Single Review: Lady Antebellum, “Dancin’ Away With My Heart”

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January 18, 2012

Calling out Lady Antebellum for being bland is a bit like calling out water for being wet.

Boring singers, boring songwriters, and boring musicians.  How can the resulting record not be boring?

It isn’t bad enough to be offensive.  It doesn’t exist enough to be bad.

I’m not sure it even exists.

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

Grade: D

Listen: Dancin’ Away With My Heart

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  1. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Ditto. Ditto. And… ditto.

  2. Noah EatonNo Gravatar says:

    I’m ever in awe with your brevity, sir. Exactly what needed to be said.

  3. BillyNo Gravatar says:

    When the song starts out, I kind of like it. Then I stop paying attention somewhere in the middle.

  4. Noah EatonNo Gravatar says:

    With the way Lady Antebellum have continued to produce chart-topping singles as they have, it surprises me Colbie Caillat hasn’t already made a bid for country airplay! =P

  5. LISANo Gravatar says:

    i love lady a. i give this song a

  6. Jake JNo Gravatar says:

    I find myself not liking there new songs very much but the only thing that is this songs saving grace is that it does portray some sense of emotion and regret to it that makes it seem real. Even though country music can do so much better I will take this over any of the new current country guys that only sing about how country they are (ironically sounding rock.)

  7. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    You know whats funny? Everything you said about that song can be said about this review. there is no charachter and no substance. There is nothing I can take away from this review other than you just don’t like the song personally. Because whats bland to you is obviously not the same for everyone. When you read a good review, you can tell there is objectivity because they point out the good and bad. It’s obvious you just don’t like Lady A. You probably should not have been the one to review the song because of your bias. This song is better than a ‘D’. I will agree that there is not a lot of creativity or charachter in this song. But it is well sung and I can feel the emotion of the words in their voices. Lyrically it is good, nothing great but not devoid of meaning or lacking sense. Go onto youtube and you can find reviews of this quality all over the place. Especially from people that hate a certain genre or artist. This song deserves at least a ‘C’ (if you’re a harsh critic because it does lack creativity and charachter).
    I would think a ‘C’ grade would mean it is an average song, which it is because there is nothing bad about it and also nothing great about it. And I would think people like me that can get an emotional value might raise that grade to a ‘B’. I see alot of good reviews on this site, but nothing irks me more than these obiouvsly biased type reviews. If you can’t write an objective review about a song than it’s probably best if you have someone else do it. this also seems like a recurring review type for Lady Antebellum, so it’s obvious that writers on this site (or maybe just you) don’t like them.

  8. SamBNo Gravatar says:

    It says a lot that Lady Antebellum used to be one of my favourite country acts, and now I don’t even care enough to listen to this song to see what it’s like. It’s probably boring.

  9. LynnNo Gravatar says:

    Why do some people assume that a negative review means that the critic/writer is not being objective about it and simply does not like the artist?

  10. Tara Seetharam,No Gravatar says:

    SamB, I’m with you. I listened to the album once through when I bought it and haven’t had the heart to do it again – and this is coming from a relatively big Lady A fan.

    That said, I don’t think they’re boring singers. Hillary’s voice is their saving grace.

  11. RowdyRedNo Gravatar says:

    The last Lady A song I gave a flip about was “American Honey” and that’s about 2 years ago. They have since become the wallpaper of my office, the muzak of my elevator, the cure for insomnia. This one is more of the same.

    Even “We Own the Night” was tedious. What the H happened?

  12. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    Why do some people assume that a negative review means that the critic/writer is not being objective about it and simply does not like the artist?

    Lynn, it wasn’t that the review was negative that made me think he wasn’t being objective. It was the lack of any substance to his review that made me think he doesn’t like the artist. In fact you can go see his review of their other songs and see that he really doesn’t care for them. All he said was the artist, writers and musicians which is basically all Lady A. anyways were boring and the result was a boring song. That’s it, there was nothing else to this review. When you are objective you can come up with a lot more than that and you do when you actually like an artist. When you don’t like an artist and can’t come up with exact reasons why you don’t like them or one of their songs you write in generalizations and don’t include any specifics. That is exactly what is done here. I wasn’t attacking him for the review being negative. I was calling him out for basically being hypocritical because he calls the song out for being boring (basically without substance) by writing an article that itself has no substance. There is no value in this review. I have read many negative reviews on this site and I don’t respond to all because sometimes they make good points and actually provide information of why a song is good or bad. Calling a musical piece boring holds no value because it is one of the most subjective things about a song. Some people don’t listen to country at all because they find all of it boring. So if a person that doesn’t like country music were to review country music and all they said was the song was boring, would you really find value in that? I guess it all depends on why you read the reviews in the first place. The biggest problem with these critics is that they only use their opinion in placing a grade on the song. Personally I would rate the song a B because I like the sound, like the way the song is sung and can get some of the emotion from the song. However if I were to review the song I could recognize that the song lacks charachter or uniqueness and for that reason I would downgrade it to a C, knowing that some people emphasize artistic and creative qualities of a song more. To me a D rating suggests the song is bad. Which it is not bad.

