New Music Review: Lady Antebellum; ‘Own the Night’ (MUSIC VIDEO)
Lady Antebellum are like Taylor Swift after twenty years, a few failed marriages and a gin and tonic or two, spinning boozy, chart-topping breakup country that finds that heartbreak sweet spot and hammers it until you don’t know whether to sing or curl up with a bottle of wine, a quart of ice cream and the Gilmore Girls box set. It’s a winning enough formula to have scored them a big honking hit (“Need You Now”) and made them surprise Grammy darlings last year, even if the actual Need You Now record was more repetitive than anything else.
But, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Lady A’s follow-up, Own the Night smartly doesn’t mess with the formula. The weepy country thing still works well for them, and the dueling harmonies of Dave Haywood, Hilary Scott and Charles Kelley (these guys are nothing if not resourceful) are as lovely as anything put to record in 2011. With that said, it doesn’t take too long to realize that Own the Night is kind of the same song over and over again, and it’s only a few tracks before the album loses its edge.
If nothing else, though, the band makes some seriously beautiful music that occasionally transcends its genre; “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” has a breezy, Keith Urban feel to it, while “Cold As Stone” seems to take its cue from Staind circa 2001, of all things. It all adds up to a record that’s unfortunately less than the sum of its parts, but there is one part that’s utterly exceptional: the opening track “We Owned the Night” isn’t exactly pushing the boundaries with subject matter (breakup, lost love, yadda yadda), but with an upbeat violin riff, a soaring chorus and pounding drum beat anchoring the song, it pushes Lady Antebellum closer and closer to the realm of arena rock without messing up their gimmick.
It’s that rarest kind of breakup song that’s the toughest to pull off: a truly happy song about where enough time has passed that it’s OK to smile again. Not a hint of defiance, no rise-from-the-ashes cliche, just a plain old shit-eating grin set to music. And it works like a charm. If there’s one lesson to take away from Own the Night, it’s that Lady Antebellum is comfortable where they are; they don’t need to do anything to make themselves bigger stars, but more songs like “We Owned the Night” will make them a better band for sure.
Music Video: Lady Antebellum; “We Owned the Night”:
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