While Lady Antebellum may be best known for their tight harmonies and alternating male and female leads, their new single “Bartender” relies heavily on their resident lady to carry the track. Much like their 2013 hit “Downtown,” the new single allows Hillary Scott to take the lead and show off her sassy side. The tune is an ode to a heartbroken woman who rallies her friends for a night on the town to forget the dude who done her wrong.
It’s a much darker track than their most recent release, “Compass,” but relies on the same tight instrumentation and harmonies on the chorus that has become their signature. Musically, the track sounds rather similar to the recent Jerrod Niemann hit, “Drink to That All Night,” replete with pulsing guitars, twangy banjo, a lone mandolin and a quick-tempo bridge. The difference lies in the delivery, with Scott proving herself adept at delivering a sassy heartbreak tune with the best of them. While the boys back her up on the chorus, this is Scott’s song and she’s truly the star here.
“What I’m really needing now is a double shot of Crown,” Scott sings, determined to forget someone. “Chase that disco ball around, ‘Til I don’t remember, Go until they cut me off, Wanna get a little lost in the noise, in the lights…” She can worry about that dumb boy tomorrow, for tonight it’s all about fun and forgetting. “Hey bartender pour ‘em hot tonight, ‘Til the party and music and the truth collide, Bring it ‘til his memory fades away.”
The track was written by Scott and band mates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, along with famed songwriter Rodney Clawson. Clawson’s credits include other odes to the bottle, including Blake Shelton’s “Drink On It” and Luke Bryan’s “Drunk On You.”
“It was an effort to mix it up with who we write with,” Kelley said to The Tennessean. “It took us out of our comfort zone a little bit. Again, Rodney, I’ve seen all the hits. And maybe his style hasn’t always been something that Lady Antebellum has done … Then we were talking to him and it was like, ‘Hey man, come on the road and let’s see what we come up with.’ It’s always surprising when you get one style mixed with a completely different style to see what you can come up with.”
Lady A will be performing “Bartender” on the season finale of American Idol on Wednesday 5/21 on FOX. They will also hit the stage on Good Morning America on Friday 5/23.
Lady Antebellum “Bartender” is available on iTunes now and you can listen here:
What do you think of Lady A’s “Bartender”?