American country-pop trio Lady Antebellum released its eighth studio album through Big Machine Records. “Ocean” is an undeniable classic being received as a welcome return to the band’s roots.
The band originally considered naming the album “Pictures,” but it didn’t seem right.
“We just started wrestling with if that was an accurate title to represent the rest of the record, or did it feel a little light,” Hillary Scott said in an interview with The Tennessean.
“We started thinking of ‘Ocean’ and the waves, the ebb and flow of our career and our life and our music, our friendships, our personal relationships,” Scott said. “All of the emotions that are stirred up in you, depending on your circumstances at the time, of what an ocean makes you feel.”
The album came after a somewhat difficult time in Lady Antebellum’s career as a band. After leaving their long-time label, Capitol Nashville, the band signed with Big Machine Records in 2018. The group had been experiencing a significant decline in sales from 2013 through 2017 with their 2017 album, “Heartbreak,” being the group’s lowest-selling album to date.
“What If I Never Get Over You” was released May 17 as the lead single off “Ocean.” The song was undeniably well-received and reached No. 14 on the Hot Country Songs chart. The success brought renewed hope for fans that Lady Antebellum was making a comeback.
“What If I Never Get Over You” was followed by “Pictures,” “Boots” and “What I’m Leaving For,” which were released as promotional singles prior to the album release.
The lead single, “What If I Never Get Over You,” is classic Lady Antebellum. The single serves to highlight the band’s strengths and caters to fans by offering a nostalgic callback to the band’s roots.
“Pictures” is a deep, soul-searching song. Almost wistful in tone, it dives deep in regard to both the lyrics and instrumentals. “Crazy Love” is also a return to the band’s beginnings, sounding like it could have come straight off of one of the band’s earlier albums.
“Ocean” is an authentic album. It feels real and raw. It features a healthy mix of deep and emotional songs combined with more lighthearted tracks such as “You Can Do You.” The album should be appreciated for its variety.
The album serves as a testament to the growth the band has experienced in recent years but also goes back to the core of Lady Antebellum. “Ocean” is both deeply personal and intimate, but at the same time, it provided something that every Lady Antebellum fan can appreciate and relate to. “Ocean” offers understanding regarding feeling lost in a metaphorical ocean.
With some calling it the most enjoyable record the band has released, “Ocean” should be counted as a success for Lady Antebellum.