Another week, another music legend gone.
After what seems like months of ever-louder hype, Sturgill Simpson’s latest album finally arrived.
Own the Night
Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” is a once in a career kind of hit. That drunk-dialer ballad became a such a huge cross-genre smash hit that is was virtually inescapable no matter which radio format you tuned into. The Grammy-winning hit pushed Lady Antebellum to instant add status on country radio, which is where they stayed even as their single releases gradually slid downhill in quality.
The downward slide continues on the trio’s third album Own the Night – an uninspired effort that savors strongly of an act coasting along on their superstar status, while resting on their laurels artistically. One could present the easy-out criticism that the album is not country, and indeed it makes little effort to sonically resemble country, but the real issue is not simply that these are pop songs. The issue is that, pop or country, they’re just flat-out not good songs.
When the nominees were announced in August for the 44th annual CMA Awards, they sparked a firestorm of headlines —and thoughtful commentary by critics and fans alike— thanks to the CMA voters’ surprisingly bold moves. It’s all about change this year, as the voters revamped the ballot with a slew of fresh faces in almost all of the big categories.
How will it all play out? We’ll know for sure on Wednesday at 8pm Eastern, but before Gwenyth Paltrow throws on her cowboy boots, check out our staff picks and predictions and join the discussion in the comments below. And be sure to drop by Wednesday night for all of the CU live blog madness!
Country music has always been filled with artists who write their own songs. But I think in the ’80s and ’90s it went through a phase where everyone was recording songs written by other songwriters; which gives those songwriters great success and a way to provide for their families, but I think the fans also love to hear what the artist has to say from the artist’s mouth. And that’s, I think, one of the reasons why Taylor Swift has done such an amazing job and has been so successful, because she’s baring her heart to her fans and it’s so relatable. – Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum
Where to begin? I’ll start with the fact that Scott is wrong on the merits. There were plenty of artists who wrote their own songs during the eighties and nineties, though the best ones had the good judgment to balance their best compositions with great songs written by others, rather than weaken an album by not recording outside material that’s superior to what they’ve written themselves.
Sometimes, 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.
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.