Lady Antebellum released their latest album, Golden, earlier in 2013. The album has produced two well performing singles, neither of which I particularly loved or was offended by. When I heard they were releasing a new song that wasn't included on the album, I figured they must have found a single they wanted to get out NOW before someone else did. It turns out, "Compass" is what they found, and they were right to jump on it. This is a pretty solid song.
While lyrically, the song isn't a game changer, it isn't bad either. It has decent if not forgettable lyrics that are uplifting and void of any of the tired cliches on the radio. Charles Kelly and Hilary Scott do a great job of running the show with their smooth harmonies and killer voices. While Lady A might be criticized for being bland and predictable at times, no one can argue that they can flat out sing. The production might be a little slick and smooth for some people's taste, but I still think this is sung and performed well.
This song really stands out in the musical aspect. The melody and accompaniment sound like a spin off of Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers. The folksy-rock sound has been gaining immense popularity in the rock world, and I knew it was a matter of time before a mainstream country act would copy their sound and make it successful in this genre. It's a natural fit. It still has the loud, in your face sound that radio programmers want, but relies on heavy fiddle and banjo sounds to create a well rounded folk rock sound. While Lady A might not have the grit to their style to pull this sound off perfectly, they do a pretty good job, and now they have opened the doors to the millions that will copy if this song is successful. I hope it is. While the sound might still be distanced from traditional country, it is certainly way closer to the sound than the frat boys and pop stars on the radio today, and is a healthy evolution of the genre.
Lady Antebellum may have made a big splash in the sound of mainstream country over the next year or so. Or, they may have recorded this as a one-off and things will go on like usual. Either way, I give Lady A credit. They may not have originated this sound, but they are bringing it to mainstream country and I think that's a good thing. They do a good job and if annnnnnything can be taken out of all this, you get to hear some mandolin and banjo and less truck songs. And that's always a good thing. Good job, Lady Antebellum. Keep this up.