Release Date: Jan 26, 2010
Record label: Capitol Nashville
The title of the current single from Lady Antebellum’s sophomore album is ”American Honey,” and that also serves as a useful handle for the sticky-sweet sounds being pumped out by a new breed of Music City busy bees. Lady A, Sugarland, Gloriana: In just a few short years, these young coed country acts have become an integral part of the Nashville establishment, selling melodic, manicured roots music to folks whose iPods pair Coldplay with Carrie Underwood. Since its release in 2008, Lady Antebellum’s self-titled debut has moved nearly 1.5 million copies — a huge number these days for anyone not named Taylor Swift.
Lady Antebellum prefaced the release of Need You Now by issuing its title track as a single; it reached the top spot on the country charts and stayed there for five straight weeks. It was their second number one, and they wasted no time following it with “American Honey,” which appeared a mere two months before this set was in stores. This singing/songwriting trio -- lead vocalists Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott, with multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist Dave Haywood -- understand how Nashville works, and they know how to work it.
Lady Antebellum’s second album is titled after the song “Need You Now”, a #1 country single last year. The main reason it stood out from the pack of soft-pop-leaning country ballads of attempted reconciliation is the late-night setting of inebriation. Drunk-dialing your ex is apparently something people can relate to. “It’s a quarter after 1 / I’m a little drunk / And I need you now”, Charles Kelley sings, alternating verses with Hillary Scott.
Someone forgot to tell country trio Lady Antebellum that “sophomore slumps” are now gauche and that most artists are now waiting until their “difficult, transitional third albums” before losing the plot. Because Need You Now, the second outing for the reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year, squanders nearly all of the potential shown on their pleasant, self-titled debut and promptly kills whatever artistic momentum this record’s terrific first single may have built. A testament to the glory of the drunk-dial, “Need You Now” boasts slightly off-pitch, slurred vocal turns from Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley, giving the otherwise porcelain-smooth single a structurally appropriate tipsiness that works in its favor.
LADY ANTEBELLUM“Need You Now”(Capitol Nashville) The best song on “Need You Now,” the second album by the wildly successful soft-country trio Lady Antebellum, is “When You Got a Good Thing,” which oozes regret like a scraped-up 1980s Don Henley number. Except in one way: Lady Antebellum ….