Lady Antebellum – “American Honey”

Blake Boldt | January 18th, 2010

lady-a-american-honey

Songwriters: Cary Barlow, Hillary Lindsey and Shane Stevens.

Country music’s group du jour Lady Antebellum blends post-teenage angst with ’70s soul-rock, riding the youth wave that’s washed over Music Row. While today’s pop radio relies often on empty boasts and ironic poses, the trio has lept onto the Top 40 charts by singing earnest, self-serious numbers that stress the comforts of country living.

Following form, “American Honey”–wrapped in red, white and melancholy blue–is a wistful waltz down memory lane. Hillary Scott, a less-feisty heir of Natalie Maines, takes the lead on this gently-jangling shot of nostalgia. Her voice: a soft hum, sad and pensive and the slightest bit off-pitch against a distracting drumbeat. Her character: a twenty-something woman, strung out by the demands of her day-to-day and longing for a bygone era pre-Y2K.

Those younger years were spent getting a strong grip on her virtues and–apparently–her virginity: “She grew up good, she grew up slow.” Now, she’s no longer that pure, child-like figure.

The plot has holes big enough to drive a John Deere through. “Honey” is a lazy depiction of a chaste young lass chasing after a fuzzy memory. She pines for the past without showing what made those days so special (cf. “Coal Miner’s Daughter”). The song leans on cliché catchphrases–the title line is the main offender–and the listener’s left to suss out the details.

What’s worse is the rinse-and-repeat portrayal of the American daughter. In these crazy days of country music, the mainstream has mostly reverted to trusted stereotypes. With too-few exceptions, country radio spins hits from two clear camps, good girls and wannabe bad boys. These songs are rarely sharply drawn, but the gender lines are: Little girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Little boys become men who become backwoods barbarians, thumping their chests and thumbing their noses at sissified city types.

Full-grown, fascinating women have fallen off the airwaves; routine, naive tunes like “Honey” are now the norm for the females of mainstream country.

Lady Antebellum’s much-buzzed-about second album will likely squash any doubts of their commercial clout. (Sorry, Rascal Flatts.) By banking on catchy jingles in favor of quality songs, though, the music pales beside their sales magic. This “Honey” is sweet, but it spoils quickly.

Thumbs Down

  1. Sheep
    January 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Pretty good review. I really hope that this is the worst song off their sophomore album, since I expected an awesome album after hearing “Need You Now” (and I thought that it was one of the best songs of 2009).

  2. Nicolas
    January 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I love this song and Need You Now a lot, so my mom and I are real excited to be getting this album when it comes out next week! =)

  3. SMB
    January 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I like this song a lot, however it strikes me as more of a summer song so I’m surprised they are releasing it in January. I think it might have been better to wait until March and make it the 3rd single. Either way, it’s a great song and should be a single no matter what so I can’t say I agree that it deserves a thumbs down.

  4. Rick
    January 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Blake said: “Full-grown, fascinating women have fallen off the airwaves; routine, naive tunes like “Honey” are now the norm for the females of mainstream country.” Well that might be because more mature, full grown intelligent women have quit listening to Top 40 country radio, or more likely been displaced by Tweenybopper Taylor Swift fans. As Roger Daltrey once sang in “Baba O’Reilly” mainstream country music is sadly becoming a teenage wasteland…

  5. Jon G.
    January 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I agree with the review. This song is a major disappointment after Need You Now.

  6. Phil
    January 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Hmmm…well I kind of got a different take on this song on first listen than this review gives.

    I really don’t think this song is about a specific character (or person like this review states). The song is about America and how it grew up good and slow and has since lost its innocence, purity and sweetness (Honey if you will). It’s time to get that American Honey back. But perhaps it’s too late and those days are gone.

    I could go more in depth with my anaysis of the song. But overall, the message I get from the song is that it is about America…not about a girl as this review seems to infer. Unless of course, we just take the presumption that America is a “she”.

    Anyway, I like this song. Because most of today’s music has lost its innocence…this song tries to bring some of that back in this fast paced image and personality over substance and creativity Country we now live in.

  7. Mike Wimmer
    January 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Yeah, the first time I heard this, I couldnt get over just how boring it was to listen to.

    I mean, I Need You Now has been overplayed to hell and it’s actual “countriness” is to be debated, but at least it was an enjoyable slice of pop music heartbreak.

    This is just completely boring to listen to.

