lyrics sounding like they were cribbed from Hallmark.” — Chris Richards for The Washington Post “Lady Antebellum returns with an uninspired sophomore effort that is a prime example of style over substance. One of country music’s most hyped new acts, the trio (comprising singers Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood) has little to say on a record constructed almost entirely from derivative licks, recycled pop arrangements and an unrelenting parade of clichés–all factors that combine to render Need You Now a 44-minute blur of ineffectual, unmemorable pop country.” — Jim Malec for American Songwriter […]

  2. I love their song “I Need You Now”
    It rings true with a song I wrote to Carrie Underwood called:
    1) I Call You Up (BMI)
    Pray Carrie records it for me.
    I wrote this song about 2.5 years ago.
    I know it would have been a hit just like the above song.
    I hand delivered this song to the Opry for Carrie Underwood.
    Bryan Garten
    Songwriter
    CEO: Bella Garten LLC

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