Album Review: Lady Antebellum’s ‘Heart Break’
Lady Antebellum took a much needed creative break in 2016 to refocus on their individual passions. While both Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott released projects of their own, Dave Haywood worked as producer for up-and-coming country acts like Post Monroe. In late 2016, the trio reconvened in Florida and California to collaborate with several songwriters and began working on what would become Heart Break. Their mini-hiatus had the three friends feeling rejuvenated and this newfound energy can be heard throughout each of the 13 tracks on the new project.
Heart Break is the band’s sixth studio album, due out June 9, and showcases Lady Antebellum’s powerful harmonies and vocal blend. Well known for their often poignant ballads, Lady A stretch outside their comfort zone with high energy songs that at times recall ’70s pop tracks. Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum prove to be lasting presence within the genre and Heart Break demonstrates exactly this.
The band kick off the project with the title track, which has a woman telling herself it’s time to give her heart a break instead of jumping into a new relationship. “Sometimes the word alone sounds like a sad song / But why’s it gotta be ’cause what I really need is a reset and a deep breath,” Scott sings. A unique play on the word heartbreak and with a distinct story-line, “Heart Break” is one of the more memorable songs featured on the album.
While lead single “You Look Good” features a horn section and pushes the band in a new direction musically, so does the powerful ballad “Hurt.” Once again, Scott is on lead and her haunting vocals strike a chord alongside soaring string accompaniment. A tale of a woman who gets lost in her love of a man, she urges him not to hurt her.
“If you catch my eye across a crowded room I’ll fall into the atmosphere surrounding you / If you pull me close just to disappear the chances are I’d wait for you a thousand years,” she sings. Later, she warns: “if you’re reckless with your love just to take it back you can hurt somebody like that.”
The band co-wrote 11 of the album’s 13 tracks and as a result, the songs are extremely personal, drawing from each member’s life. “Army,” written about Haywood and Kelley’s wives, details how their respective spouses are the ones that hold them together. Using the metaphor of an army, Lady Antebellum sing of how their wives are strong and bulletproof.
Additional highlights include the catchy, banjo-driven “Think About You” that has a girl trying her best to move on from a relationship where she is convincing herself that, “I don’t think about you and me, what we used to be, every memory, anymore.” Meanwhile, “Teenage Heart” has the singers reminiscing about young love. With foot-stomping rhythms and a sing-along chorus, “Teenage Heart” will likely become a memorable part of the band’s live show.
While Lady Antebellum have been known for writing songs that could be featured on a wedding playlist, one album cut may serve as the wedding song for 2017. The beautiful ballad “Home” discusses how another’s love is a shelter and feels like home. “In a world gone crazy I know it’s hard to believe it, but I know we’re gonna make it ’cause you’re the song that’s in my soul,” Lady A sing.
Heart Break was produced by busbee and is Lady Antebellum’s follow-up to 2014’s 747. A versatile release that showcases the trio’s ability to effortlessly tackle fun songs as well as the poignant ballads, Heart Break proves that sometimes a creative break for a band can yield to new terrain. For Lady Antebellum, this short hiatus has given them renewed energy and welcomed new music that continues to prove the trio’s staying power.