Single Review: Lady Antebellum, “Compass”

Lady Antebellum CompassA lot of country music lovers want to claim Mumford & Sons and Philip Phillips as their own.

There’s a joy, a rootsiness, and killer musicianship in the best records of those acts, despite them not being what we’d traditionally consider country artists.   Lady Antebellum has never had much connection to what’s historically been considered country music, either.   So it’s not entirely surprising that their path from pure, glossy pop to a more grounded, earthy sound, still takes its cues from the top forty music scene.

I give them credit for stretching themselves a bit on “Compass”, though you can certainly hear the strain it’s taking for them to do so.  Their approach to harmonization doesn’t quite fit with the sound of the record.  To use the Dixie Chicks as an illustration, they’re using Taking the Long Way harmonies against a Home musical backdrop.

They need to go back and study the three-part harmonies on the latter album if they want to continue in this direction.  It’s too much of a hodgepodge right now to work.

Written by Mikkel Eriksen, Ross Golan, Emile Haynie, Tor Erik Hemransen, Ammar Malik, and Daniel Omelio

Grade: C



  1. Not very impressive and Compass is the product of 6 songwriters.
    Someone commented (it might have been Noah) that “It Ain’t Pretty” is the best cut on Golden. I agree – and it was written by Eric “Friday Night” Paslay and Nicolle Galyon.

  2. The production is so loud and obtrusive on this record that I can barley hear a word they’re singing when the song gets to the chorus each time. I certainly can’t make out Charles Kelly in the background and can barley make Hillary Scott’s vocals.


    Why is it that artists increasingly don’t want themselves heard on their own record?

  3. Is it just me, or does it also sound like Lady Antebellum’s attempt to test the waters in mixing pop-country/”country” with EDM (Electronic Dance Music)?

    The beat driving “Compass” is decidedly four-on-the-floor, albeit driven by percussion and hand claps. It’s as though they’re trying to have their cake and eat a little of the EDM and folk-pop trends too……….especially when you take the underwhelming chart run of the second single from “Golden” (“Goodbye Town”) into consideration. They knew their status as A-listers of the format was on life support, so made a calculated business decision to record new trend-following songs and repackage them into a Deluxe edition of “Golden”.

    My main gripe with “Compass”, actually, is that it came at a time “Follow Your Arrow” was beginning to impact as an official single, and it is infuriating to me that most casual listeners are going to hear this before they (if ever) hear “Follow Your Arrow”. Obviously the messages of both these songs are different enough, but they still rely on the compass as a metaphor and it is just appalling to me that one will be completely drowned out by the other! =/

    Yeah, a flat C here is what I’m feeling.

  4. I don’t mind this song. It’s a good sound against all the Bro country that’s out there right now. That said “And The Radio Played” on the Golden Deluxe is the best song Lady A has ever recorded imo. If it’s not released as a single, they have really cheated the radio listeners.

  5. I agree that there are loudness issues especially on the chorus. But check out the acoustic version of “Compass” in one of Lady A’s webisodes. That one sounds way better than the studio version. It would have been better if they kept it stripped down so that their rich vocal harmonies would be put on spotlight. Anyway, this is the first Lady Antebellum song that I really liked since “American Honey” in 2010.

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