  8. K
    January 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    “I really don’t think this song is about a specific character (or person like this review states). The song is about America and how it grew up good and slow and has since lost its innocence, purity and sweetness (Honey if you will). It’s time to get that American Honey back. But perhaps it’s too late and those days are gone.”

    Very well said, Phil. That is actually my interpetation of the song also- I was actually a little surprised when I read this review. But music is also subjective, and both the meanings do work fairly well for this particular song.

    I like the song for the fact that the lyrics and the melody are what makes the larger point. The song itself is simple, sweet, and slow, just as the lyrics themselves convey about the simpler time of life.

    I don’t enjoy the song as much as “Need You Now,” but I enjoy the sweetness and simplicity of it- which is something that is missing in country music these days.

  9. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Its like Roxette, but without the Swedish.

  10. Jon G.
    January 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    While I don’t agree with the alternative perspective suggested by some of the posts, it is reassuring to know that people are seriously thinking about the music they listen to and that they also don’t just take what others say as “the right way” to interpret the song. I myself have had differing ideas about the meanings of a few certain songs reviewed here (the ones that particularly stand out are Toby Keith songs, “She Never Cried In Front of Me” for this specific reason; I just don’t think they give him the proper attention).

    Again, my interpretation was closer to Blake’s than to Phil’s. I may need to give the song another listen. It could just be that I didn’t give this song the attention it deserved because, frankly, I (like Mike) found it boring.

    Good discussion.

  11. K
    January 18, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    If anyone is interested, here’s what Hilary Scott said about the song:

    “I think everyone, man or woman, it doesn’t matter, you get to a place in your life when you really miss the simplicity of growing up. I’m only 23 years old, but as things in our lives get crazier, there’s moments in time where I’m like, gosh, it would be great to just go back to when I was playing hide and go seek with my neighbors or laying on the screened-in porch in my aunt’s house —going back to the smells and the sights and all those things,” shares Hillary Scott. “That’s what I loved about this song…the nostalgic thing. It just has this sweetness to it, and it warms your heart.”

  12. Laura
    January 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I love Lady A and this song!! So to all the haters!! BOOOOO!!!

  13. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    That is some deep analysis there Laura.

  14. Blake Boldt
    January 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    The songwriters could have made the choice to give a more detailed description of “the simplicity of growing up.” Instead they wrote a vague, disappointing greeting card. I’m sure we would all love to get back some vestiges of the past, but what are we willing to trade to have those times back?

    The interpretations are well-thought-out, I will admit. But I’m thinking that the title and theme is a naked attempt at co-opting the term “American” just to sell a few records. The whole concept of the song hardly makes any sense at all, but that’s not important when you’re trying to impress with a fun melody and overused feel-good phrases.

  15. Dan E.
    January 18, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    This is a very good song. Lady Antebellum are sure on a roll.

  16. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    In 1990s, would this song have been played on stations that played Mark Chesnutt and Joe Diffie, or would it have followed N’Sync and Spice Girls on a pop station?

  17. Matt B.
    January 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Steve,

    It’d still be considered a country song. Pop radio back then still was way more pop than this or Lady A’s last single.

  18. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Well in the 90s there was still at least the pretense that the music on country radio should be country. Maybe include a fiddle and steel guitar. To my 40 year old ears, this sounds closer to the Corrs then “Bubba shot the Jukebox” (an underrated song).

  19. Rick
    January 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    This song doesn’t hold a candle to Wynonna’s “Flies On The Butter (You Can’t Go Home Again)”, but since Wynonna’s song is clearly country music I guess its not comparable to Lady GaGabellums pop-rock output…

  20. Matt B.
    January 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Nice Rick,

    Surprised there wasn’t some reference to the President in that ‘name calling’ you like to do with acts you don’t like (Which surprises me because both Carrie U. and Lady A. feature female talent…

    Steve,

    This one might’ve had more ‘fiddle’ or cursory Steel guitar in the mix back then but it’s not far off from quite a few female-led songs back then.

  21. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Matt,
    I respect your opinion, but this screams more Kiss FM material then something to two-step to.

  22. Dan E.
    January 18, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Steve M: It doesn’t matter where this song would have been played in the 90’s because it didn’t exist back then. Even if it had, there would have been different singers behind the song. A lot of these ‘what if’ kind of questions don’t really mean much. All it does is reinforce the fact that country music has evolved within the last decade, which it seems like everyone is already aware of. Some think it’s for the better, some think it’s for the worse. But the 90’s are over and we now have a new decade to think about. Happy 2010!

