While still very successful with the music they’ve recorded with Paul Worley prior to “Compass,” Lady Antebellum was looking for a new challenge for the music to follow-up the album Golden, which lead them to Nathan Chapman, best known for his work with Taylor Swift. Chapman’s first work with the trio with “Compass” and like that song, “Bartender” finds the band blending what we’ve come to expect from them with a slightly different sonic and vocal sound. It’s a fresh, new sound for Lady Antebellum that works well.
Featuring a melody that owes at least a little bit to 80s rock, “Bartender” blends that with banjos, mandolins and percussive loops and some funky Hammond B3 notes which serve as the groovy bedrock for Hillary Scott’s fiery lead vocal. Hillary sounds energetic and in the moment on “Bartender” and the harmonies from Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood in the chorus and the bridge is what is most exciting about “Bartender.” The sing-song-y nature of those parts of “Bartender” give the song some bite and make it the kind of song that should’ve always followed up “Need You Now.” Lyrically [Read "Bartender" Lyrics Here], the band tells a story of a woman who is looking forward to a Girl’s night out to get over her relationship instead of being like the protagonist of “Need You Now,” the couple who gets together when they’ve exhausted all other options.
“Bartender” starts a new and exciting chapter in Lady Antebellum’s career and gives us something to really look forward to with their follow-up to last year’s Golden. “Compass” hinted at that and “Bartender” is doubling down, bring us back some of that fresh trio that exploded on the scene with their debut album in 2008 and Need You Now in 2010.
The single will be available for purchase on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 through iTunes.