Lady Antebellum keeps it pop-country on new album

By Larissa Gula

Have another heavy dose of musical love and heartbreak. Lady Antebellum

Own The Night

Capitol Nashville

Grade: B

Rocks Like: Rascal Flatts, Sugarland

Have another heavy dose of musical love and heartbreak.

Lady Antebellum’s latest album is yet another edition to the ever-growing stack of music dedicated to those subjects. But there’s a reason people keep telling these stories — and this release highlights it.

Although the country group has been around since 2006, it’s best known for its sophomore release, “Need You Now.” The LP won five Grammy Awards and received the honor of Best Selling Country Album in 2010. Its title track beat out several front runners for both Song and Record of the Year.

Now, after hitting the studio early this year, the band has released a new album reflecting the lives of its members, examining the trials of falling — and staying — in love.

This latest album keeps with the band’s style of combining country and pop, and the members keep pushing and testing their vocal capabilities. The songs showcase Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley’s pipes and their abilities to convey feelings of loneliness, longing and excitement.

The melodies — more so than the lackluster lyrics — make the songs interesting.

For example, the single “Just A Kiss” is a lyrical cliche, with phrases like, “I know that if we give this a little time / it will only bring us closer to the love we wanna find / It’s never felt so real / no it’s never felt so right.” Yet a fast tempo on the piano along with guitars and drums coming in during the chorus makes the music almost irresistible.

In what could arguably be a response to a common criticism from country fans, not every song sounds poppy.

In “Cold As Stone,” the group eliminates the piano and electric guitars, instead taking an acoustic, simple, country-style approach to the song about heartbreak. What could also come across as yet another silly love song relies entirely on the vocal power of the band, which does an impressive job on evoking a response from the listener.

Interestingly, the last part of the song swings away from acoustic, entering into a sweeping orchestra and flute solo to close it out. The artistic risk works in the band’s favor — the song leaves a lasting impression.

Lady Antebellum took some chances with songs like “Just A Kiss” and “Cold As Stone,” and  — although not every song is as memorable as these two — the risks paid off. Own the Night features a bigger and brighter sound than the group’s past releases and represents just another step in the band’s evolution.