  23. Steve Harvey
    January 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Boy, this sound sounds… generic.

  24. sam (sam)
    January 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    This may well be more “kiss FM” than Joe Diffie, or something to two-step too. And for some, I can understand that that’s a problem. For me, its not. I started listening to top 40 country radio when Diffie and Chesnutt and company were popular. I liked that kind of music for years, but I’ve outgrown them now. 1990s country has come and gone for me. I don’t particularly care for this song but I do enjoy Lady Antebellum on the country dial. I don’t think Lady Antebellum is necessarily much better or worse than Diffie or Chesnutt, but I like that its a bit different. I imagine that in 15 years I won’t much care for Lady Antebellum, just as I now don’t care for Diffie or Chesnutt. Hopefully something new will come along to replace Lady Antebellum when its time is up, just as something came along to replace Diffie and Chesnutt when they no longer were offering anything fresh or newly interesting to a mainstream audience.

  25. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Evolved implies progress. I think the correct term would be devolve. Look at what passed as pop country in the 90, a group like Blackhawk. Their music would never be able to be played on pop radio. But this song could slide into a rotation among the other teenage acts. How is that country has to lose what made it unique?

  26. Dan E.
    January 18, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Steve M: I find it great to see a country song being so well received that it can generate buzz into other genres. The way I see it, that can only help the country genre out. It might make a few people like you a little upset, but most people would see it in a positive light or just stay neutral on the subject. I mean, the success of “Need You Now” more than likely has sent many people heading towards the country scene, even if it was for just plain curiosity.

  27. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    So lets compromise country to attract people who don’t like country? Lets get rid of the twang, southern accents, steel guitar, the fiddle, the yodel, the stetson, drinking, and cheating so we can replace them with synthesizers,auto-tune software to make people who can’t sing live stars and bland generalities about small town life. Should we get rid of anyone over 40 to attract the kiddies? Lets not forget, make sure our new stars are bland and interchangeable because God forbid, we get another Johnny Paycheck. In fact, I think to safe the record execs and radio programmers are uncomfortable with Jamie Johnson because he is colorful and sings about the hard truth.

  28. Dan E.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Steve M: Contemporary country is one of many forms of country. Nothing is being compromised. You like other forms of country while the majority of country fans enjoy the contemporary style better. It really isn’t that big of a deal.

  29. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    When new acts are impossible to tell aprt on the radio because they sound alike, then yes, country has a problem. When a Jamey Johnson is pushed aside for the continued schlock of pop country, then yes, country has a problem. Counting on young listeners, who interests change with the weather, is hardly a long term success policy. But hey, lets have another upbeat song that can be marketed to pop radio and further dilute the meaning of country. After all, when you can’t tell the country acts from the pop acts, the kids will be happy.

  30. Joe
    January 18, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Wistful. Good melody. Acoustic guitar highlighted well in the mix. It’ll be a really big hit, no doubt.

    Honestly? It doesn’t hurt my ears. If anything, she just says the words “American Honey” a bit too much.

  31. Dan E.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Steve M: It’s really not that hard to tell apart artists on the radio. I’m fairly certain that some of these contemporary country artists will be around for many, many years to come. So, I do believe this form of country is on its way to enjoying long term success. I’m sure this song of Lady Antebellum’s will end up being a great follow up to their last single.

  32. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Just wondering Dan, do you know who Johnny Paycheck is?

  33. Noeller
    January 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Dunno guys, I can be as critical as the rest of you, but I really dig this song. It didn’t strike me initially, the way Need You Now did, but I dig the vibe. I think because I’m sorta in their age bracket, they’re singing about a lot of stuff I relate to. In that regard, I sorta get where the little Taylor OMG!!! girls are coming from, but certainly this is a lot more mature than that.

    It’s not “High Cost Of Living”, to be sure, but I can dig it. Good on ya, Lady A – I’m looking forward to your new disc next week.

  34. Dan E.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Steve M: I had to look that guy up. One of the songs he had was “All-American Man.” The title instantly reminded me of “All-American Girl” by a great contemporary country artist, Carrie Underwood. Johnny Paycheck was born in the 30’s, so he is way before my time. But, no matter how many good songs he might have had, I hope we don’t get anybody else that will follow in his footsteps of alcohol problems and jail time that ultimately ends someone’s career. Not a good thing at all!

  35. Steve M.
    January 18, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    You do realize that great art is usually made by tortured souls? Hank Williams wouldn’t be the greatest country artists of all without the drinking, drugs and women. Van Gogh had inner demons that led to his cutting off his own ear, but made him the brilliant painter that he was. Hemingway, Norman Mailer and F. Scott Fitzgerald all had that self destructive gene that also drove their work. Townes Van Zandt had demons that only drinking could silence. Give me a boozer, womanizer with a sordid past (gee, somewhat like Jamey Johnson) over a boy or girl cout, Troy Donahue type any day. Your response just made me feel so sad for the future of country and this country in general. Just like in NASCAR where we have seen the end of colorful, hard drinking drivers like Dale Earnhardt (that is Senior) with bland, inoffensive ones like Kimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon (the Kenny Chesney of NASCAR), country music prefers bland personalities with no outlaw spirit who place corporate values about artistic ones. Johnny Paycheck was many things, but never boring. This song and this group define the word.

  36. Dan E.
    January 19, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Steve M: Wow, if a lot of country songs back in the day were all about boozers and womanizers with sordid pasts, then I will gladly keep to today’s bunch of class-acts. There are some drinkin’ songs today as well, but I presume that you would consider them tame to the drinkin’ songs of country’s rootin’ tootin’ past. I don’t assume that Lady A, Taylor, Carrie, Rascal Flatts will be heading to jail any time soon, so good for them. They should have an even longer career than good ‘ole Johnnny.

  37. sam (sam)
    January 19, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I hear that great art is made by tortured individuals quite often, but is this actually true? Are “great artists” more likely to be tortured individuals than your average person? Your mediocre artist? I have no idea, but I think its an interesting question.

  38. Phil
    January 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Interesting discussion on the take of today’s mainstream “Contemporary” Country Music.

    I myself cannot wait until this phase of Country Music is behind us and is replaced by talent, creativity, and substance. That time may never come however. At least not in my lifetime. And until the Industry learns tht there are more people out there than those who watch American Idol and listen to today’s so-called Pop Music we will be stuck in this phase. You cannot just go out and create artists to fill a certain role and then find others to copy their success. I think it is pretty obvious what it has done to the music in our society today. Like I have said in previous posts…the music of the time reflects the society at that time. And to me, listening to today’s mainstream music and the artists being promoted is all I need to know about our “American” society today.

  39. Steve M.
    January 19, 2010 at 5:55 am

    It makes me feel extremely sad and old that fans like Dan want today’s country singers to be like the Osmonds (go look it them up Dan). They will be playing “Take this job and shove it’ long after today’s pop-country acts are forgotten about.

  40. Kelly
    January 19, 2010 at 8:19 am

    To Phil’s point above: I dont know that any “modern phase” exists. I recently read Bill Malone’s book “Country Music USA”, and I had a mini-epiphany. Pop and slick sounds have been a part of Country music for a long time now. It doesnt make me like the Urban-esque, slick acts any more, but it has changed the way I look at “Country Music” as a whole genre.

    Certain era’s have seen movements take hold, like the “outlaws” or the mid to late neo-traditionalists of 80’s with Yoakam, Travis and others. They didnt vanquish the poppier acts, they just gained a large share of the audience along side them. The “Nashville Sound” will always be present, and sadly, I cant imagine that Red Headed Stranger (which was as opposite of that sound as a record could be) would sell anywhere near the platinum levels the way it did in the 70’s.

  41. Dan E.
    January 19, 2010 at 8:55 am

    I guess “Take this Job and Shove It” will just have to wait an extremely long time for that to happen. I doubt that will even happen, I mean is it even playing anywhere now? The title alone makes me not want to listen to it. I guess that’s one song in the past that will just have to remain there. I mean, who knows, Carrie Underwood might have had the choice: “So, you can cover ‘I Told You So’ or “Take this Job and Shove It”.” Well, that would have been a tough one.

  42. grumpyoldman
    January 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Is it catchy like “Need You Now”? No. I’m sure they’re just throwing this one out there hoping to pick up some cheap airplay on the coattails of the last single, and saving some better songs for later release.

  43. Steve M.
    January 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Dan, obviously you have never held a job. Otherwise, every working man can relate to “Take this Job and Shove it.”

  44. Dan E.
    January 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Seriously doubt that!

  45. Steve M.
    January 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Have you never worked?

  46. Stephen H.
    January 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Dan, “Take This Job and Shove It” gets played on two stations in this area every Friday at 5:00 p.m. It has not “just remain[ed]” in the past, as the “real” country station does have it in some form of rotation, plus on their retro show.

    Give me real country any day. As for this song, I like Lady Antebellum, but this rivals the worst of what I’ve heard on the radio in the last few years.

  47. Dan E.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Steve M: I do. Do you? For the record, there are plenty of people that love their jobs and a lot of people that don’t would not be silly enough to say ‘shove it’ when it’s their means of support.

    Stephen: Lady Antebellum is real country. What a great song!

  48. Lee S.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

    The Jukebox in the steakhouse had “Take this Job,” and it got played at least once a day by customers, and at the end of every day by at least one co-worker.

    It may not see heavy rotation on the airwaves, but as others have said, you can hear it, and not just on retro-hours.

  49. Steve M.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Well speaking as someone who worked throughout high school, college and two graduate schools, I worked my share of menial jobs, ranging from bagging groceries, unloading trucks and for one day, digging ditches. Somehow I suspect you have never held a blue collar job and have a hostility to the working class.

  50. Stephen H.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Like I said, Dan, I like Lady Antebellum, but this song is terrible, and this is by no means have they been real country in any of their singles. Doesn’t mean I don’t like them, just means that I’ve liked three of their pop singles so far (“Lookin’ for a Good Time”, “I Run to You”, and “Need You Now”) that were mis-released to the country market.

  51. Stephen H.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Typo — didn’t mean to put in “this is” in the first sentence.

  52. Jon
    January 19, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Could y’all try to make this discussion a little dumber, please? I mean, I know it’ll get there even without the request, but if it could get there a little quicker, that would be nice.

  53. Dan E.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Steve M: So saying that saying ‘shove it’ is not a phrase many working people would say somehow makes me hostile to the working class. First off, you don’t know me so don’t pretend that you do. I’m sorry if your life is not headed in the right direction for you (I hope it is) but constantly posting negative things day in and day out really does not present you in a very good light. This outcome of country music is not going to change anytime soon. There are plenty of older country singers with music that I don’t like. I don’t purposefully go out and search for them so that I write negative things about them. I honestly find that as a waste of time. But, to each his own. You seem to do it all the time, so I guess you get some twisted joy out of it. Oh, well.

  54. Jon
    January 19, 2010 at 11:41 am

    @Sam(Sam) Judging by his enthusiasm for Carl Smith, I’m not sure even Steve M. believes that “tortured soul” stuff, except when he’s casting about for an easy way to diss what he doesn’t like.

    @Kelly Hallelujah! And don’t sell yourself short – there’s nothing mini about that epiphany.

  55. Steve M.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I am trying to understand how anyone has ever held a job without having an idiot for a boss, or just having it as a miserable experience. As for myself, i suck off the teat of public with a position at a public university so I do just fine. But I find it odd that you think that the working class doesn’t have the phrase “shove it” in their vocabulary. Not all of us live like the Osmonds. And since you have confessed an amazing lack of knowledge of the history of country music, wouldn’t that be a handicap in offering criticism?

  56. Steve M.
    January 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Jon, given that I was expressing my sadness at the passing of Carl Smith, I am not sure how that translates into enthusiasm. He was one hell of a singer, and given that he is in the Country Hall of Fame, the facts seem to back that up.

  57. Jon
    January 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    @Steve M. And his name doesn’t belong on the same page as the phrase “tortured soul.”.

  58. Phil
    January 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    When I said the current phase of Country Music…I meant the one that is catering to the Taylor Swift/Carrie Underwood audience since they hit the scene.

  59. Steve Harvey
    January 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I hear that great art is made by tortured individuals quite often, but is this actually true? Are “great artists” more likely to be tortured individuals than your average person?
    How often have you read this sentence – ‘After kicking his drug habit, he married his sweetheart and headed forward with a happy, optimistic view of the future. Then he made his classic album, considered the best, most interesting work of his career.’
    I mean, I’m sure that has happened once or twice, but it’s the exception, not the rule. Screwed up people make more interesting art than happy well-adjusted people. Look at the work of Keith Urban Drug Addict v. Keith Urban Husband and Father. I know which one I’d rather listen to. Not that I’m not really happy for him, but when he got happy and content, his music went downhill in a major way.

  60. Jon
    January 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    “Screwed up people make more interesting art than happy well-adjusted people.”

    *facepalm*

  61. Jeff
    January 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Forget quality. Forget the soul of a song. Let’s just make another catchy pop-country crossover throwaway that we can market to Top-40, ACR, and modern country. Bring on the money. Nobody wants to hear about real life, hard work, and the ups and downs. My God, it’s the Monkees gone Nash-ville. Give me Buck Owens, Goerge Strait, Cal Smith, and especially Mr. Jones ( hosannahs from on high ) any day.

  62. Stephen H.
    January 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t necessarily agree with the other Steves here, however I see their points. For every “happy, well-adjusted” star, there’s an act like the Beatles, Elvis, early Cash, Jones, etc. I don’t doubt the existence of many, many “happy, well-adjusted” people out there, but I just think over history, those acts who have become either timelessly popular or timelessly revered have been disproportionately affected by things like drugs, alcohol, and mental illness.

  63. Stephen H.
    January 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    And I mean that I don’t doubt the existence of many “happy, well-adjusted” stars. I really need to proofread before submitting.

  64. stormy
    January 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Kasey Chambers may shed some light on this subject with something she once said: Her songs all seem sad because she only feels like writing when she is sad. When she is happy she wants to be out living, not writing.

  65. K
    January 19, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    @Phil:

    Do you find anything positive about today’s country music? There are many talented artists in the genre at the moment, and there have been many excellent songs over the past decade or so. Even if an excellent song is a “diamond in the rough” nowadays, there’s still some great music out there. Just curious as to why you think the “cryin in my beer” music is the only type of quality country out there.

    If you stereotype the industry, you are also sterotying the fans who enjoy it. If we like modern artists Carrie Underwood, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Lady A and others in that vein, that doesn’t mean we are unintelligent, mindless people.

  66. stormy
    January 19, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    K: I used to listen to a lot of mainstream country radio. I haven’t listened to it since the late 90’s and when I am in the car with someone who does listen to it, I realize I’m not missing anything.

  67. Phil
    January 20, 2010 at 1:02 am

    K: Let’s just say that I really don’t enjoy being manipulated to have to like something…and to me, that is all the Industry is doing today to make people like and buy the music and artists they are promoting. I love music…but it isn’t even about the music anymore today if you ask me. It’s only about meeting profit goals and seeing who can sell the most units. I’m sorry, but quantity does not equate to quality.

    I never said anything about liking “Cryin’ in the beer music”…I don’t even drink anyway. I just like music that makes me think. And today’s music does not do that. In that sense, it is mindless. Of course, I think that most people today don’t want to think anyway. They would rather just have everything served to them on a silver platter and be told what they should and should not like.

    As far as the music goes…well, let’s just say that you may relate to it…but I sure as heck don’t. Possibly because it’s pretty much all aimed at teenage girls and their mothers. And Taylor and Carrie were no accident. The whole thing was planned out by the Industry I’m sure. If it weren’t Carrie and Taylor, it would have been somebody else. They’re just playing the role that Country Music handed to them to bring in this “new” audience to the genre. Too bad that the strategy was so shortsighted. Because it’s quite obvious what it has done to the genre and the artists as being taken seriously. Not only that, it has set female Country artists back 20 years (or more)…not moved them forward. It’s basically just one big fake popularity contest between fanbases.

    K…I could go on and on. But I’m sorry. Today’s Country Music scene is a complete joke. I’m just waiting for the Industry to find somebody to play the role of a “male” Taylor Swift. Perhaps American Idol will find that person this season?

  68. K
    January 20, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I don’t agree, but I was just curious about your opinion. Thanks.

  69. That Guy John
    January 27, 2010 at 9:34 am

    What gets me is the selective memory of those “great 90s”. Do you mean the 90s when those hard-core honky-tonkers like Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Hal Ketchum, Shania Twain were cranking out saloon favorites? The decade when Reba became the queen of watered-down country? Maybe it’s the staggering country-time when all of those Eagles’ covers permeated the landscape. Oh, yeah, that was country to the core. When Nashville has the gall to release a song called Murder on Music Row, when the songwriters of that tripe made their big money that decade on NEW artists that kicked all of those old-timers off the radio? (I bet George and Merle didn’t get the first opportunity at those hits in 1992). And they blamed RADIO for not playing George and Merle???? Child, please…

    This just in…THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN POP MUSIC ON COUNTRY RADIO !!! Go back to Eddy Freakin Arnold and all of that MOR stuff he put out, DO you think those strings on those Patsy and Jim Reeves songs were to “keep it country”?

    Yes, I agree that it’s too pervasive at this moment. And history has shown, that as soon as country keeps trying to sweeten the sound to appease pop tastes, the audience basically “crosses over” to pop radio with the artists. That’s a fact. Then, thank God, country music has its roots fall in their lap [(1960s) Buck Owens and Merle Haggard (1980s) George Strait and Randy Travis and (2000s) Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson rejuvenated] Who’s next on the carousel? We’ll find out. country music is on its downswing again. Sure the industry will hand the millions that Taylor and Lady A (and Keith U to a degree) will sell as Country, but we all know it’s the pop masses that are contributing heavily to that sales figure. Remember when GB, Shania and Dixie Chicks sold through the roof? Through my research, I found that a HUGE % of those sales went to those who “normally don’t listen to country music, and rarely listen to country radio.” This should serve us as a stern warning that when country loses its balance on the pop/country tightrope, country music falters, and has to re-group and get back to its roots, and hopefully the next Buck/Merle/Randy/George/Brad will be ready to get started!

  70. TheBeachHead
    January 30, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Absolutely love this song, but apparently that’s taboo because it’s too contemporary. Get over yourselves. I love me some Jamey Johnson, Loretta and Cash, but also, Lady A, Miranda and Urban. I’m tired of the negative reviews.

  71. David
    February 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Another thumbs down for another great album and song. Do you ever give a good review for anything? I guess if it doesn’t fit in the tiny little box where you think all country music belongs than it’s automatically crap in your eyes. I wish I could tell Google to exclude your site from all search results so I won’t be tempted to read this self righteous crap anymore.

  72. merlefan49
    February 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

    @David

    Have you read some of their other reviews here? There are plenty of thumbs up. imo Great albums and music are in the ears of the listener.

  73. Tyler
    February 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Lady Antebellum are much better songwriters than they are singers.

  74. theresa
    February 27, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    i love your songs they touch my heart and bring me close to the one i love and i know he loves me,thank you.

  75. Emily
    March 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I enjoyed this song very much. It’s true and sweet melody was great, though I must mention a little slow. The first time I heard it, it was OK, but I think it gets better the more often I listen.

    Lady Antebellum has a spirit that can’t be taken or dented. They also posses a amazing talent that isn’t always found in some of the surprisingly called “Country” songs. Their band also isn’t using excessive advertising, as some higher rated songs do. Lady Antebellum will rise, and people will note their unique style (Which is hard to find these days, music that is really one-of-a-kind).

    I find that their songs are maybe more poetry, and not *entirely* country, I think they have maybe a pop base. I do enjoy their music very much; it brings back to me bitter-sweet memories. A meaning that several people, including me might have heard, is Lady Antebellum’s song says “Life is passing by quickly, spend it well,”.

  76. rick
    May 25, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Love this song..reminds me of my little girl. As she grows up and starts to do things on her own, how I will miss the days back in the summer time “with my american honey.” Just how I viewed it, and it will always remind me of her. Just kind of made me think about her and how I should hold on to all the memories and time I have with her.

  77. Erica
    July 16, 2010 at 8:22 am

    #1 SMASH HIT!!! THE 9513 IS WRONG AGAIN!!!! HAHAHAHA!

  78. Sheep
    July 16, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I hate to break the news, Erica, but just because a song hits #1 doesn’t mean that it’s a great song.

  79. Erica
    July 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    YOU’RE WRONG SHEEP! IF IT HITS #1 MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT SONG! OTHERWISE IT WOULDN’T HIT #1!!! THE 9513 LOOKS VERY FOOLISH WITH EGG ON THEIR FACES WHEN THEY GIVE THUMBS DOWN TO A SONG THAT GOES ON TO BE #1!!!

  80. Stormy
    July 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Erica: How do you figure?

  81. Chris N.
    July 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I’m afraid you’re fundamentally misunderstanding the whole concept of music criticism. And please TURN YOUR CAPS LOCK OFF, for pity’s sake.

  82. Jon
    July 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Not that I’m disagreeing with you, Chris, but I’d love to know just what the whole concept of music criticism is.

  83. Chris N.
    July 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    At the very least, I think we’ve long since established that the purpose of music criticism is not to predict whether a song will be popular or not.

  84. Jon
    July 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Well, yeah. Of course, I think we’ve long since established that it’s not to give advice to performers on what they should do, either, but….

  85. Kelly
    July 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Jon, we have established that one of the purposes is for the critic to explain what he/she would’ve preferred to hear from a specific song. That doesnt have to equal “giving advice”.

  86. Jon
    July 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Jon, we have established that one of the purposes is for the critic to explain what he/she would’ve preferred to hear from a specific song.

    Who’s this “we?” And the only way that you can read “he shouldn’t have done this, he should have done that instead” as anything other than giving advice is if you read it as a high-falutin’ way of saying “I like this better than I like that” – and I hope it’s been established that it’s not the job of the critic to just tell us what he or she does or doesn’t like.

  87. Kelly
    July 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Jon – The “we” is the same “we” you were referring to. What else is criticism if it isnt an explanation of what the critic thinks of the work in question?

    You’ve boasted many times on here that you have been/still are a music journalist. On the occasions that you have given a song or album a negative review, how did you go about explaining what it was that you didnt care for and why?

  88. Kelly
    July 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    …I assumed, perhaps mistakenly, that you have written music criticism. If thats not the case, my bad. The quesiton remains: in your mind, how does one express their distaste for a work without you determning that the critic is “giving advice”?

  89. Jon
    July 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I don’t think I’ve boasted at all; I’ve said that I’ve been a professional music journalist, which is simply the truth. And I know what a music journalist does; I’m less clear on what a music critic does – or at least, what it is that a music critic does that’s of any particular value. But regardless, I can tell you that anyone whose main concern as a critic or journalist is explaining why he or she doesn’t like music is or should be going nowhere fast.

  90. Jon
    July 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    And by the way, in case you hadn’t figured out what the problem with giving advice – with saying “he shouldn’t have done this, he should have done that instead” – is that it raises in a very sharp and wholly legitimate way the question, “oh, yeah? Well what hit songs have *you* written/sung/played on?” And if the critic is just saying “I would have liked this better than that,” then the sharp and wholly legitimate question that’s raised is, “who cares? Why is what you like any more important than what anyone else likes?”

  91. Leeann Ward
    July 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Obviously people care considering how many people read and comment on this blog alone. When I don’t care about something, I don’t read it and I especially don’t comment.

  92. Jon
    July 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    OK, Leeann, you care ;-). Do you think the critic’s likes and dislikes are more important than any other random person’s?

  93. Leeann Ward
    July 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Well, I don’t know about a random person, but a friend or acquaintance whose taste I typically agree with. Yes. I certainly don’t take critics too seriously, but I’m admittedly interested in what my favorite critics have to say.

  94. Stormy
    July 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    And by the way, in case you hadn’t figured out what the problem with giving advice – with saying “he shouldn’t have done this, he should have done that instead” – is that it raises in a very sharp and wholly legitimate way the question, “oh, yeah? Well what hit songs have *you* written/sung/played on?”

    To which, of course, the critic can legitamately respond by pointing to other sucessful artists who have done A instead of B.

Tagged In This Article

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Current Discussion

  • Ken Morton, Jr.: The inferiority complex of the CMA never ceases to amaze me.
  • Barry Mazor: Thanks for explaining that to me, Luckyol.
  • luckyoldsun: Barry, I think you're taking it a bit too seriously. CMT has to keep coming up with new lists to make. …
  • Barry Mazor: Thi is a world in which the "top 40 most influential country artists of all time" do not include, for …
  • luckyoldsun: I just noticed that Garth and King George are still to come. So unless I'm missing something else, the remaining seven …
  • Leeann Ward: I hate it when people pronounce the days of the week with a "dy" ending instead of "day." It's like …
  • luckyoldsun: Looking at that bizarre CMT Artists' list with Johnny Cash coming in at #8, it raises the question--Who are the …
  • Leeann Ward: I'd have to agree with LOS here. The song was fair game to be released. It's no surprised that it …
  • luckyoldsun: "'Brotherly Love,' IS a Keith Whitley song. Trying to take advantage of the impact sales, and the tragedy of Keith’s …
  • Leeann Ward: Yes, we know that it's technically a Keith Whitley song, as Juli noted above.

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