Single Review: Lady Antebellum, "Wanted You More"

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May 8, 2012

So let's talk about hooks and melodies for a minute.

They're kind of important, you know.  They give the listener something to grab onto, making the song accessible and memorable.  A great melody can hold as much power to connect with a listener as a great lyric, and a great hook can convey thoughts and emotions beyond what words themselves mean.

 That's a large part of what's missing from the new Lady Antebellum single, as it was missing from a large portion of their previous output.  “I guess I wanted you more” is not a great hook, nor even a reasonably good one.  The melody has so little rise and fall that it comes across as little more than monotony.

Great hooks and melodies are particularly important if the lyric itself has no real heft or substance to it, which is undoubtedly the case here.  This particular lyric, penned by a seven-head writing committee, crumbles under the weight of vague, hollow imagery and awkwardly forced rhyme schemes.  The lyric is also an ill fit for the duet treatment it is here given, as we hear two vocalists singing “I guess I wanted you more” back and forth to each other. (So who wanted who more?)

As if to compensate for the song's manifold weaknesses, producer Paul Worley attempts to lend intensity to the track by surrounding the vocalists with a chaotic mess of orchestral swells, while Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott are screaming their heads off.  That leaves “Wanted You More” a shoddily constructed, miscalculated mess of a single.

Written by Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood, Matt Billingslea, Dennis Edwards, Jonathan Long, and Jason “Slim” Gambill

Grade:  D

Listen:  Wanted You More

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  1. Michael A.No Gravatar says:

    7 writers to come up with this? Really? Wow.

  2. KentNo Gravatar says:

    I fell asleep after the first verse and chorus. I didn’t mind a few of their earlier singles, but this is getting bad.

  3. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    They have a really cool band logo.

    That’s about all the positive feedback I have to offer.

  4. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I personally liked the old band logo better, but I guess they scrapped it because it looked too country.

  5. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    A great melody can hold as much power to connect with a listener as a great lyric, and a great hook can convey thoughts and emotions beyond what words themselves mean.

    Amen brotha. RIP to the Lady A I fell in love with.

  6. DanNo Gravatar says:

    RIP to the Lady A I fell in love with.

    Agreed! I guess I don’t have a problem with their newer stuff, but they’re certainly not the same band they were four years ago. Am I the only one who thinks “Love Don’t Live Here” is still their best song? That first single was a breath of fresh air, but now all they do is blend into the background.

  7. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    That whole first album is really underrated.

  8. bobNo Gravatar says:

    Lady A’s debut album was co-produced by singer/songwriter Victoria Shaw. She also co-wrote 4 of the songs. She hasn’t been involved in the last 2 albums. Whether her absence has contributed to the drop in quality I have no idea.

    Shaw’s an outstanding singer (IMHO). As a writer, Shaw is probably best known for her co-writes on the Garth Brooks song “The River”, Doug Stone’s “Too Busy Being in Love”, and John Michael Montgomery’s “I Love the Way You Love Me”.

  9. kerwinNo Gravatar says:

    Just when I thought “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” is their worst.
    I cannot remember the song after I heard it.

  10. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Tara – I did kind of lift that line out of your playbook ;)

    I remember you making a similar point in a discussion a while back, and that made me realize that that’s pretty much the way I’ve always felt about music. Even when the lyrics are strong, it can be a dealbreaker for me if the melody doesn’t click.

  11. JoeNo Gravatar says:

    “Who wanted who more?” Perfect.

  12. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    And you also have to wonder why it is that it took seven different people to write this song. This is the kind of songwriting by committee that really diffuses a lot of the country music today (IMHO).

  13. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Me too, Ben. Sometimes it makes me feel a little out of place in the storytelling genre of country music, but I can’t help what moves me.

  14. MotownMikeNo Gravatar says:

    @ Bob

    I think you hit it exactly. No Victoria Shaw on their projects has been their real problem. Not that I loved or really liked their first album, but at least she gave it some direction and a handful of good material.

    This, whatever it is now, plain stinks! No given direction, cookie cutter material as can be and in cases like this, down right terrible songs. This entire album has been one dud after the other. ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

    No, I don’t want anymore of this. I want Richie McDonald in Lonestar and Paulette Carlson and Highway 101 back but definitely not this!

  15. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    No offense to Victoria Shaw but she had nothing to do with the biggest and best song of their career Need You Now. I can understand if you guys don’t like any of their new stuff or even NYN, but you can’t deny that song put them on another level and was their break through song. It’s stupid to say something was wrong with the 2nd Album given the success they have had with it. I don’t particularly care for much of the 3rd Album but the 2nd Album made them superstars.

  16. Adam JamesNo Gravatar says:

    @Dan

    Yep, I’m with you on that. “Love Don’t Live Here” was fresh, had attitude and even a different kind of sound.

    NOW they’re doing the milquetoast adult-contemporary crossover thing now. They couldn’t give a damn about the country audience.

  17. kerwinNo Gravatar says:

    Dave, I think the title track of their second album made them superstars. No other single from that era duplicated its success.

    Save “Need You Now”, their sophomore effort was blah. “Own the Night” was even worse. The only interesting part of it is the cover and its middling first single.

  18. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    It seems like “Need You Now” was something of a pivot point for Lady Antebellum, at least according to my observation. It was a great single that was a huge hit, but it seems like they’ve kept mining the moody adult pop zone trying to find another “Need You Now,” and their music has degenerated as a result, though their commercial success has continued.

  19. Erik the PinkNo Gravatar says:

    “Need You Now” = “Breathe”

    Everything after “Need You Now” = Everything after “Breathe”

  20. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Everything after “Breathe” (Cry, Fireflies, etc.) > Everything after “Need You Now”

    Just sayin’ :)

  21. RowdyRedNo Gravatar says:

    Another vote for the assertion that “Love Don’t Live Here” is this band’s high water mark. That song had several hooks in it, it stayed interesting lyrically, musically and vocally from start to end.

    I’ve been thinking about the concept of hooks lately, too. Just MHO, but the hook-iest song in history is the original Bill Withers recording of “Lean On Me.” That song musically dynamic from the first note. Poetic, meaningful and endlessly fresh from one stanza to the next. That was some awesome great writing.

    This stuff is like sonic Sominex. What a shame. More like Love Don’t Live Here…PLEASE! WAKE UP!!

  22. VickiNo Gravatar says:

    Like the last song, I can’t get into this song. Lady Antebellum is Nashville’s fav band of the moment and they are terrific people, but I haven’t seen the spark that came from their first album and “need you now” in this album. I wonder how long their special harmonies and personalities can hold on without the special writing underneath?

  23. Susan K.No Gravatar says:

    I was so vocal about how much I loved Lady Antebellum when their first record came out, that I recommended them to anyone and everyone. Now, I’m just embarrassed. Perfect review.

  24. grumpiestoldmanNo Gravatar says:

    For Lady Antebellum, AC doesn’t mean Adult Contemporary as much as aborted crap.

  25. JenNo Gravatar says:

    I’m going to the Atlanta show in June. The doors open at 5:30. I have General Admission Floor tix that i get from Ticketpolice.com , so, there is no seat or row number. I’m just wondering when other people got there so I know how early I need to be in line waiting for the doors to open. ?!

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