Music Monday: Lady Antebellum's "Golden"

Monday, May 06, 2013

source: Lady Antebellum's Facebook page
For a group that only got together in 2006, Lady Antebellum sure has achieved a lot in a short amount of time. Their sophomore album "Need You Now" pretty much won them every award conceivable for a country group, and accolades that they would be hard-pressed to top. And I truly believe that "Need You Now" remains their best album to date.

Where Lady Antebellum's self-titled debut album was probably the most irreverent of them all, the group's sophomore album "Need You Now" was the most eclectic of all, running the gamut of standard pop midtempos to lively bluegrassy songs like "Perfect Day." The album following "Need You Now" was probably never going to top its predecessor but still, it disappointed me. On "Own The Night," it seemed as if they were grasping for the last threads of their youth. The group's eldest member, Charles Kelley, had been married for some time by the group's third release. The group's youngest, Hillary Scott, was engaged, and Dave Haywood was just months away from proposing to his girlfriend. The album amounted to an incredibly subdued, almost sparkless version of "Need You Now." To sum it up in a few words, I'm not devastated I missed the "Own The Night" tour.

I'm pleased to say that Lady Antebellum seems to have gotten at least some of that spark back on their latest release, "Golden." Since their sophomore album, Lady Antebellum has danced around the theme of nostalgia and sentimentality. The subject matter of "Golden" is still nostalgia. The music is still easy, with its midtempos and ballads. And it seems the three members are happy to settle into that Easy Listening, LiteFM zone with their innocuous, somewhat sappy, wistful music. None of their music is or has ever been groundbreaking, but pretty pop-country rehashes of the archetypal young adult experience.

"Golden" isn't as lively and youthful as "Need You Now," but it has its moments. Like in the cheeky lead single, "Downtown." Mostly, "Golden" is sweetly sentimental, with Hillary Scott's honeyed vocals recounting a puppy love romance, or a long-ago regret ("It Ain't Pretty). Something really touching must've happened romantically to at least one member of Lady Antebellum at age 17-18, because at least two of their songs reference these formative years: "Dancing Away With My Heart" from their 2011 album, and "Long Teenage Goodbye" on their newest album.

"Get To Me" and "Long Teenage Goodbye" not only capture this sentimentality in words, but through the mood of the music, with a dose of down-home pop-leaning folk/bluegrass/country. "Generation Away" tackles nostalgia from a more rebellious, fun-loving, country-rock perspective. This is a musical group that has, for the most part, stuck to its country roots. And this is an album you can pop into your CD (or mp3) player and listen to on repeat all Saturday long. It's a Saturday morning coffee kind of album, it's a Saturday afternoon cleaning kind of album, it's a Saturday dusk drive kind of album. It's pleasant, it's non-offensive, and every once in a while, it might even make you smile and think of that girl or boy you had a crush on in high school.

The baby of Lady Antebellum is now having a baby herself, but I hope that doesn't stop Lady A from continuing what they seem to have perfected over the past 7 years -- sweet, pleasant, cozy music that warms the heart. Someone's gotta represent the 17 and 18-year-olds who still live within us, and not just the 13, 14, 15-year-olds.

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