Album Review: Lady Antebellum – Golden4 min read
Just like Taylor Swift has done over the past couple of years, Lady Antebellum have been one of music’s most successful acts to capitalize on the booming country crossover market. Ever since Shania Twain opened that majestic crossover door for artists to entwine mainstream pop into their country roots, traditional country artists have gained a much wider fan-base while music fans the world over have developed a much broader genre appreciation.
That of course isn’t the only thing that makes Lady Antebellum such a successful powerhouse. Over the past few years the three-piece have crafted a fine repertoire of chart placing hits, perfecting their signature sound along the way as well as putting down some gorgeous vocals that have made the band one of the most popular acts around today.
From up-tempo nuggets of gold like Lookin’ For A Good Time, We Owned The Night and Our Kind Of Love through to the bands sugary ballads including American Honey, Hello World, Just A Kiss and of course the their signature hit, Need You Now, Lady Antebellum have remained at the forefront of the country crossover market and with their latest album being released this week – they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The band has just released, Golden, their fourth studio album (or 5th if you are counting the recent festive collection, On This Winter’s Night). Golden pulls us right back into the Lady Antebellum fold with a collection consisting of 12 powerful new pennings that showcase a band who remain at the very top of their game.
With a rhythm that sounds slightly reminiscent of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ hit, Learning To Fly, the mid-tempo gentleness of Get To Me is a syrupy start to Golden as Hilary’s emotive vocals swim through a soft melody that comes complete with a swift slide guitar riff nearing it’s closing chorus. The track is a memorable start to the album and resonates with a potent radio-friendly quality, like much of the new material on this new record.
Nostalgia and reflection come hand in hand on Goodbye Town, one of the notable inclusions held by Charles on the record. The track tells of a man leaving his hometown but looking back on various moments with fondness. The harmonies shared by Charles and Hillary are sweet and passionately delivered while a wailing male vocal sits modestly in the background filling in the track with a semi-classic rock feel. Hilary’s brief solo moment nearing the end of the track sits beautiful atop a complimenting piano tinkering.
The bands country twang is out in full force on the records lead single, Downtown. We have become accustomed to Hillary’s beautiful balladic tones over the years, with the singer fronting tracks like Need You Now and American Honey so it’s nice to have the Tennessee beauties rich vocal skills wrapped around a toe tapping, southern saloon style ditty like this one. It’s a catchy addition to the record and the perfect penning to start the Golden ball rolling.
One of the sweetest components to Golden comes with It Ain’t Pretty. The instrumentation on the number is soft and stripped back, carried by a piano and occasional guitar strum as Hillary takes lead duties on the track with a few subtle harmony filled moments shared with Charles while the album’s title track is a poetic mid-tempo charmer, overflowing with sentiment and heartfelt lyrics like “Shadows run and darkness fades when you come around / My single star amongst the grey, always shining down” pulling our heartstrings as we make our way through the track.
Closing the record is Generation Away and this one is one of the highlight pennings on the album. The style of the track is very different to the songs leading up to this number, adopting a slightly island coated charm to it with Charles wrapping his skilled vocal chords around the numbers slick, upbeat and well-arranged instrumentation.
Golden is a stunning new collection of Lady Antebellum tracks that shake with tempo (Better Off Now (That You’re Gone), Downtown) and sway with some of the bands finest balladic moments (Golden, All For Love). Though the record doesn’t hit the same career defining peaks that were reached with the bands 2010 Need You Now release, it is a beautiful gathering of country/pop gems and a refreshing welcome back for one of the decade’s most successful and celebrated Nashville units.
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