Little Big Town - The Breaker
Little Big Town
Little Big Town have a hard time staying with one identity album to album. On the Pharrell produced Wanderlust the band experimented with things that would make the Nashville set cringe and they suffered for it. That may be the reason this new record, their eight, comes so quickly. For many this will be seen as a throwback or a course correction to a more down home sound, and they are pretty much right. What's missing however is that same exuberant track, the ones where they let loose and allow their harmonies to really soar. Instead The Breaker is quite downtempo with more than a few all out ballads. They make an attempt with a song like "Drivin' Around" but it is so laughably bad, and in all honesty the mix is absolutely terrible. It is followed up by "We Went to the Beach" which lyrically is absolutely a joke. It not only is basic in it's instrumentation but the lyrics take you absolutely no where, all you know at the end of the track is that at some point someone went to a Beach. The Taylor Swift written "Better Man" is the clear winner on this record and is just a damn good song. The harmonies are near perfect, the story structure is compelling and the connection to this idea that we wish our former partner was just in a word better really resounds with people. The song works with Little Big Town marvelously, but that may have been the case if someone else sung it, it's just that well done.
Don't let this blip of transcendence fool you however, the rest of the record does not follow suit. The very next rack "Rollin'" is another disappointment of thrown together lyrics. What is the most frustrating about Little Big Town is the wasted potential; They sing so well, they sound amazing together, They get some of the best in the business to write for them and they aren't slouches when it comes to performing yet they still pick so many dumb songs to perform. Even if you aren't a Country fan you could respect someone doing that music the best it can possibly be done and the potential is there with them, yet it's just squandered. You desperately want this band to be Fleetwood Mac yet they end up sounding like something closer to One Direction. "Beat Up Bible" is really the last straw in pandering bullshit and is so clearly a grab for the Evangelical set. The lasting impression this record leaves you with is just how much better it could be. What if every song was at a "Better Man" level? What if instead of going for the lowest common denominator, Little Big Town took some risks? We'll never know but this will probably sell 10,000,000 copies so who in the fuck actually knows.
2.1 out of 10