After Lady Antebellum's chart-topping success and platinum-selling sophomore set, Need You Now, fans and critics alike were wondering exactly what the trio could do to top themselves. Well, that moment as arrived as their third studio album, Own the Night, dropped September 13, 2011.
Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood have crafted an emotionally charged and wholly artistic album in Night. While some of their risks didn't quite pay off ("Wanted You More," "Love I've Found in You"), most certainly do ("Cold as Stone," "We Owned the Night," "As You Turn Away"), leaving an imprint on the listener's ear drums.
The opening track and current single, "We Owned the Night," sets the tone for a rollercoaster ride. It gives Kelley a chance to show off his leading vocals with Scott delivering a balanced and soothing harmony. The rhythmic string-driven opening allows the listener to be pulled into a cleverly manipulated melody line and sing-along lyrics. If you walk away without a sense of who Lady Antebellum is after this track, a few more listens may be in store. The platinum "Just a Kiss" comes next, and has enough pop sensibility to be well received at Hot AC, AC, and Top 40 radio stations. From the infectious hook ("So baby I'm alright, just a kiss goodnight") and the musical chemistry of Kelley and Scott, "Kiss" is reminiscent of "Need You Now," which catapulted Lady Antebellum into superstardom.
The next track, "Dance Away with My Heart," shifts gears in lyrical content and rewinds time in a "Strawberry Wine" kind of way. "You went off to college at the end of that summer," Kelley and Scott croon. Wishing upon a time when "you will always be 18" is at the core of the song and drives home the concept of owning the night, a theme that is peppered throughout the album.
"Friday Night," penned by Rose Falcon, Eric Paslay, and Rob Crosby, is a catchy romp about comparing love to a Friday night."I wanna be your Friday night," the trio sings. While not mining extraordinarily new territory, the song does get you moving and bopping your head.
Keeping up the tempo on "When You Where Mine," Lady Antebellum explores varying rhythms, going from fast and furious on the verses to a slower, more melodic chorus. The lyrics revisit a lost love as they chant "what if the world was ours for the taking" and "back when you were mine." Don't let the title fool you in believing that you will be dished up with a ballad, ala the Dixie Chicks' "You Were Mine." Unexpectedly, you get splashed in the face with a cool song.