Lady Antebellum rolls out their fourth studio album, "Golden." After striking a heavier tone on their last album, "Own The Night," the Capitol Nashville trio includes several more up tempo numbers on the new set. Led off by the flirty first single "Downtown," "Golden" contains several songs that sound custom-made for rolling the window down and turning the volume up -- such as "Better Off Now (That You're Gone)" and "Long Teenage Goodbye" -- that should become huge crowd favorites.
However, any Lady A disc has to contain at least a couple of heartbreaking ballads, and they don't disappoint here. "Goodbye Town" provides Charles Kelley one of his finest moments, and Hillary Scott is in sterling form throughout -- handling lead on what could be the set's best song, "It Ain't Pretty."
"We're excited to get the album out. We've been working on it for a long time, and have been trying to get a few more up-tempo and fun songs on the project. 'Downtown' has really blown our minds. Hopefully, it's a great omen," says member Dave Haywood.
The band will tour to promote the album through June 15, and then will take a break from the road to allow Scott to have her first child, due in July.
1. Get To Me – Hillary Scott strikes a seductive sound on this light and easy number that flows very sweetly.
2. Goodbye Town – Quite possibly, the best vocal that Charles Kelley has put down yet. The lyrics strike a nostalgic tone – at least at first – but the chorus tends to suggest that the past is not somewhere he wants to be. The harmony notes in the chorus and at the end of the track suggest 80s rock. A definite single.
3. Nothin' Like The First Time – A tender look back at when love was new. Hillary and Charles trade off lead vocals during the verses, building up the passion as the song goes along. A second chance at love?
4. Downtown – Already a huge hit, Hillary Scott gets to play the vixen on this cut – warning her significant other of the perils of not taking her out and showing her off – like he had done when love was new. She chews up the scenery in first-rate fashion, making this one of her better performances.
5. Better Off Now (That You're Gone) – A full throttle tempo cut that the band should take to the next level – particularly on stage. We've already used the word flow, but it bears repeating once again here. No trying to save the world, just a melodic goodbye.
6. It Ain't Pretty – I guess you could say this is what happens when you don't find the lover you shouldn't be with (see "Need You Now"). Scott strikes a regretful tone throughout the song – until she decides she doesn't need to be out clubbing while suffering from a broken heart. The best song here, as well as the best track. Absolutely heartbreaking.
7. Can't Stand The Rain – Dave Haywood's keyboard work sets off this track. Kelley approaches it with a degree of restraint – simmering until he gets to the chorus. The production – about being shelter from a storm – seems to suggest possibly another crossover single.
8. Golden – One of the more traditional arrangements that the trio has featured on record yet. Kelley pulls in on vocals just a little bit, and the result is one of the most sonically-satisfying cuts here. The harmony – as it usually is – is simply spellbinding.
9. Long Teenage Goodbye – Again, Lady A plays the nostalgic card here with a song that eloquently sets up how carefree those initial moments with a lover can be.
10. All For Love – Nobody has perfected the art of the dramatic ballad like Lady Antebellum the past few years, and Kelley's vocal takes this song to a new level on the first verse and chorus – balanced only by Scott's vulnerability.
11. Better Man – Just like with "Golden," there's more of a traditional slant on this cut, which is about the change that certain person can make on another. The vocal synergy between Kelley and Scott is amazing here, as neither minds playing the harmony card, as Hillary does here. After all, on a Lady A record, You've got to have the harmony.
12. Generation Away – A snappy and positive way to end the disc. The lyrics are all about leaving a positive mark behind – whether it be Johnny Cash, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or the Ford Mustang. But – in what is the theme of the album – there's nothing here heavy handed – just words to live by.
- The 615