What’s the best thing about the fact Lady Antebellum are releasing their second album Need You Now this Friday in Europe? The fact that it was only released two months ago in the States, making it eligible for my Year End Best of list. I’m not going to hide my love of this album at the start of a review. I love it. It’s a gorgeous record, and will probably end up being one of my top ten albums of the year.
American country doesn’t get enough credit over here. Just look at the 2009 Country Music Association Awards. Of the winners, the only one most people over here would’ve heard is Taylor Swift. Even the runaway success of the last decade, Carrie Underwood, is little known on this side of the Atlantic. Lady Antebellum won Best newcomer at the 2008 ceremony, and followed that up by winning Vocal Group of the Year.
And that’s what Need You Now has in spades: gorgeous vocals, combined with wonderful melody. The harmonies between Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott are incredible. Opener and title track ‘Need You Now’ will probably end up being my song of the year. I can’t get it off repeat. It’s marvellous. The chorus is amazing, we’ve all felt it: “It’s a quarter after one / I’m all alone / And I need you now / And I said I wouldn’t call / But I’m a little drunk / And I need you now”. Song of the Year? Definitely.
But they’re not just a one-trick pony. The rest of the album is fantastic too, ‘American Honey’ is the second single from the album, and is just as sweet and tasty as the title suggests, and just sticks in your head (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). The Dave Haywood-led songs are damn good too: ‘Our Kind of Love’ is a big highlight. ‘If I Knew Then’ is a lovely slower tune, and shows the band’s all-round ability.
This is a feel great album: ‘Stars Tonight’ has one of those infectious upbeat chorus with a real toe-tapping beat. ‘Hello World’ and ‘Perfect Day’ are a fantastic one-two punch of catchy country numbers, with the latter a real standout.
Another good thing about Lady Antebellum is that they write the songs themselves – unlike than their main competitors Gloriana, whose debut is over-produced by Matt Serletic. Although this album is heavily polished, it never overburdens the songs. It’s just enough to be a wonderful crossover hit.
The best pop-country album of 2010? Definitely. And you know what? It’s probably the best pop album of the year too. Wonderful.