Aaaaaand we’re back…
Jessica Popper: This song is disappointing in so many ways. Mainly because I quite liked “Need You Now” and this is a serious dip in quality, but also because I was quite hoping it would be a cover of Belle Perez’s minor late 90s hit, and it’s not. Also, I thought Lady Antebullum was a lady? If this is a lady singing she has a very deep voice.
Michaelangelo Matos: Why, look: it’s the dude’s turn in the spotlight without the chick! And listen: he sounds like Gordon Lightfoot! With a string section!
Martin Skidmore: What I like about them is Hillary Scott’s singing. So of course she’s barely there on this, just a bit of backing. I find Charles Kelly a very dull singer, and this quietly relaxed song is very hard not to ignore. It’s very pleasant when I can make myself pay attention.
Alfred Soto: As lulling as the soundtrack to an AARP commercial. This makes sense as the faintly bitter morning-after moment when the lovers of “Need You Now” realize their mistake. Saturday night, meet Sunday morning.
Jer Fairall: Remember the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Better Days”? This is the countrypolitan equivalent, a leaden anthem that avoids any kind of topical specificity so that listeners can project whatever “inspirational” meaning on it that they wish. What is odd about this case is how the vagueness of the lyrics runs so counter to the genre’s insistence on narratives that spell it all out, leaving this one with glimpses of little girls and little white churches without any real indication of what any of it all means beyond the obvious (namely, that little girls and little white churches are nice). Curious, but being an anomaly doesn’t make it any less of a bore.
Anthony Easton: The song is sentimental. But the sentiment is so effective, and so well done, and so airtight — the lack of ambiguity allows for the power of a cheap tune and a cheaper sentiment to win over any critical acumen or cynicism that should allow us to dismiss it safely. This is what country is for, but Lady Antebellum do it better then almost anybody.
Chuck Eddy: I played this album several times this year, and never noticed this track once. And I’m a dad, the exact demographic they’re pandering to. Still, singer does a weary Dave Matthews mumble way better than Dave does; pomped-up arrangement adds more depressive early-evening mid-winter drama than the lyrics deserve. Could do without the religion stuff, but the music has enough midnight mass to it that I can figure out why it’s there.
John Seroff: Somnambulant, heavily-orchestrated AM radio filler that could easily pass as a Neil Diamond cover if not for the heavy-handed Southern Baptist ethos. If the sap here hits you more like tacky resin than sweet syrup, I’d suggest you cut Lady Antebellum some slack. The flyover states deserve and need their own megaballads and it’s not like this is any less inclusive than, say, “Love the Way You Lie”. It’s also not a lot better.