Need You Now
Lady Antebellum took its name from the grand mansions that have nestled in Nashville since before the Civl War. But there's nothing old or musty about this shooting-star country band. Need You Now's first-week sales of nearly half a million units will make Lady Antebellum's sophomore effort one of the year's biggest debuts. (Never mind that it came out in January.) Add in recent Country Music Association awards for Single of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year, not to mention a Grammy for Best Country Performance, and this Lady is poised to join the genre's upper echelon.
Actually, forget about genres. This Nashville-based country trio, composed of Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood, is now Big Time even when you strip away all the categories.
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"Our Kind of Love" celebrates the spontaneous zest of two people who are madly in love ("Always holding hands/Never making plans/Just living in the moment, babe"). "When You Got a Good Feeling" explores similar sentiments, but from a more settled point of view ("I can't believe I finally found you, baby/Happy ever after, after all this time/ … You know you keep bringin' out the best in me"). "Ready to Love Again" finds a woman who's been hurt embracing the possibility of trying once more. And "If I Knew Then" ponders the serendipitous intersections where love can take root. The singer regrets not seeing those moments for what they were—including one in which he laments taking advantage of a girl instead of treating her right ("Backseat of my car/Said I'm trying to get to know you/I took it way to far/But if I knew then/What I know now/I'd fall in love").
"Hello World" is about a stressed commuter whose glimpse of a mom and her little girl in another car reminds him of what matters most. It ends with a tear-jerking portrait of what happens when he gets home: "Sometimes I forget what I'm livin' for/And I hear my life through my front door/And I breathe it in/Oh I'm home again/I see my wife, little boy, little girl/Hello world." We also hear positive references to God, prayer, faith and grace on this track.
"Perfect Day" takes the time to appreciate a day-long escape to the lake with friends and a sweetheart. "American Honey" longs for the simplicity of summers past. And the raucous "Stars Tonight" is a feel-good, boot-stompin' anthem about the joys of performing before an appreciative crowd.
On "Need You Now," two people sing about their middle-of-the-night yearnings to be with each other after they've broken up. The woman says she's calling her ex because she's "lost all control." And the guy admits he's "a little drunk" after downing "another shot of whiskey." Without clear marital context, "Something 'Bout a Woman" implies that said woman has been spending the night with her beau. On "Love This Pain," a man keeps going back to someone who's burned him ("It's like I love this pain/A little too much/ … But I can't walk away").
"Stars Tonight" tells concertgoers, "You better buy another round, we ain't goin' home."
Love, faithfulness and cherishing life's best moments create a soothing salve on Need You Now. Passing nods to alcohol and a passing desire for a bit of sensuality are the flies in that ointment.
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The band's sophomore effort debuted at a strong No. 1 (and not just on the country charts), with first-week sales of 481,000 units.
Capitol Records Nashville
January 26, 2010