  13. RowdyRedNo Gravatar says:

    What I got from his review was that this song is so insubstantial and unmemorable as to be effectively non-existent. With which I agree.

  14. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    @ RowdyRed. That is exactly what I took from the review. But just because he feels that way doesn’t make it so. And after reading this review I have no idea whether or not it will be a song that I would like. Of course if the song goes on to be top 10 material then he is effectively proven wrong and the grade would have to increase for that very reason. Because a song that popular would have to have something that many people appreciate and enjoy and it would make it substantial and prove it’s exitence. That is how absurd his argument for why the songs grade is what it is. because he has given no other reason for the grade.

  15. KarlyNo Gravatar says:

    Immaculate review, Kevin. I do find this song to be more listenable than the first two singles from “Own The Night,” but that’s not saying much. I do like that Hillary took the lead here; the innocent tone of the song fits the tone of her voice.

    What happened? Lady A, like many before them, fell into the trap into doing the same thing over and over because they’re label is convinced that’s what sells.

    Their debut singles were so fresh and spunky; it’s appalling to see how far they have fallen in such a short time (I’m speaking in terms of quality, of course). Usually, artists can put out 2-3 albums before they start experiencing success and becoming boring…

  16. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    Of course I’m being subjective. It’s a review.

    What struck me while listening to it was that I couldn’t think of anything substantive to say, because I couldn’t find any substance in the song.

    It’s like trying to write a food review of ice shavings.

  17. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I think the accusation of reviewer “bias” tends to get flung around all too easily at times. So Kevin doesn’t like Lady Antebellum, and he reviewed the song negatively because it contains the same characteristics that caused him to dislike Lady A in the first place. That’s not bias. That’s an opinion.

    By the way, the review length is hardly unprecendented on this site, whether the reviews are positive or negative, or written by Kevin or another writer. They can at times be very short and direct, but in general, I think they make their points well.

    Of course if the song goes on to be top 10 material then he is effectively proven wrong and the grade would have to increase for that very reason.

    Oh gosh, no. It’s ridiculous to claim that one person must change his opinion just because other people disagree. Besides, if you automatically give high grades to everything that becomes a hit, you’re not reviewing, you’re cheerleading. Then the reviews wouldn’t tell you anything that couldn’t be determined by looking at the current Billboard chart.

  18. SamBNo Gravatar says:

    Tara said:
    “SamB, I’m with you. I listened to the album once through when I bought it and haven’t had the heart to do it again – and this is coming from a relatively big Lady A fan.

    That said, I don’t think they’re boring singers. Hillary’s voice is their saving grace.”

    And that’s exactly my experience too. One listen, didn’t care enough to do it again, but love Hillary’s voice.

  19. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    @Ben….It’s like you don’t even understand what I write. The way this review was written was basically as an insult. When you write like that it shows bias and a dislike for an artist. When you dislike an artist or a genre you probably shouldn’t be reviewing them because you’re going to have a hard time reviewing them objectively. And as an example I used the idea of a person that doesn’t like country at all because he finds it all boring, what are the odds that he’ll write a review that anyone can find useful. You don’t have to grade everything high just because it is successful. But if your only accusation for why a song is bad is because you personally find it boring and it becomes a hit, that means millions of people actually enjoy it. So the very reason you said it’s bad is obviously in error. My point is that objective reviewing can take the opinion of others in account with their own. It’s like your review of the rose by Conway. The only thing you could say bad about it was the vocal. Which was clearly not how it was perceived by the public. So there you stood all alone claiming it was a horrible cover against all those people that obviously loved it. Basically you’re saying I don’t care that millions of people loved this song, I hate it and so i’m going to make the claim that it’s one of the worst ever. Now you don’t have to rate it highly but to claim something is one of the worst because of your own opinion that is in stark contrast to millions of other people. Seems a little elitist.
    However, to make my main point about this review clearer I will use an illustration.
    Lady A comes to this reviewer and asks him to constructively review this song. He comes back to them and says “you know what I think?”. “I think you guys are boring and this song is boring”. Then he walks away. All he did was insult them and gave them no constructive criticism. That is exactly why this review is bad. I find it funny how people will stick up for a critic that writes a bad review and think there is something wrong with me for criticizing a critics work. I’m only holding the critic to a standard that he wants to hold the artist too. This is a bad review because it is insulting and lacks any subtance or contructive criticism. It is bland as he claims the song to be.

  20. TomNo Gravatar says:

    …the nananana’s give it a certain amount of depth.
    too bad, they only come in at the end of the song. the should have started with them and kept goin’ on “nananaing” right through it.

