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Lady Antebellum, ‘Downtown’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]

Downtown
Capitol Nashville

Lady Antebellum have never been funkier than on their new single ‘Downtown’ — the first from the trio’s upcoming fourth studio album. A guitar lick postmarked 1962 steers the song and pushes the band in an exciting new direction.

The timing couldn’t be better. After three albums, fans and haters know what to expect from Lady Antebellum — or at least they think they do. Maybe she’s just glowing that pregnant woman’s glow, but Hillary Scott never sounded like she’s had more fun in the studio than on this song.

And I don’t know why you don’t take me downtown / Like you got anywhere better to be / Talk it up and give me the go-round-round / Like a good time tease,” she sings to begin the chorus. Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood back her up instead of melding into one voice as they’ve done so often before. The new mix sounds right, less theatrical.

“I’m only counting on your cancellation / When I should be counting on you at my door / Did you forget about, how we ran around / I don’t know why you don’t take me downtown anymore,” Scott finishes as organs and steel weave around Haywood’s funky guitar.

Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby penned the ‘Downtown’ lyrics. The three are among the most exciting songwriters in Nashville, but they hadn’t worked with Lady A much until now. After a first verse that doesn’t make much sense (the first half doesn’t at least, but they pull it off with style), Scott is pushed to be sassy — something she hasn’t been on a radio single yet.

I gotta dress that’ll show a little uh, uh / But you ain’t gonna uh, uh / If you don’t come pick me up…show me off / You might be tired…but I’m not,” she sings.

Listen closely for the funky bass line that works around the electric and steel solos at the bridge. Someone is laying it down fat … or is it phat? One thing is for sure, ‘Downtown’ is a whole lot of phun fun.

4.5 Stars

 

Listen to Lady Antebellum, ‘Downtown’

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