“Bartender”

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Release Date

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Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

Album Review

What’s a brokenhearted young woman supposed to do after getting dumped? According to Lady Antebellum, the answer can be summed up in four words: Start drinking. Don’t stop.

Lady A’s lead singer, Hillary Scott, sets the stage for this tale of pain-obliteration via utter inebriation in the opening verse: “Eight o’clock on Friday night, I’m still at home/All my girls just keep blowing up my phone/Saying, ‘Come on, he ain’t worth the pain/Do what you gotta do to forget his name.'”

That, of course, requires alcohol. And lots of it.

“What I’m really needing now/Is a double shot of Crown,” Scott soon confesses, followed by dancing … and more drinking. “Chase that disco ball around/’Til I don’t remember/Go until they cut me off/Wanna get a little lost/In the noise, in the lights.”

And here’s where our titular barkeep comes in. “Hey bartender, pour ’em hot tonight,” Scott instructs, “‘Til the party and the music and the truth collide/Bring it ’til his memory fades away.” It’s entirely unclear what truth Hillary is referencing here, as everything else about the song describes nothing more than an alcohol-soaked attempt to deny hard reality instead of facing it bravely and soberly.

Naturally, all that drinking soon leads to flirting (“Tonight I’ll let a stranger pull me on the floor/Spin me ’round and let him buy me a couple more”). Then we hear, maybe a little unexpectedly, “But before it goes too far/I’ll let him down easy/’Cause tonight it’s all about/Dancing with my girls to the DJ.”

That’s really the only positive moment in a song that spends the rest of its time glorifying reckless drinking.

As does the video. The band performs in the background while supermodel Kate Upton steps into the stilettos of the song’s jilted woman. Round after round of alcohol for Upton and her BFFs get announced by an old-school boxing-style round card carried through the bar. How many rounds? The last card we see is 13, and Kate has at least one more drink after that.

Time for her friends to carry her home unconscious … or off to the hospital to be treated for alcohol poisoning. Not that you’ll see that in this video or hear about it in this sudsy song.

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

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