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Lady Antebellum

Heart Break – 2017 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum may cause you to throw out many of your country music principles. They don't sing and play traditional country music, for starters. They're not cool like more rocking Americana artists. In fact, they're huge mainstream country stars. So, why are some of us still suckers for their sound? And why does the new "Heart Break" sound so good on the ears? Well, it's simple, but complicated.

Hillary Scott is simply a wonderfully sincere singer. She knows how to turn on the old heart break full blast during the more than slightly cliched "Big Love in a Small Town." (Singing about your small town is one of those easy target country song subjects). It shouldn't do work, but somehow it does for Lady A. "This City" brings out the happy vibes the same way "Silver Bells" makes you love Christmas time in the city. It's a memorable, feel-good song. Both "Somebody Else's Heart" and the album's title track turn to tried and true love song elements, without the act sounding like they're pandering to our expectations. Maybe they're just sneaky.

With "Heart Break," Lady Antebellum isn't doing anything especially new or innovative. But, as with the pounding drums and speedy banjo during "Teenage Heart," this trio creates melodic hooks that stick like arrows straight into the heart. Heart Break never sounded so good.