Lady Antebellum Downtown New Single Review

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. Appealing Lyrics! 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 Continue reading

Easton Corbin All Over The Road Single Review

Single Review: Easton Corbin All Over The Road, Has It Got The Staying Power? I have to say apart from “Lovin’ You Is Fun” I had never really listened to Easton Corbin. So when I first heard this song, I was bowled over by how purely 90s it sounded (I’d like to clarify that I mean that positively!) Although I don’t listen to any particular artists from the 90s, sometimes I put on 90s country internet radio just to relax with, and if I had heard this song play on it, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser. Easton’s voice has that tonal quality to it, and the production that surrounds it, to make it a real tribute to that sound from 20 years ago. Tribute to 90’s Country, but Modern Too. However, despite the musical era it’s rooted in, there are elements of modernity. For example, the guitar solo reminds me of the songs of some of the biggest stars in Nashville right now. When the final chorus kicks in, the instrumentation is suddenly stripped back to the acoustic guitar playing a melody-based pattern, something which has often been used and is very effective. As expected, the drums then kick in, and the steel guitar and other instruments join it to complete the song as it began. Relaxing Quality But Is That Enough? As a song it’s fairly simple, it’s foot-tapping, head-bobbing, and is perfect for the car radio, or perhaps a bar. However, the beat is slower than other songs of its type, and doesn’t encourage liveliness. Rather, it’s a cheerful, fun song that asks you to chill with a beer for a bit. The melody is simple and easy to sing along to, there’s not a huge range of notes, and it perfectly functions as something to have on while you’re relaxing. Lyrically it repeats a lot of the ideas recycled again and again in country music, about driving with his girl, getting a little frisky, high on life, and not being able to wait until he can get her home. May Not Have Staying Power. This is well and good and I like the song, but it’s not a song I can get very excited about. It doesn’t hit me in any sort of which way, and unfortunately, it feels a little average. Songs to ‘have on in the background’ aren’t necessarily the ones to stick around. ‘Lovin’ You Is Fun’ Easton’s previous release, did so well because it had that catchy hook. Whilst this song has kind of catchy elements, it blends into the wallpaper of country music far more, and I fear it will get lost among the rest. I think it will do fairly well in the charts because Easton’s star is growing, particularly after his previous single being the 8th top selling country song in all of 2012 (according to Billboard’s end of year charts), but it won’t be one that people remember particularly, not as far as I can see. Looking Continue reading

Brad Paisley Southern Comfort Zone Video: Review

Brad Paisley’s Southern Comfort Zone Video Is An Unlikely Masterpiece: Review I am a big fan of Brad Paisley so I was excited for the music video for “Southern Comfort Zone“, a brilliant song about Southern pride still encouraging people to see the world, and then be glad to come home! The video appears to have been recorded while Brad conducted the recent leg of his European tour, and The Band Perry even have a couple of cameos since they opened for him during the tour. In addition, he visited the Masai tribe that he donated cows to a couple of months back, and filmed the remainder of the video there. It’s a lot different than Brad’s previous music videos, and certainly very different from your average country music video. The idea behind involved Brad running through various cities, and seems designed to show an almost-seamless fit between places and his journey. Eight countries in eight days, apparently. Amateur Quality = Relatable. The beginning of the video consists of Brad playing the beginning of the song, just him and an acoustic guitar, by a truck, seemingly in the African safari. It is a delightful clash of cultures, but done more subtly than expected, and the writing across the screen to declare the title of the song and artist is in childish font. This pretty much sets up the whole ethos of the video, in that it is oddly, and yet fantastically, amateurish. Sometimes the camera doesn’t focus properly and you experience it focusing in and out. A lot of the time Brad is simply running down random streets in various cities and passers-by stare at him over their shoulder. The beginning and the end of the video where Brad is playing guitar is the live sound, and it doesn’t sound exactly like the polished studio recording. Some of the camera angles aren’t up to much and you get the feeling a lot of it’s been filmed on a handheld. Sometimes the camera holds its shot on completely unknown people and things. Whilst Brad is running someone occasionally throws him a new jacket which he catches and throws on like it’s nothing. He walks into a pub in Ireland and the crowd gathered sing the chorus of the song loudly and unabashedly. He plays guitar next to a real life giraffe and jerks it away slightly when the giraffe goes to try and eat it. Throughout Brad appears unassuming and without star status, he is simply ordinary. Everything is done with the utmost casual vibe, we get no theatrical expressions and sometimes the colors are fairly dull. And that makes me completely love this video. No Glam = Down To Earth While, I like the glitz and the glam and the creative videos that clearly have been worked hard on, there’s something about this that is fun, and perhaps even more interesting than other videos that have had hours of work and a lot of money put into them. This feels Continue reading

Review: Carrie Underwood “Two Black Cadillacs”

Carrie Underwood “Two Black Cadillacs” All Sass And No Innovation? – Review Following the huge success of her album’s title track, “Blown Away“, Carrie Underwood has released “Two Black Cadillacs” a dark narrative creeping up on the footsteps of its predecessor. Whereas ‘Blown Away’ told the story of a young girl leaving her abusive, alcoholic father to die in a tornado, it’s successor revels in the death of a man, whose cheated on and lied to wife and mistress have plotted to murder him for his misdemeanors. The Sound of the Song. Just as the two songs previously released from this album, this new single is more pop coumtry and makes no pretenses about it, and equally to “Blown Away“, the sound is big, dark and dramatic. Much use is made of the electric guitars, heavy driving drums, the wailing string section, the creeping piano riff in a minor key, that combined with the choir (singing bye bye, bye bye) really builds this song up. It doesn’t stop there, however, and there’s a lot going on musically in this track, with an extended instrumental at the end that makes full use of the musical ideas available, leading to a fade out. Carrie’s vocals are strong, convincing and really put the song across well and so far it all looks promising. The Lyrics. The lyrics are good and I’m glad to know Carrie had a hand in writing them (I just have a personal preference for artist writing their own material). The narrative describes the man in question’s wife calling a number on his phone and discovering he had a mistress, who equally didn’t know he had a wife, in order to make us feel sympathy for both parties. They decide to kill him to get revenge, and the song revolves around the scene of the funeral, where each woman’s black Cadillac pulls up, and they meet for the first time, my favorite line being the pinnacle of the story “it was the first and last time they saw each other face to face, they shared a crimson smile and just walked away, and left the secret at the grave”. There are some problems though… Firstly, although I like the lyrics, I feel like there could be a lot more powerful imagery involved and although they tell the story well, there’s plenty of room for embellishment that just wasn’t realized. The song does build up, but the instrumental lacks some energy in my opinion, and although there’s a lot going on musically, it all contributes to just a thick guitar-based sound. You have to listen carefully to realize that they’ve put a lot of effort into building up the song. However, my biggest problem is that is just sounds like another “Blown Away“. It’s nice to see more lyrical substance from Carrie and some more dark and twisted themes but musically it just doesn’t do a lot compared to what has come before. I’m disappointed that she chose to release them Continue reading