Review: Lady Antebellum’s Golden Album

For three happily married people, the members of Lady Antebellum sure sing about a lot of heartbreak. And funny enough, they do it better than the happy-go-lucky songs.

They are the champions of bemoaning heartbreak and lost love without making the tragic subjects of their melodies sound entirely pathetic. Maybe it’s because of the spellbinding harmonies between Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott. Or because of Kelley’s shining alto. Or because of particularly poignant lyrics.

But whatever it is, the trio makes things like pining after former lovers alone in a bar sound dignified.

In another surprising stroke, the 30-something-year-olds do an awful lot of high school throwbacks,from singing about the tenderness of first love in “Nothin’ Like the First Time,” to the nostalgia for high school relationships in “Goodbye Town”

I think they do raw emotion better in the tracks more relevant to their age group. In the hit single “Downtown,” for example.

This upbeat, jam-in-the-car song conveyd a dark and serious subject in a fun and even optimistic way.

Yet “Downtown,” like the rest of Lady Antebellum’s latest album, is stripped of the huge orchestral backbeats that defines their previous numbers.

Their fresh, barebones arrangement work well in their more subdued tracks such as “Golden” but it takes away much of the fun and energy from their more upbeat numbers.

Supposedly, the group wrote much of the album while they were on the road. And it sure sounds like it, for their songs contain primarily the essential sounds and backtracks. But, in my humble opinion, I think they could have done a little (or a lot) more sprucing up in the sound studio when they got home.

Even so, they’re still successfully mixing heartbreak with happiness. And they’re still doing it well.