Lady Antebellum Calls 'Ocean' Their Most Personal And Honest Record Ever
By Blake Taylor
November 19, 2019
Lady Antebellum celebrated the release of their new album, Ocean, with an iHeartCountry Album Release Party presented by State Farm® in New York City on Monday (November 18). The new record is the band's eight full-length studio album following up their 2017 LP Heart Break. Throughout the night, Lady A played a handful of fan-favorite hits off their previous albums along with a few new tracks from Ocean.
"The songs that we gravitated towards are very present with where we are in our lives," singer Hillary Scott says of the album. "The way it felt to make this record felt like the first couple of albums, just that excitement, that freshness, that magic that I think we had from the very beginning."
"The beginning is always the fun part when we're trying to write songs, we're trying to find songs," adds band member, Dave Haywood. "'What If I Never Get Over You' came in from Ryan Hurd, and that all kind of helped start the process of this album."
To kick off the night, Lady A delivered a heartfelt performance of their album's lead single, "What If I Never Get Over You" followed by their 2010 hit, "American Honey."
Ahead of performing their reflective song, "Pictures" the group talked a bit the song's meaning. "We were talking about Instagram and it is true, it's our highlight reel," Haywood says. "I mean you could be having the worst day ever but you post the most perfect photo with the most amazing caption. So we started to talk about that and relationships and life."
Next up, the group decided to throw it back to their energetic fan-favorite, "Bartender" from their 2014 album, 747, before diving into a new song called "Be Patient With My Love." Lady A's Charles Kelley calls this track "the most honest" on the record adding "it was one of the harder songs to write."
"I was definitely going through a bit of a journey, struggling with my spirituality and just a lot of things," Kelley explains. "Dave, Hillary and my wife have had such a huge impact on me really finding those parts of myself. So when I listen back to this song, it was almost like a call for help in a little bit of a way. I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there, you know?"
After the touching performance of the vulnerable "Be Patient With My Love" the group transitioned into one of their sassiest tracks to date, "Downtown" from their 2013 album, Golden. Other songs played throughout the evening from older albums includes "You Look Good" and "Need You Now" along with a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game."
The rest of the set consisted of performances of new songs from the album one being "Crazy Love," a song that Kelley says he wrote for his wife, Cassie. "This kind of goes with the same kind of theme as 'Be Patient With My Love,' where I'm just really recognizing who I am and how blessed I've been."
"Crazy Love" was immediately followed by another new deep cut written by Scott alongside Jordan Reynolds and Amy Wadge called "Let It Be Love." Ahead of the live performance, Scott explained that at the time she wrote the song, she was more emotional than usual as she had just had her twin baby girls eight weeks prior. Her mind was running thinking about big questions about life, herself, society and the world that we live in.
"We are trying to raise these little humans to be loving towards each other and encouraging to one-another an to stand up for themselves and all those things," Scott shares. "You know, with all of the things that we feel- envy and anger and arrogance, lack of humility- I just always want them to choose love and kindness."
Lady Antebellum closed out the night with the album's emotional title track, "Ocean."
"I know everyone says this about their new record, but this one is hands down the most personal record we've ever made," Kelley says before the final track. "And to hear y'all's stories and see the reaction and see the songs that y'all are gravitating towards, it gives me a lot of hope that when we make honest music, that's what connects with you all the most. So thank you for that."
Lady Antebellum's iHeartCountry Album Release Party Setlist:
- "What If I Never Get Over You"
- "American Honey"
- "Be Patient With My Love"
- "Crazy Love"
- "Let It Be Love"
- "You Look Good"
- "Wicked Game" Chris Isaak cover
- "Need You Now"
Photo: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio