Song Review: Lady Antebellum, “You Look Good”

If “You Look Good” is indicative of Lady Antebellum’s future musical direction, then they would have been better off staying on hiatus.

Lady Antebellum shot into the musical stratosphere back in 2009 with this smash hit “Need You Now” (which not only topped the country charts, but also peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100), and they managed to maintain that lofty position for the next five years. In more recent times, however, the group has been eclipsed in popularity by other (inferior) groups such as Little Big Town, and eventually Lady A announced a temporary hiatus while the individual members pursued their own solo projects. “You Look Good” is the group’s unofficial announcement that they’re back to make some noise, which unfortunately is exactly what the song is: Noise and nothing else.

The production for this song can be summed up in one word: drums. Seriously, that’s pretty much all you hear for 80% of the song. The remaining pieces of the song are filled with weak guitars that are overwhelmed by the percussion, as well as jarring stabs from a horn section that just sound sleazy. The whole mess just creates an atmosphere of vacuous swagger, like the attitude’s just there for its own sake, and above all, its sounds awful.

Both Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley are strong vocalists in their own rights, but “You Look Good” forces them both into awkward, choppy deliveries that do not play to their strengths. Lady A is best when they have smooth, deep material like “Need You Now” that lets their singing members showcase their talent, and this song is the polar opposite of that.

In terms of the lyrics, “You Look Good” is nothing but a vapid, shallow booty call, which means it’s about three years too late in terms of country music trends. While the group deserves credit for balancing the song’s objectification (both a man and a woman are called out for looking good), it doesn’t change the fact that the song reads like a Florida-Georgia Line reject:

On a boat, on a beach, in the water, in the sand
In the back of a bar, cold beer in your hand
Breaking hearts, breaking necks when we rolling down the street
Heads turning all day when they see you with me
I’m thinking everybody better stand in line
‘Cause they need to know that your body’s coming with me tonight

Apparently no one checked the calendar before heading to the studio, because what would have blended in with the crowd back in 2015 stands out like a sore thumb today.

Overall, “You Look Good” is a disappointing return for a talented group that’s capable of so much more. While I don’t doubt that Lady Antebellum is capable of retaking their place in the country music hierarchy, they aren’t going to pull it off with songs like this.

“You Look Good?” More like “You Sound Bad.”

Rating: 4/10. You’re not missing anything here.

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