Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”

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August 16, 2009

lady-antebellum-and-a-chairSometimes, it’s tough to know exactly how to fairly evaluate a song, especially one that I like, but know full well is not rooted in country music in any way. Such is the case with Lady Antebellum’s new single that is set to appear on their second album yet to be released.

So, in this rare instance that I like a song that sounds like it would fit nicely on an easy listening station rather than a country station or even a rock station, I will simply extend just that caveat before proceeding any further.  This is not a good country song, but it is a fairly decent song in general terms.

The main Lady A singers, Hillary Scott and Charles Kelly, join together to offer up a sonically pleasing song with a solid vocal performance and pleasant melody. While “Need You Now” could still benefit from better development, it is lyrically superior to its predecessor, the clichéd “I Run to You.” Sung as a straight duet, Scott and Kelly sing of a codependent relationship that is propelled by loneliness and being “a little drunk.”. “Guess I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.” they admit.

As can be heard in their previous single, Lady A demonstrates that they are capable of crafting memorable, yet uncomplicated, melodic hooks that are extremely accessible.   However, though pleasing to the ear, their catchy melodies threaten to straddle the line of being too rudimentary as a result.

Written by Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Josh Kear

Grade: B-

Listen: Need You Now

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43 Comments

Category: Single Reviews
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43 Comments so far

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  1. dudleyNo Gravatar says:

    Pleasant is how I would describe the song as well. But from a vocal standpoint, I think the song is a complete mismatch for Charles Kelley’s voice. His voice, in my view, completely overwhelms the second verse and he sounds whiny and insincere trying to rein himself in. I say this as someone who actually really likes his voice. The song should suit him, because it has that blue-eyed soul/pop vibe that makes it sounds like it came right out of the 80s Paul Young/Foreigner/Hall & Oates playbook for which his voice is tailor-made. Billy Currington already drew from that playbook for “Don’t,” and while I didn’t care for that song, either, at least it sounded more distinct.

    I suppose the song achieves the contemplative, boozy, middle of the night vibe it is going for, but the cost is a chorus that ends really limply. And frankly, instead of relating to the vibe, I wound up thinking “This is going to be one heck of a whiny and boring drunk dial.” I don’t know…I think it’s the cheesy 80s vibe, because I just couldn’t take the song seriously.

    I’m disappointed. I think Lady A is a terrific live talent with a big artistic upside, although I felt their debut album was a bit bland outside of “Love Don’t Live Here” and “Slow Down Sister.” For this to lead off the next project makes me worried about whether their sophomore album will actually represent progress for them.

  2. Kevin J. CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    “Need You Now”, you are no “I May Hate Myself in the Morning.”

  3. AaronNo Gravatar says:

    When I first heard the song on Lady A’s website I wasn’t too thrilled with it. Not only is it more pop than country, but I wasn’t really feeling the melody. However, after listening to it a few more times, I’ve come to love this song. I think the lyrics could be better, but I think Charles and Hillary are able to make up for it with their vocals. I’m a big Lady A fan and I love this song. I’m excited for the new album, which they’ve said is going to be released early next year.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I actually liked Charles’ voice on this one. When he belts it, I feel like I’m not listening to a country singer, which is ironic since this song doesn’t sound country. I like this song for what it is, a pleasant pop song. I make my sister, Rachel, CDs a lot. She hates country music on principle (I think), but this is one that I can sneak on the next one I make for her and I doubt she’ll ever know what I’ve done.:)

  5. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Aaron, I agree that this is the kind of song that needs at least a few listens for you to really get into it. It certainly doesn’t have a country flavor, but, as Leeann said, it’s a decent song regardless of genre.

    I must be the only one who adores “I Run to You”…I think the urgency and energy in that song make up for the vague lyrics.

  6. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I actually thought it chugged along nicely when they did it at the ACMs.

  7. ErikNo Gravatar says:

    Pleasant ear-candy. Charles really does have a good voice. Hillary isn’t the vocalist her mother is, though.

  8. TawnieNo Gravatar says:

    I think this song rocks….!!! I think almost everyone has drunk dialed once in there life. LOL

  9. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    From what I can tell, Hillary’s voice is just as good as Linda Davis’.

  10. TomNo Gravatar says:

    catchy and corny – sounds like a radio-hit.

    by the way, hillary scott is a perfectly fine vocalist, her mother, though, is an exceptional one.

  11. KONo Gravatar says:

    Absolutely LOVE the song!

  12. VICKIENo Gravatar says:

    LOVE IT WOULD BUY IT NOW.

