Mikael Wood
September 22, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Own the Night

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Lady Antebellum
music label
81985
genre
Country

We gave it a B

Given their runaway success over the past 18 months, Lady Antebellum summoned some superhuman restraint in titling their third studio disc Own the Night. After all, these coed country hitmakers can lay claim to a lot more than that: Last year’s Need You Now was the second-best-selling album of 2010, while the wistful title track grabbed Grammys for both Song and Record of the Year. They could’ve called this thing Own You and Your Momma, Too, and nobody would’ve blinked — least of all your momma, who drunk-dialed Dad from across the house after swooning to ”Need You Now.”

But chest-beating just isn’t the Lady A way. With their easy pop-country tempos and ingratiating white-soul harmonies, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood are masters of the soft sell, an approach they employ here with characteristically genteel results. (Spoiler alert: ”When You Were Mine” ain’t a Prince cover.) As always, the songs describe raw emotions in musical language that’s anything but — dig the heartbroken harp in ”As You Turn Away,” one of countless tunes about the exquisite torment of unrequited love. The guitars get bigger in ”Friday Night,” an ’80s-rock rave-up that sounds exactly like Eddie Money. And there’s some (very faint) Celtic thunder in the Faith ‘n’ Tim-style ”Cold as Stone.” But on Own the Night, Lady Antebellum aren’t interested in shocking you into submission. For them, seduction is a long game, and they can wait till morning. B

Download These:
The stately single Just a Kiss
End-of-summer strummer Singing Me Home

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