Lady Antebellum
Own the Night


1.5
very poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
September 14th, 2011 | 62 replies | 12,155 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lady Antebellum become even more rigid in their songwriting.

Lady Antebellum is one of the four horsemen spearheading the pop country onslaught of the past five years. Along with Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, and cultural icon Taylor Swift, the genre known as “country-pop” or “pop country” has established itself as an immovable force in mainstream music. As of late, its popularity has soared to astronomical heights, forcing listeners everywhere to either applaud or cover their ears while seething with hellish fury. As one of the frontrunners of a still young movement, Lady Antebellum have unwillingly been bestowed with the responsibility of dictating the genre’s direction. Like ship captains, they can help guide pop-country through the storm that is the modern music industry, or they can watch helplessly as waves of criticism overtake their ship, their fickle audience rapidly loses interest, and they all fade into oblivion with other short-lived fads like the nu-metal craze of the early 2000’s. But with the way that Need You Now exploded onto the scene last year and continues to dominate the airwaves, there is little reason to suspect that the end is nigh.

Oh, but how the calm before the storm looms ominously. Fresh off the deafening applause that accompanied Need You Now, Lady Antebellum finds themselves in cruise control. Their latest album, Own the Night, sees a band that has grown comfortable with success. They know what styles work for them – what they can do, what they can’t do, and most importantly, what sells. Unfortunately, it appears that Lady Antebellum has opted mostly for the latter, almost exclusively aiming to write ‘Need You Now Part II.’ And who can blame them? If you were rolling in the benjamins, you wouldn’t be risking your financial empire to impress a couple of hipster schmucks tanning by the glow of their computer monitors. Ironically though, it is Lady Antebellum’s complacency that gets them into trouble with Own the Night, an album that could have really benefited from even a few brief shots of energy.

It’s no secret that the catalyst behind Need You Now’s success was the title track of the same name, and since then Lady Antebellum appears to have been hard at work honing in on their ballads. From the smoothly intertwined duets on ‘Just a Kiss’ to the gentle strings that subtly drive ‘Heart of the World’ forward, Own the Night is all about tender, heartfelt odes. Pianos are abundant, the drums rock to and fro like a lullaby, and acoustic guitar strums are everywhere to surround you with a calming sense of familiarity. While those could all be strengths with the aid of tempo changes and structural variation, this album instead opts to numb you with colorless continuity. It is consistency of the worst brand – like a car alarm or a leaky faucet – and unless you eat, sleep, and breathe down tempo country-pop, it will undoubtedly leave you in a haze of tired indifference. At twelve songs in length, Own the Night features a horrid one-to-six ratio of upbeat songs versus ballads, and when the majority of the slow songs follow the exact same musical progression, it is hard for the duo of ‘Friday Night’ and ‘Love I’ve Found In You’ to save this from being anything more than a tedious exercise in repetition.

Even as Lady Antebellum goes through the typical motions, they come up surprisingly short in their comfort zone. A song as infectious as ‘I Run to You’ or ‘Need You Now’ is nowhere to be found, and if you can imagine what those songs would sound like without any hooks, then you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect going in. The lyrics haven’t changed much, with song meanings that revolve around love, faith, and heartbreak – all topics covered in their prior two endeavors. In other words, if you weren’t moved by lines like “It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk and I need you now”, then nothing here will pull at your heartstrings either. The best moments on here come when Lady Antebellum mixes up the pace, such as the title track and the country-twang exuded by ‘Friday Night.’ Normally, this wouldn’t be the primary determinant of an album’s success, but the sheer lack of musical curiosity that plagues Own the Night limits its perks to a pitter-pat drum fill, a quirky vocal inflection, or, god forbid, the brief appearance of electric guitar. Lady Antebellum has dried out their pool of ideas, and if they ever want to gain new fans, they will eventually have to pour a bucket of water in there instead of standing around and praying for rain.

Own the Night’s insipid tendencies shouldn’t come as a surprise. Their affinity for predictable ballads was made well-known long before this, and considering their standing as one of the most popular country bands in mainstream music, they will only continue to drive home their award-winning formula. The noticeable lack of catchy songs may lose them a few fans, but this album is not risky enough to be alienating. It just plods along, packing one identical song next to the other. As far as our metaphor goes, Lady Antebellum has fallen asleep at the wheel. Here’s to hoping they wake themselves up, as not to get jolted into consciousness by the sounds of thunder on the horizon.



Recent reviews by this author
Astronauts Hollow PondsAnberlin Lowborn
Bleachers Strange DesireThe Afghan Whigs Do to the Beast
Matt Kivel Days of Being WildRun River North Run River North
user ratings (24)
Chart.
1.9
poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm working on getting the album title fixed, it is supposed to just be "Own the Night"

Digging: Astronauts - Hollow Ponds

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2011



9033 Comments


I'm so glad that I ignored this album rather than trying to review it. Better you than me as they say.

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
September 14th 2011



3663 Comments


Don't bother SowingSeason this album is horrendous.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I vow to start reviewing good music again by my 150th

Eko
September 14th 2011



2119 Comments


pretty sure I heard Need You Every single day on the radio last spring. it wasnt too bad of a song though. posd

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yeah that song got on my nerves quickly

Nagrarok
September 15th 2011



8169 Comments


Along with Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, and cultural icon Taylor Swift


Of course the distinction must be made.

(and pos.)

Destructerator
September 15th 2011



853 Comments


IF HEVUN WASNT SO FAR AWEY, AH'D PACK UP TEH KEEDS NGO FOR TEH DAEEI

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I had to hold back from going on a paragraph long tangent about how beautiful she is

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2011



49801 Comments


Is this a lady or a band?

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

its a bland

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



15727 Comments


really good review man

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks Downer.

Finally got all the titles fixed in my review too.

BallsToTheWall
September 15th 2011



44164 Comments


Im not going to lie I really love that Band Perry tune If I Die Young, man, country-pop might become my new guilty pleasure,.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



15341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

That's who I need to add to the recommended section! I knew I was missing someone...thanks Balls.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



30883 Comments


and cultural icon Taylor Swift,


Oh Sowing

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

toxin.
September 15th 2011



12021 Comments


I was under the impression she was a solo act... Anyways doesn't surprise me that this sucked. Never really did like "Need You Now" anyways.

AtavanHalen
September 15th 2011



17927 Comments


Great review, one of your best in ages.

I freaking love Need You Now (the song), but I probably won't get this.

Kris.
September 15th 2011



12152 Comments


“country-pop” or “pop country”


lol

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



17920 Comments


summary is a little weirdly phrased considering she's only got two albums



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy