Review: Lady Antebellum Offer Up Sassy New Single Downtown!
Anyone who knows me knows I am not the biggest fan of Lady Antebellum, it’s just not my kind of music. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to newly released single “Downtown.” The new tune will be featured on the trio’s brand new album set to release later this year.
Modern Country and Sass!
I can’t say that this song is terribly country but then that’s not what I expect from Lady A anyway. It does, however, have a modern country beat and a lot of tone-y electric guitar work, particularly in the solo, that gives it a swaying bluesy feel. In this respect, it is a great song for the bars and clubs to get people up dancing, and I can see it being hugely popular there. Hillary Scott takes the lead vocals on this one with Charles Kelley backing up, and I think this was the correct decision, as his husky vocals can seem a little too laid back for this kind of track. Instead, Hillary brings out some so far unnoticed sass that a lot of people have been complimenting her on. I mean, we need more sassy females right? This adds a certain sexiness to the song which I’m sure isn’t going to hurt its sales and airplay at all.
Smooth Vibe and Punchy Beat.
Musically, we have a bassy guitar riff, simple yet effective, and it’s underlying the verses really enhances it, and let’s it fester as an earworm. The pre-choruses strip down to begin anticipation for the release of the chorus, which delivers, with a punchy drum beat, incorporating a variety of bluesy ornaments and flairs. From here, we run into the more interesting second verse, which in true modern country style builds on the drum part, with more decoration and a fuller mix. We also get some counterpart going on with the spoken vocals of the boys showing their appreciation in between Hillary’s vocals and beats of the second pre-chorus. The song appears to be trying to combine a smoother vibe and a more punchy one, if you listen to the way in which the instruments are used; I would say they pull it off. One thing I think country fans will have an issues with, however, is the vocal effects used on Hillary at the end of each chorus. I’m not technically- minded enough to explain what they used, but it does bother me a little and pushes the song more towards the pop domain.
Lyrically the song reminisces of a love where they would always go out Downtown, and party, and hang out, and now their life together is boring and the song’s narrator is itching to get out again, be shown off, and generally have a good time. The line “you might be tired, but I’m not” pretty much sums up the song, and as previously mentioned Hillary’s sass really works here. Maybe this is for the woman in her early thirties who has done all the partying of her ‘youth’ but is still young and feels sexy and wants to flaunt that. I think this subject matter will appeal to a lot of mothers whose children are now old enough to be in school, and they have free time and energy again, for those who have been married a few years and have settled into a routine and want to break it.
I like the lyrics, I think they’re a little less generic than a lot of Lady Antebellum songs for me (just my opinion), although sometimes it does feel pretty wordy, as if there’s no room for a breath. Perhaps, they’re trying to speed up the tempo of what is actually quite a slow-moving song if you listen to the beat, but who knows? However, it fits Lady A well and hopefully will lead to others like it from their new album coming out this year.