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Lady Antebellum

Ocean – 2019 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum may lean a little too closely to pop music for many tastes, but it's hard to argue with the trio's song choices. And its latest collection is filled with many memorable songs.

The single "What If I Never Get Over You," poses a rarely asked pop song question. Humans have come to believe the cliché, 'Time heals all wounds,' as if it were some sort of scientific fact. But what if it's just that, a well-worn cliché, with no actual teeth? Might 'eventual closure' just something we tell ourselves? Elsewhere, "Pictures" is the perfect love song for our social network-obsessed generation. Everyone, including troubled couples, can look as happy as larks in smile-for-the-camera pictures. What's happening when the camera isn't shooting, though, might be an entirely different (and tragic) story. Lady A's all-star pairing with Little Big Town on "The Thing That Wrecks You" includes one especially showstopping line: "You're a deer in the headlights and I'm driving as fast as I can."

Don't assume all of "Ocean" is endless sadness, although few do sad better than Lady Antebellum. "Crazy Love" is a joyous celebration of committed love, while "Alright" is like that deep breath assurance that everything is going to be okay. Even the let's-all-coexist "You Can Do You" works with its lightly funky groove.

The release closes with its quiet title track, which features Hillary Scott, one of our best ballad singers. It's a song one can easily imagine '70s era Fleetwood Mac singing. Just as Lady Antebellum is not always respected by country music purists, Fleetwood Mack was thought by hardcore rockers to be a little too wimpy, back in the day. Both Fleetwood Mac and Lady Antebellum are extremely good at what they do, though, no matter how you choose to categorize them, and "Ocean" is one strongly consistent project.