Taking a short hiatus was not just a good idea for Lady Antebellum, it was a great idea. As a fan of their music since the beginning of their career, I always had fairly high expectations from Lady Antebellum and they haven’t always been met. For me, their first two albums could never be topped. However, Heart Break has come pretty darn close and I think the break has helped. Not only did the break give Hilary, Dave and Charles time to concentrate on family and or solo projects but it also clearly gave them the time to put more time and effort into this new album so that they could come back with a bang and I believe that they will indeed come back with one hell of a bang!
The trio set aside time to put themselves in a new environment and concentrate on writing together to explore different angles musically and work through different ideas. Lady Antebellum have not re-invented themselves like many artists feel pressured to do but have just delved further into their musical stylings, tastes and their roots. They did this by not just setting aside time but by temporarily moving in together. Renting a house in Florida, they tested the waters to see how working and living together would pan out and how well it would cater to the creative process of the then potential album. This idea, this move, this level of commitment worked so well that they then decided to set up a second location in southern California.
I have been lucky enough to have this album for a while now, purely for the purpose of this review and I have barely played anything else. The album has everything to offer for Lady A fans and beyond and also brings in a youthful sound to engage a younger audience which makes their world tour with Kelsea Ballerini even more tempting.
This album delivers an impressive repertoire of beautifully crafted, ornate and rich songs that range from affective fun lovin’ country pop to tender, heartbreaking and emotive melodies.
The album kicks off with the ear pleasing Heart Break which all three members wrote with Jesse Frasure and Nicolle Galyon. The song was written on their first trip to Florida with the new writers and that was when they first felt everything click into place. Heart Break has a nice youthful sound to it. It is so engaging and mellow but at the same time has a sense of an up beat edge to it. Hilary has one of the best and most distinctive vocals in country music, her vocals are clean but with mountains of character that I would challenge any style of music to not suit her.
You Look Good – a nice seductive song which really lures you in and inspires confidence. The songs instrumentation is top form especially in the brass area which gives the song more force and a sense of power. The song is sassy, cool and collective with a lot of energy and soul.
Somebody Else’s Heart – Charles starts the song off with his calming, inviting vocals and later joined by Hilary and her prowess vocals. The song is one of those couple story telling stories Lady A do so well like Need You Now. They always make songs such as this interesting with the male and female perspective.
This City – a summer fun, anthem song with that chanting feel to it. The song has the potential to be one of those moments during a live show where everyone is in complete awe and mesmerised.
Hurt – this is the song of the album for me and actually one of the only ones they had no hand in writing. This was written by Melissa Peirce, Ben West and the wonderful Jon Green of Bonfires who has written some of the most stunning music including Jack Savoretti’s Catapult. Everything about this song is stunning – it’s beautifully emotive and heartbreakingly vulnerable with so much tender heart and honesty. Hilary’s vocals glow in this song in a hypnotic, haunting way. Sonically, it’s wonderfully chilling and leaves a lasting, emotional feeling.
Army – this song has a bit of an eighties feel to it. Charles takes lead in this song with exceptional harmonies from Hilary. This is an enjoyable song and has some solid guitar work and over all, the song reminds me of artists such as Peter Gabriel and Mike and The Mechanics.
Good Time To Be Alive – a feel good song with inspirational lyrics. The song has their Lady Antebellum stamp to it which has that distinctive sound like in songs such as Our Kind Of Love.
Think About You – a good song but not my favourite. I think it is a grower but hasn’t hit me quite like the other songs have. It has a nice, fun melody and energetic beat and of course great vocals.
Big Love In A Small Town – another favourite and one of those special moments in a Lady Antebellum album. I love listening to Charles voice on ballads as he delivers real passion and emotion that pulls at your heartstrings and every word he sings is always so believable and powerful. Again, Hilary easily measures up to Charles in their ballads and their voices always compliment each other so well that it makes me believe their voices were meant to be together in this wonderful musical affair. This song is the Hello World of the album and will be the tearful and silent moment of a show. I love everything about it.
The Stars – perfectly titled, this song feels like a starry, moonlit night. It is sweet souled and electric.
Teenage Heart – an infectious beat with a country- folk melody which is chilling and breezy and carefree . It has a great toe tapping moment which is gives the song more of a lift.
Home – a sweet sounding melody with a warm and homely feel to it which matches the songs title. The song has an affable feel to it and is very comforting.
Famous – Hilary reaches a whole new level vocally on this song. Another great song ending a fantastic album. This song is instrumentally flawless with a wonderful piano accompaniment alongside other instruments that I don’t dare get wrong so wont list. Something about this song has a slight blues, soul and jazz feel to it. It is simply gorgeous and very soothing.
Need I say more? Lady Antebellum have yet again proven why they are so globally loved and I think this is their come back year and I look forward to the journey and to their world tour which I recommend anyone go to.
This is a ‘must-have’ album for not just Lady A fans but for anyone, anyone who appreciates great music and wonderful vocals.
Heart Break by Lady Antebellum