November 13, 2019 Lady Antebellum – Ocean (Album Review)
All Lady Antebellum want to do is swim to you with their latest, Ocean, which arrives Friday, November 15th, 2019 via BMLG Records.
Over the course of their decade-plus career, Lady Antebellum has become one of the 21st century’s premier vocal groups, blending deeply felt emotions with classic Country sounds. The 7x Grammy Award-winning trio formed in Nashville in 2006, released their debut, eponymous album in 2008, and the rest has been an impressively harmonic history. A Country-radio staple, they have amassed record-breaking success with singles such as the 9x platinum “Need You Now,” along with ACM and CMA awards, Billboard Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and a Tony Award nod.
Now, with their debut disc for Big Machine Label Group, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood are poised to present their eighth studio offering, Ocean. Produced by the CMA and ACM Award-winning Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts), the 13-song collection embraces the power of vulnerability by showcasing emotionally resonant songs that are not afraid to explore the everyday alongside the murky depths of despair.
Ocean opens to the delicate, mid-tempo “What If I Never Get Over You,” a deliciously catchy and emotional confession that time might not heal all wounds. Next, the perfect track for those with serious social media-related envy, the steady sway of “Pictures” is a simple reminder that not everything is as it seems in snapshots. In joyous ballad form, Lady Antebellum thank God for the sweet abandon of wild and reckless “Crazy Love” before they get sassy and gritty with “You Can Do You,” which is a toe-tapping Country party.
The lush harmonies of the autobiographical “What I’m Leaving For” detail a musician hitting the road to pursue their dreams yet always loving what’s waiting at home. Meanwhile, soft and sweet ballad “Be Patient With My Love” presents a redemptive love that paves the way for “Alright.” Super infectious and uplifting, the should-be single is here to turn your bad day (and frown) upside down.
Similarly, they go for a heartwarming delicacy on “Let It Be Love,” an unintentional anthem for the year 2019 that urges listeners to let go of their anger and envy and simply let love in. This segues into the piano and string ballad “On A Night Like This” before they amp the pace up again for the toe-tapping goodness of “Boots.”
If you love Country music, you already know that Little Big Town is slated to deliver a new album in early 2020, but do you know that they guest on “The Thing That Wrecks You”? Twinkling sonics back the two exceptional groups as they combine their vocal might to spread the watercolors of one of the album’s most show-stopping tracks. Then, as the album begins to wind to a close, Lady Antebellum promise that they don’t need a “Mansion,” they just need love. Ultimately, they end on a beautifully strong note with album namesake “Ocean,” an exquisitely emotional and minimalist piano ballad that allows Scott to shine.
Ocean is predictable Lady Antebellum: exquisite harmonies that craft simple, catchy songs that will make you smile, tap your toes, and sway your hips. Admittedly, some pieces of the collection are basically well-done filler: beautifully performed, somewhat banal yet comforting background noise. This is in no way meant to demean the threesome’s talents, however, as their lush harmonies and ability to deliver timeless, universally relatable music is undeniable. In fact, when Lady Antebellum are firing on all cylinders, they are truly magical—like sunshine creating diamonds atop the steady waves of the ocean. If you need proof, just stream the titular track and you’ll be hooked! For this, Cryptic Rock give Lady Antebellum’s Ocean 4 of 5 stars.