Lady Antebellum - Golden (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
NASHVILLE’S Lady Antebellum remain one of the biggest acts in country music right now and it’s easy to hear why. They have an easy-going style that makes for pleasant if unspectacular listening.
New album Golden is chock full of the type of material you would normally associate with the country scene and not a whole lot more. Hence, while fine and genre-serving, it struggles to really break beyond that medium and could do with taking a few more risks.
Lady A’s Charles Kelley has described the vibe as “a good road-trip record” and there are songs that certainly tick that box. But there are also ballads that place it more in Radio 2 territory.
That said, fans will lap it up. And there are plenty of good moments. Album opener Get To Me sets the scene well with one of the best guitar riffs to set things in motion and a passionate vocal from Hillary Scott.
While Goodbye Town, featuring a lead vocal from Charles Kelley, has a brooding style about it that’s reminiscent of Springsteen at times. The song, meanwhile, contains a sense of longing for a loved one and a place and is a solid power ballad.
If Lady Antebellum are probably best known for their country ballads, there’s a reason. They do a lot of them. But when they go more country pop and cut loose with some more sunshine melodies, they’re at their most appealing.
Hence, tracks like Nothin’ Like The First Time, Can’t Stand The Rain, Long Teenage Goodbye and Downtown (already a former No.1 smash in the US) are neither here nor there for this kind of thing. They kind of pass by without batting too much of an eyelid.
But Better Off Now (That You’re Gone) has a harder, country rock vibe that has a certain Bryan Adams charm about it, complete with rousing piano chords to embellish the sound, and a feistiness about it that’s ripe for getting up and dancing to.
And Generation Away has a feel-good, sing-along quality (“hey-yay, what can I say”) that brings the album to a close on a celebratory, good-time note.
Of the aforementioned ballads, one does stand out by virtue of its more stripped down, confessional honesty. It Aint Pretty is a tale of loss (“it aint pretty when a heart breaks”/“i just kissed a boy and I barely even knew his name”) that feels utterly devastated and lost. You almost want to wrap your arm around Scott, such is her delicate vocal.
But these are the exceptions to the rule. Lady Antebellum know where their strengths lie and how to please their massive fan-base. And they do it well if you like this kind of thing.
Download picks: Better Off Now (That You’re Gone), Generation Away, It Aint Pretty, Get To Me, Goodbye Town