Posts Tagged With: Lady Antebellum

Album Review: Lady Antebellum – Golden

Golden - Lady Antebellum

Golden – Lady Antebellum

If you’d read my review of Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night World Tour Blu-ray you’d know how much I liked it and was therefore really excited about the new album from the band; Golden, of which I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of.

On the first couple of listens I liked what I heard – a summery sound with more of the vocal solos seemingly going to Hillary rather than Charles, at least on the first half of the album anyway. This was certainly to my liking, especially after the Charles dominated performances on the aforementioned Blu-ray. However, when I listened out more for the lyrics, that’s when it began to unravel and the album started to lose some appeal.

Of the 12 songs on this 4th album from Lady Antebellum, 11 of them are about relationships. It’s the same criticism I had of the latest Brad Paisley album Wheelhouse, but at least he did it in a variety of ways and with some humour too. There are the positive songs such as Can’t Stand The Rain and Golden, the latter being the kind of ballad that Charles has become famous for. However, there are others like Better Off Now (That You’re Gone), Goodbye Town and It Ain’t Pretty which dwell on relationships of days gone by. It Ain’t Pretty shows off a great stripped down and vulnerable vocal from Hillary, but I find it hard to relate to someone talking about kissing boys in clubs, and there in lies the problem.

Listening to this album I really felt like I was the wrong demographic and not the target audience for Golden. As a married man with a son, mortgage, job and all the usual trappings of being a responsible grown up, I found the subjects addressed by the songs on Golden to be, well, trivial. Maybe I’m just lucky to have never found myself thinking about an old flame or memories of the times we had together. Maybe if I’d spent more time reflecting on such times the songs would resonate more, but I didn’t, and they don’t.

The one song that doesn’t address relationship issues is Generation Away, and not just because of the subject matter it’s by far my favourite track on the album. This last track on Golden is the only one that doesn’t feel like it’s sitting in a Lady Antebellum Safe Zone, and I wish they’d not waited until the end of the album to mix things up a bit. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh as Downtown is a more funky sound than we’ve heard before, and the relationship chat isn’t as blatant as in other songs.

Golden is another step away from Nashville and a few more towards mainstream pop for Lady Antebellum. While vocals are never a problem, their choice of subject matter is, as they seem determined to share the market currently dominated by Taylor Swift. This album lacks any kind of edge and none of the songs have a wow factor like their 2010 hit Hello World. Maybe they’ve always been a teen targeted pop band, but Golden certainly solidifies that intent. It’s an album that needs more variety and spirit, no mater who they want as their audience.

I was sent a copy of Golden but was under no obligation to review it.

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Best in Show: Nashville’s New Country #103

It was the very first song from this week’s show and I was almost certain as soon as I heard it that it would be winning Best in Show, but more on who that turned out to be later. This first song I am referring to is Can’t Shake You by Gloriana, who are a band that I have only come to know in the last couple of weeks, but who have been around for since 2008. Can’t Shake You is abut the aftershocks of a failed relationship that I think most of us can relate to from some point in our past. It has the sound of Lady Antebellum and on hearing this song I did wonder if it was the same band that a friend referred to as Like a better looking Lady Antebellum. When it was revealed that it was Gloriana, the answer was yes, it’s the same band she was referencing, though I’ve not seen them to comment on their looks!

Speaking of Lady Antebellum, they followed Gloriana with their new song Downtown. I would link the video but it seems EMI have restricted access to the UK on both their official video and any other subsequent uploads. I’m still not sure about this as a Lady Antebellum single. I like that Hillary takes the lead on the vocals but it feels more like a song for a solo singer than a band with dual vocalists. The story goes that Miranda Lambert was going to record Downtown but she passed it over to Lady Antebellum when she heard they were interested in cutting it. I have to admit that I’d prefer for it to have been cut by Miranda. there’s no doubt we can hear a sassiness in Hillary’s voice that we’ve not heard before, but in spite of that I think it would have been a better for Miranda. Maybe some of this comes from me having a Miranda Lambert week last week – she’s currently riding high on my iPod playlist.

While I usually like most of what is played on Nashville’s New Country, for two weeks in a row there is one song that hasn’t appealed to me at all, that being Don’t Rush by Kelly Clarkson. It sounds very dated and not in a cool retro way. It also apparently features Vince Gill, but aside from joining in for the ofdd harmony he is somewhat absent from the track – good judgment on his part maybe.

So on to this week’s winner, and after Nashville’s New Country played a rare double header, it’s Eric Church who again walks away with best in Show, this time with Keep On.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a guy sees girl, girl likes guy, girls boyfriend gets macho, new guy makes him look small, girl goes off with guy type of story, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The use of the chorus to describe three different situations is nice, and especially it’s reversal of intention on the 3rd occurance. It does need a music video, although him being signed with EMI would probably mean I wouldn’t be permitted to see it here in the UK anyway.

Categories: Best in Show Nashville's New Country | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Lady Antebellum – Own The Night World Tour Blu-ray

Lady Antebellum - Own The Night World Tour Blu-ray

Lady Antebellum – Own The Night World Tour Blu-ray

I’m not usually one for watching gigs on DVD or Blu-ray, but this release from Lady Antebellum appealed to me, maybe because they were the first band that really struck a chord with me when I started getting into country music 11 months ago.

That disclaimer out the way, the Own The Night World Tour DVD & Blu-ray was released this past Monday and mine arrived yesterday. On opening it I was thrilled to see a booklet inside with some photos, message from the band and a ton of credits. These days you rarely get a contents sheet, let a lone a multi-page booklet, so my first impression was a good one, and that’s without even having put the disc in the player yet!

Once I started actually watching the Blu-ray I was blown away by the quality, both the video and audio. There are parts where the video camera closes in on various band members, the background blurs and it almost feels like it’s 3D and they are about to step out of the screen. I’ve never been that bothered by 3D, but at moments like this I can imagine how awesome it could be. Gigs viewed in 3D must really feel like you are there and in the crowd, especially with speakers all around the room. Lady Antebellum could end up costing a lot of money if they release a gig in 3D!

I like going to see bands live and I love listening to albums, obviously, but as I alluded to earlier, watching a whole gig straight through at home has never appealed me to that much, unless it’s a live broadcast performance. Two songs into Own The Night World Tour and it became evident that I was going to get much more as the cameras broke away from the gig and we got some backstage footage. This was to be the format the whole way through and turned this release from being just a video recording of their gig to a history of the band and an insight into life on the road. As someone who knows their music but is not very familiar with their journey, this couldn’t have been put together any better. It gave me an insight into the personalities of the people behind the music, and it was nice to see what a genuine and humble band they all are.

The gig itself was really really great, and made me even more regretful that I never got to see them when they were over in London last year. The stage set up was really good and allowed lots of people from different parts of the arena to get close to the band. Both Hillary and Charles are stunning live vocalists, and it wasn’t until watching this that I realised just how talented a musician Dave is. The guy plays everything, and struggles with what colour red to paint his piano it would seem 😉 I like how they involve the crowd a lot – there’s nothing worse than going to see a band and they just stand in front of the mics and perform the CD. I also like how every member of the extended band gets the spotlight and not just Hillary, Charles and Dave.

Of the songs performed as part of the 90 minute main feature, Hello World is the standout for me. This is one of the first songs I heard at the start of my journey into country music last February, so from that perspective it means a lot to me. It also just happens to be an amazing song, with some moments that gave me goosebumps just watching it on my television – I can’t even imagine what it must be like to experience Hello World live. The part towards the end where the song goes almost completely quiet and then rises to the song ending crescendo sent shivers down my spine. Need You Now is another favourite of mine and was a great way to end the show.

Need You Now also highlights my desire to hear more songs from Lady Antebellum where Hillary takes more of the vocals. Don’t get me wrong, both Charles and Hillary are fantastic, I just think the balance swings just a little bit too far towards Charles and I want to hear more solos from Hillary. When they sing together they produce some incredible harmonies, and none better than the ones during Just A Kiss.

There are so many great moments on this Blu-ray, both on stage and on the road. As a Star Wars fan I was tickled by them naming their touring studio R2-D2 and my heart melted when they brought the little girl on stage to sing American Honey. The gas station to gig to celebrate the start of deer season was pretty surreal and the prom gig in Henryville was inspirational. It was great to see how far Lady Antlebellum have come and we see this when footage is shown of them singing Love Don’t Live Here in a cafe segueing into the band performing the same song to thousands in Little Rock.

The bonus songs are presumably from the same gig, except one part with Darius Rucker which looks like it’s from another gig as Charles is wearing a different t-shirt. One of these bonus songs is a cover of Aerosmith’s Sweat Emotion. As a big Aersomith fan that was an appreciated inclusion and they do a great job too. It’s a little odd that these songs from the same gig are in the bonus section and not in the main programme, but maybe because they are lesser known they split them up. It could be they just wanted some songs for the special features section! We also get some more backstage and tour footage, including the bit from a show in San Jose where the lift didn’t fully rise so they started singing with their chests at floor height and had to climb out and onto the stage! The Blu-ray contains no extra footage to the DVD, but you do get the improved video and sound quality that comes with a high definition release.

Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night World Tour Blu-ray is a magnificent release, combining magical live performances with fascinating backstage and historical band footage. It endeared the band to me and fueled the flames of my desire to see them live in person. If you’re a fan of the band you’ll absolutely love this Blu-ray and if you don’t know Lady Antebellum then buy this and get to know them and their music – you won’t be disappointed.

Categories: DVD / Blu-ray Reviews, Live Music | Tags: | Leave a comment

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