Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Audien ft. Lady Antebellum – Something Better

It’s a quarter after Avicii and there’s a little drop.


David Sheffieck: What hath Avicii wrought?

Alfred Soto: Lady Antebellum going chart pop? Right on and why the hell not. Drops and keyboard squiggles aren’t what I want, though. Lady A can outdo Maroon 5 in the schlock department, so why aim for Avicii?

Iain Mew: Lady Antebellum take to this EDM-pop vocal business like total naturals. I can’t escape the idea that they were meant for something better than this adequate execution of familiar drops.

Jonathan Bogart: The logical next step from “Wake Me Up,” this time drafting in actual country singers to sing an actual country (well, Nashville) song over sparkling rises and hoedown drops. But since I’m not invested in the purity of either country or EDM: how’s the song? It’s fine. It’s Lady Antebellum. They’re always going to be reaching for “Need You Now,” and they’re never going to hit it again.

Thomas Inskeep: On the surface it might seem odd, country superstars Lady A guesting on a big-tent festival anthem – but listen to the song: with (much) different production, it really could be a Lady A single on country radio, hitting all their usual bullet points of romantic ache. Audien’s production isn’t just sympathetic, it precisely nails and augments both the lyrics and the vocals. The leadup to the first chorus could almost be “Viva la Vida,” and then it explodes into hopeful euphoria. Call this “EDM” at your peril; this is the sound of perfect pop in 2015.

Will Adams: I am all for trance music edging its way into mainstream consciousness by sidling up with the EDMonster, but it’s no secret that Audien hasn’t exactly developed his sound much over the past oh, two years or so. It’s also no secret that trance has been subtly molding itself to EDM in order to fit better, dialing down tempos and dialing up compression. That I can tolerate; obnoxious synth leads and familiar production I can’t (though props for the smart choice of Lady Antebellum as guest vocalists; their knack for dramatic duets allows “Something Better” to out-Zedd Zedd.)

Edward Okulicz: I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I’m fairly certain this song has no idea what to do any time more than one of Lady A is singing, but it does quite well with them individually. I care a lot less about the “we” in this song than the one in “Downtown” let alone “Need You Now,” but in terms of music with no ambition beyond empty anthemics, this one has no specific faults.

Katherine St Asaph: Thanks to John Martin and all the dudes I’m probably mistaking for him, one viable EDM vocal formula pretty much sounds like the guy out of Lady Antebellum, and most female vocalists on a major label, no matter the genre, probably have this kind of pop vocal in their repertoire just in case. And generic EDM uplift lyrics shade well enough into generic country values. If only the genericism on this song didn’t serve so well to critique it.

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