  13. carlaNo Gravatar says:

    I really love this song it touch’s home for me!!! I think you got to know music and know how to understand the story behind every song to know how to appreciate it! Good job!!!!

  14. KellyNo Gravatar says:

    HELLO?!! Their song “Need you now” SOUNDS like it comes from the 80′s because it does! It is a rip-off of the Alan Parsons Project song “Eye in the Sky.” Compare the Chorus’! Click here to listen: http://www.lala.com/#album/504684633534316556

  15. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar says:

    I actually like this songs, i admit that its nothing more than ear candy, but hey i like that sometimes

    Im probally the minority here, but i like Hilary’s voice better than Linda Davis….she never really did much for me…..then again she didnt do too much

  16. PJNo Gravatar says:

    Kelly is totally correct. LA improves the vocal a little bit by going up on “need,” but otherwise the melody, the rhythm, and even the percussion line come right out of “Eye in the Sky.”

    Not a bad song, but not original and not country.

  17. David cramerNo Gravatar says:

    I like the song and harmony of their voices, and for those under the age of say 25 – 30 or so, this is a new song to them. However, I can’t help and feel that this is another episode of Vanilla Ice, ripping the melody from Queen as the melody of this song is clearly and without a doubt way too close to sounding like “Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project. They have done a good job with it and I love the Lyrics, interestingly enough too is that the lyrics are in the fashin that Alan parsons wrote music, For those of you who know Alan Parsons music, you will know what I mean.

  18. JoNo Gravatar says:

    I knew I heard it before….soooo 80′s!!!! I agree with Kelly and PJ. Definitely never would have guessed, when I first heard it, that it was LA!!!

  19. JonNo Gravatar says:

    I heard this song for the first time on the grammy show ad immediately starting singing “eye in the sky”. It blew me away that an award show would legitimize theft of a song when the industry preaches against theft by technology.

  20. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    I thought I was the only one who noticed these guys were rippin off Alan Parsons. When I first heard “Need You Now”, I thought it was a cover version, only to discver it was actually a rip-off.

  21. [...] I just had the melody. Thanks to google, I was able to find the song I was thinking of right here. “HELLO?!! Their song “Need you now” SOUNDS like it comes from the 80’s because it [...]

  22. joeNo Gravatar says:

    start making the royalty check to Alan Parsons..

  23. MarcNo Gravatar says:

    I sort of figured that maybe AP or someone in his circle must have produced this since not only is the melody a clear rip-off but the producing is almost a clear lift from Eye in the Sky.
    I wish they would at least credit him for inspiration!

  24. Stephen H.No Gravatar says:

    I can see the “Eye in the Sky” comparison, and in fact was able to match up quite nicely on iTunes “Need You Now” with the instrumental “Sirius” (the “Chicago Bulls” theme) that precedes “Eye in the Sky”. However, the chorus seems to also lift quite a bit from “Don’t Answer Me”, now that I listen to it more closely while looking for APP influences.

  25. PennyNo Gravatar says:

    I am SO glad to see that I’m not the only one who noticed the similarities between the two songs. It actually bugs me quite a bit, and I just now started a search to see if they gave AP any credit. Being a songwriter myself, this is very frustrating! However, I do like the band.

  26. adamNo Gravatar says:

    I can sing “eye in the sky” over this song. Hasn’t anyone realized, Alan Parsons (attention please), that this song is a complete copy of “Eye in the sky”.

  27. Cutting the TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    I’m also suspicious about the riff from “Kookaburra”

  28. CathyNo Gravatar says:

    I am glad I found this page because it’s been driving me nuts that nobody has mentioned what a rip-off the chorus of this song is of Eye In The Sky and Don’t Answer Me (which was an attempt to capitalize on the success of Eye in the Sky). I heard it right away. I can only hope that Alan Parsons wrote the song or is getting some royalties. Legally it’s probably not exact enough to be litigated. Artistically I will never respect this band for lifting someone else’s creations. They’ve got talent but not integrity.

  29. David PerezNo Gravatar says:

    Why don’t they just remake the Eye in the Sky and give Alan Parsons his due. The song is beautiful within itself and does not need to be ripped off. I cannot they let people get away with this stuff.

  30. Tom UKNo Gravatar says:

    A pleasant song, but it would feel much better and make more sense not sung as a duet – it just adds unnecessary corniness, like when so many country songs are dueted for the sake of it. I just had a listen to that Alan Parsons song; there are close similarities, but they are such a derivative melody and chord progression anyway.

  31. KimNo Gravatar says:

    While there are similarities in both songs mentioned here, I say it sounds more like Roc Project’s “Never.”

    Speed the song up, listen to the way the song flows. This song has been bugging me too, but I am pretty sure this is a close match. There is no way that this song is an original.

  32. EthanNo Gravatar says:

    This is why I love the internet. The very first time I heard the song on the Grammy’s, I immediately recognized the I-iii chord progression used in Eye in the Sky and started singing Eye in the Sky to this song. I wondered if anyone else would notice. So glad to know that it’s not just me!!

  33. TraceyNo Gravatar says:

    I have never heard of this group im ashamed to say but my brother has. I really love the song Need you now. Heard it a lot on smooth radio. I don’t think Ive heard of the song Eye in the sky that people are talking about but im going to look it up. If it is a copy of an other song there not the first to do it.

  34. PatrickNo Gravatar says:

    B- is way too low of a ranking :\

  35. JamesNo Gravatar says:

    Totally ripped from Alan Parsons Project…..and guess what else….
    Check out Sting’s “When We Dance”. Totally ripped off….it burns me to no end.

  36. JewelChickNo Gravatar says:

    Also sounds like “My Immortal” by Evanescence.

  37. big10-4No Gravatar says:

    kinda sounds like they borrowed from “Tangled Woods” by Dignan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFBH0wv1jSk

  38. FrankNo Gravatar says:

    Wow. This drove me nuts until I figured it out. Liked the Antebellum chorus but knew I had heard it. Came to me in the car the next day. I HAD to do this. I had to step down Lady Antebellum 2 steps. I think it went from E to D, but the tempo adjustment was way slight. A.P.P. was at 110 and L.A. was at 108 so I ramped back Eye in the Sky ever so slightly. this is the result:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS1z2inwJ2o

    I can’t claim there’s an intentional rip off, BUT this was A.P.P.’s biggest hit BECAUSE of that chorus hook and the chorus is the ONLY reason I liked the Antebellum song. It’s a great freaking hook for both songs. The verses in the LA song are open ass generic new country swill to me and also sound exactly like a whole bunch of other stuff that exists. the whole song is the hook, and it’s not really theirs.

  39. Lisa MarieNo Gravatar says:

    This is not huge news but it’s sad that this is happening.

    After the morning cup of java, we watched, on Showbiz Tonight, how Jason Mraz is reacting to Jonas Bro lazily using his song but changing it ever so slightly so that is cannot be disputed via copyright law.

    Alan Parsons has been nominated 11 times by the Grammy Committee throughout his 35 year career. He also engineered Pink Floyd, Dark Side of The Moon, as well as the Hollies, Oh Ho Ho it’s Magic by Pilot, Al Stewart and countless other artists. He even became boss of Abbey Road Studios in London.

    Our fans are reaching out to us by the hundreds telling us how Need you Now by Lady Antebellum is a clear use of the “lazy rip off” of Eye in The Sky by The Alan Parsons Project.

    Please see the link below that shows the similarity. This came from Alan’s fan club.

    Would it please be possible to give this man a little bit of help and respect he deserves?

    Warm wishes,

    Lisa Marie
    —————————————————–
    Before you know it, the Grammy Award nominations will be announced. I was
    reading an article in a music magazine about the early favorites for
    nomination. Lady Antebellum is considered a favorite for Song of the Year
    with “Need You Now,” but even the article said it might be observed to
    sound just too naggingly close to EITS and raise a few hackles. Ha! Then
    last week this video was posted on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS1z2inwJ2o

    Maybe Alan will finally get his Grammy… sort of?

    They harmonize so prettily over the piano-laced pulse of ”Need You Now” that it takes you a couple of spins to realize that the tune is a virtual rewrite of ”Eye in the Sky” by the Alan Parsons Project. Reviewed by Mikael Wood EW.com

  40. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I hear the similarities, though I’d never heard the Parsons song until all of you came here to point it out. I understand that it’s frustrating to his fans, but I will say that it’s not uncommon for tunes to sound somewhat similar. I also have to say that Lady A’s song improves upon the melody a lot.

  41. Greg MeliaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, I just heard this from a friend that “Need You Now” is probably a rip-off of “Eye in the Sky”. It got me thinking that someone needs to do an analysis of the similarities of these two songs. Check out my blog, improv-interludes.blogspot.com, where I will be looking closely at both songs to get to the bottom of this.

  42. JTNo Gravatar says:

    It makes me sick that these “artists” are getting rich off of Alan and Eric’s talent.

  43. [...] won best song at the Grammy’s last month… amidst this controversy. As many blogs have reported, there are many distinct melodic similarities. Some are calling it a ripoff. Lisa Parsons [...]

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