When I first listened to ‘Golden’, Lady Antebellum’s new album from which ‘Goodbye Town’ is the second single, I was significantly underwhelmed. True, I prefer music with a bit more twang and grit than is typically expected of Lady Antebellum, but I had enjoyed ‘Downtown’ and was hoping for more sass from their fourth record. However, ‘Goodbye Town’ accurately reflects an album which has few stand-out tracks, this one in particular not being one of them. I was surprised that this was to be the single, therefore, and disappointed that they chose to release a bland, predictable soft rock ballad over some of the more interesting songs on ‘Golden’.
It would probably be correct to assume that most of their fans will lap up ‘Goodbye Town’, as it does much of what they have done before: an atmosphere and guitar-led song about angsty love/heartbreak, with fairy standard lyrics that every teenage girl can post in a picture on their Tumblr with some romanticized imagery. In fact, much of the song musically reminds me of a single from their first album, ‘I Run To You’. If Lady A were looking to release a heartbreak ballad, they could have chosen ‘It Ain’t Pretty’, or if they were looking for something fuller production but similar tempo, ‘Get To Me’ is a fairly solid track.
Lyrically the song is rooted in nostalgia and loss; but it doesn’t delve enough into either on a deep enough level to really impress me. It takes a stab at storytelling too, but ‘Long Teenage Goodbye’, taken from ‘Golden’, does that so much better. It seems to me that ‘Goodbye Town’ is trying to be a lot of things and isn’t quite sure where to diversify, resulting in little more than a few key signifiers of plot and some token lines. It’s clear by the structure of the song, Lady A wanted ‘Goodbye Town’ to be a highlight of their live set, with the elongated outro and feeling of space combined with a choir and focus on guitar parts. However, I don’t think you should release a single simply on the basis on that, and I am disappointed by the blandess of this track. It just bores me, and fades into the background on ‘Golden’.
I’m sure it will be successful due to Lady Antebellum’s fan base and the emotional teenage girl market, looking for a pretty melody and some sad lyrics. As for me, I’m honestly just looking forward to their next release, because this is disappointingly forgettable.
You can watch the video for ‘Goodbye Town’ here: