Hardly a heartbreak
LADY Antebellum’s success dipped a little in 2014 when its sixth studio album, 747, managed to churn out only one chart-topping single, Bartender, but didn’t make much of a dent otherwise.
The main problem was the album lacked its usual stable of catchy tunes.
Its members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood took time off the band and focused on their solo projects. Three years later, Lady A is back with renewed vigour.
Heart Break is a return to the trio’s brand of toe-tapping, country-pop numbers. Scott sings about enjoying a night in town without needing a man in the fresh, bouncy title track.
Driven by trombones and trumpets, lead single You Look Good is a fun and exuberant piece, introducing listeners to a side they’ve never heard before.
The band gets decidedly inspirational with mid-tempo tracks
The Stars and Army. The Stars serves an encouragement to those who ever questioned their selfworth while Army is a beautiful tribute to the loved ones who lifts us up in our lives, with Kelley singing emotively: “If I’m a soldier, she’s an army.”
Of course, Lady A wouldn’t be Lady A without its signature poignant break-up songs. Hurt is a ballad about never quite getting over a break-up, reminiscent of its 2010 crossover hit Need You Now. It’s the album’s most outstanding track, boasting a strong melodic hook in the chorus and breathtaking harmonies.
Heart Break marks Lady A’s return to form. – Kenneth Chaw GRAMMY-winning New Zealander Lorde created Royals and the rest of her debut album in her teen years. Now, at 20, she’s back with a sophomore release just as exceptional, and with a growing sound. Melodrama finds Lorde partnering with Jack Antonoff, the fun. guitarist and songwriter-producer who worked on Taylor Swift’s 1989. He helps Lorde expand her sound on the new album, keeping what was best about 2013’s moody Pure Heroine, with a few extra layers.
Tracks like Liability and Writer In The Dark are beautiful tunes, highlighted by the piano, that showcase Lorde’s overall growth – sonically, vocally and lyrically. Sober and Supercut are beat-laden winners; Hard Feelings/Loveless is revealing; and Sober II (Melodrama) is eerie and epic.
This 11-track set is as grand as Lorde’s name. – Mesfin Fekadu/ AP
Sinead Harnett Chapter One Rinse
AFTER hours R&B forms the foundation of the latest mixtape from singer-songwriter Sinead Harnett. The eight-track collection comes in the wake of four relatively understated EPs.
Chances are you would have heard soulful collaborations on more collaborations with the likes of Disclosure and Rudimental. But to date, the London-based songstress’ solo projects have been relatively under the radar.
That lack of mainstream attention is curious, especially when one considers the fact that Harnett makes the kind of smooth and sultry music that ought to go well with a pop crowd desensitised by Drake’s sentimental odes.
If anything, Chapter One isa gorgeous offering that brings together slow-burning numbers with a dash of mild EDM influences. Coupled with some pretty solid song-writing, and you have yourself one of the year’s finest R&B releases.
Stand-out tracks include the super chill Heal You, uber sexy Unconditional and sassy Don’t Waste My Time. Sinead excels at imbuing emotions in her vocal delivery, while having exceptional tonal control. This songstress could do with more attention – and some radio airplay. – Chester Chin
Lady Antebellum Heart Break Universal
Lorde Melodrama Universal