By Kurt Wolff
Lady Antebellum is on a roll. Only a year after releasing Golden, and right in the midst of a busy summer tour schedule, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are already making plans for their next studio album. And they have now unveiled the first new single from that project. Listen below.
Titled “Bartender,” the single is an uptempo number, but one with a heavy message, about a woman wiping out the pain of a recent breakup with a night on the town dancing and drinking “‘Til I don’t remember.” Subject-wise it touches on a familiar trope in country music (see Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” or Webb Pierce’s “There Stands the Glass”), but Lady A has turned that scenario into an energized single that’s polished and focused on a crowd aiming to party.
“I think it’s always cool when you can capture what feels like a fun track where the lyrics are a little darker,” Kelley told the Nashville Tennessean. “You really listen to the lyrics. It’s definitely a head-bobber, but then you kind of listen and you’re like, ‘Man, this girl is talking about literally drinking the pain away.’ I think those songs are cool when you can have that juxtaposition.”
Written by Haywood, Kelley, Scott and Rodney Clawson, it’s also a song about empowerment and, as Scott describes it, “taking the reins” in the wake of a bad breakup. “Hey bartender pour ‘em hot tonight,” Scott sings, “‘Til the party and music and the truth collide/Bring it ‘til his memory fades away.”
“As a female, I love the fact that it’s not this song about her [saying], ‘My hearts been broken, it’s so sad, he did me wrong.’ It’s not about going and rebounding with some other guy,” said Scott. “She’s just going out with her friends and having a night to forget about what this dude just did to her. I love that as a woman, kind of taking the reins in a situation and getting over it in a fun way.”
The band has also been teasing fans over the last couple days by tweeting out lyrics from the song.
Lady Antebellum (@ladyantebellum) May 11, 2014
“Bartender” is available now for digital download. And according to the bandmates, it represents a new direction for them musically.
“We’ve been crazy busy writing, and when we’re this deep into it, we get so excited about new music that we can’t wait to get it out,” Haywood said in a press release. “We’ve been outdoors playing amphitheaters and are loving the energy that the fans bring to those outdoor shows. So, when we sat down to write with Rodney for the first time, we really wanted some new stuff to keep fans on their feet.”
“‘Downtown’ and ‘Compass’ showed us that our fans were ready for a little more energy from us,” echoed Kelley. “It was time get some fresh new music out there.”
“The difference is, most records, we only had three or four big [butt] kickers and this [upcoming album], we probably have six or seven.”