  21. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    Here is an example of a good objective negative review of this song. http://tasteofcountry.com/lady-antebellum-dancin-away-with-my-heart/ You can tell the writer doesn’t hold the song in high esteem but he can recognize why others would like it. He also gives it a C+ which is a much fairer grade. He doesn’t insult the artists and makes good points of why someone might or might not like the song. It also doesn’t come across as someone that has a bias like the writer of this review. Read that other review and compare it to this one. And maybe you people can understand the difference between a good negative review and a totally biased poor review that serves no purpose.

  22. Erik the PinkNo Gravatar says:

    Nice review of the review, Richard. While reviews are inherently subjective, a good song review should tell the reader at least something about the song. It doesn’t seem to be enough to say “Boring Singer + Boring Songwriter + Boring Musicians = Boring Song”. Even boring acts can have great songs now and then (“God Bless the Broken Road”, “I Feel Lucky”). But maybe the point of this song review is to telegraph something about the reviewer and nothing about the song.

  23. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar says:

    Sweetcheeks here. The review says the song is boring, but really nothing more. It doesn’t give reasons why the song is boring. So its not that helpful of a review.

    I don’t really care about the objective/subjective debate. I think most reviews say as much about the reviewer as they do about the song. What I care about is that the review says something thoughtful, interesting, intelligent that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. This review does none of that so reading it wasn’t very useful to me.

  24. RowdyRedNo Gravatar says:

    I assume that everyone responding is aware that you can click on “Listen” and actually hear the song. I give the writer credit for assuming that we do so if we haven’t heard it before.

    If you read the review AND listen to the song, it should be obvious why Kevin has little to say about the song:

    It’s boring.

    That’s my summary review. Over and out.

  25. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Basically what RowdyRed said. The reviews complement the audio link. The idea is to listen to the song, and then you can see what the reviewer has to say about it.

    Any artist needs to accept the fact that if they put their art out there for the public, it’s going to meet with some criticism, i.e. negative reviews. Callin a song “boring” might not be the hoped-for reaction, but it’s a perfectly acceptable individual reaction to a piece of music. To call that an “insult” is an enormous stretch, in my opinion. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a reviewer to refrain from discussing artists that he doesn’t like because then nothing would ever be challenged.

    Honestly, I think we just need to seperate a song’s quality from it’s commercial success – The one is not a measure of the other. The songs that become hits are the songs that radio chooses to support. It’s as simple as that. If a song becomes a hit, then that would mean that a significant number of people like it, but there will still be a number who don’t. Thus, there’s nothing ‘elitist’ about expressing a negative opinion about a hit song, whether it’s expressed orally or written form.

    If you don’t care for this particular style of reviewing, then you’re likewise to entitled to that opinion. Clearly, however, it’s just that that’s all Kevin had to say about the song, so I don’t think one needs to make an issue out of it.

  26. SweetcheeksNo Gravatar says:

    Sweetcheeks here. What does listening to the song really have to do with any of this? If I listen to the song or not, the review still amounts to “the song is boring” and no real reason or insight is given. The review doesn’t really help me think bout the song in a new or thought provoking way. It says little more than that one person thought the song was boring.

    I do like the reviews on this site though.

    Ben Says we “need to separate a song’s quality from its commercial success.” But why? Quality can mean many things to many people — for some it may mean a song they connect with emotionally, for others a song sung by an excellent vocalist, others may think a quality song is one with good rhymes, others may think a quality song is one that they find humorous. Why can’t a “quality song” be a song that radio programmers play a lot because they think the song will help them deliver an audience to the real customers, the advertisers?

    I see no reason why we must separate “quality” from “song that, regardless of artistic merit, discourages listeners from changing the station.” I understand that for many people (most people who aren’t radio programmers) that will not be their preferred benchmark of quality. But I see no reason why commercial viability, as measured by ability to draw listeners to the station, cannot be a benchmark of quality for many purposes. Not the purposes of a review perhaps, but still for some purposes.

    Sweetcheeks out!

  27. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with richard and sweet cheeks! I mean even in kevin’s comment he’s basically saying I thought it was boring so I wrote this. At least give some reasons or insight. Mama’s Song received a decent review even though it was a boring song but it was sung well which is fine but I think this song is sung well too so what’s the difference? Anyway I don’t mind the review I’m just saying I agree with the info they gave.

  28. KarlyNo Gravatar says:

    I feel like people criticizing the review are missing the point of it; the lack of solid criticism and in-depth analysis mirrors the fact that the song itself has those very qualities pointed out in the review.

    Am I missing something here?

  29. TomNo Gravatar says:

    …, well kevin, folks seem to think you delivered a subpar review of a subpar song. i agree entirely with that – then again, the only way of saying something substantial about this tune would have been having your arms twisted – both of them. that, however, would have made for an even less wordy written review, i guess. a catch 22 in the country universe! may the force be with you, kevin.

  30. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, I can’t even argue with the detractors here.
    I was utterly uninspired when I wrote this. I probably won’t review another Lady A song unless it’s offensively bad, or even better, somewhat good.
    Like the redneck anthems I’ve sworn off writing about, it’s getting awfully hard to say something new about the same old thing.

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