On Jan. 26, 2010, Lady Antebellum released their highly anticipated sophomore album, Need You Now. The band had previously found success right out of the gate with their debut disc, Lady Antebellum, and, especially, its No. 1 single "I Run to You," but Need You Now catapulted the country trio to an entirely new level of stardom.
Need You Now features three No. 1 singles: its title track, "American Honey" and "Our Kind of Love," and the album's fourth single, "Hello World," hit No. 6 on the country charts. The record debuted at No. 1 and is now certified four times platinum, while its title track has gone nine times platinum; it was named Best Country Album at the Grammy Awards, too.
Below, The Boot ranks all of the 11 songs on Need You Now, from its smash singles to the very last album track. Read on to see how Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott's creations stack up.
“Perfect Day” is a cheerful, bouncy song in praise of good, simple pleasures. It details a day that involves sunny skies, good friends, a Jeep ride, a midday swim and a campfire sing-a-long. “Perfect Day” is the soundtrack for a good mood, but it’s also deceptively bittersweet -- tucked into the song is the message that the good times are precious because they don’t last forever.
“Stars Tonight” is a song written to be played in concert. It's lyrically self-referential -- one of its first lines is, “Momma says, ‘Why you wanna play in a silly rock ‘n' roll band?’” -- and it invites the audience to celebrate the joy of live music. It's punctuated with a lot of fun moments, and Lady A use the song to invite the imagined crowd to get in on the fun: “Get on your feet if it feels good, if it feels right,” the pre-chorus insists. “‘Cause we’re all stars tonight / So sing it out!”
"When You Got a Good Thing"
“When You Got a Good Thing” is a piano-driven lite rock song that has the slightest hint of an ‘80s power ballad. One of the slower songs on Need You Now, it’s all about leaning into love. “Hold on tight / Don’t let go,” Kelley and Scott harmonize in the chorus. “Hold onto the love we’re making / ‘Cause, baby, when the ground starts shaking / You gotta know when you’ve got a good thing.”
Kelley takes over lead vocals on “Love This Pain,” a catchy, uptempo song about knowing that someone isn’t good for you -- and deciding that you just don’t care: “It’s like I love this pain a little too much / Love my heart all busted up,” the chorus goes. “Somethin’ about her / We just don’t work / But I can’t walk away.” For a song about pain, “Love This Pain” carries along on an undercurrent of hope.
The song that closes out Need You Now is “Ready to Love Again,” a track that starts quietly, with vocals and simple piano, and slowly swells into something big and moving. It’s a cautious, but hopeful, song about self-respect, and finds the narrator deciding that it’s time to stop guarding her heart. There’s a clear determination behind the lines, “Yeah, I’m ready to feel now / No longer am I afraid of the fall down.” It invites listeners to do what the narrator is promising to do: take one step forward.
"Something 'Bout a Woman"
“Something ‘Bout a Woman” puts Kelley on lead vocals again to praise the things he appreciates about a woman. “There’s something ‘bout a woman with my T-shirt on,” he admits in the opening line. The song, which starts slowly, surprises when the beat kicks in, pushing the verses along on a cheerful country groove.
“Hello World,” the fourth single from Need You Now, is about the intersection of personal dissatisfaction and universal struggles. “Traffic crawls / Cell phone calls / Talk radio screams at me,” Kelley sings slowly in the opening lines. As the song goes on, the narrator slowly crawls out of his midlife crisis as he looks at his “wife, little boy, little girl” and realizes, with relief, that when he sees them, “all the empty disappears.”
Slow and thoughtful, “If I Knew Then” is a song about the pain of regret. The verses tell the story of young love, and by the time the chorus arrives, the narrator admits that he didn’t appreciate what he had when he had the chance. Now, he shares, he realizes, “Love only comes once in a while … If I knew then what I know now / I’d fall in love.”
“American Honey” is a wistful, nostalgic song that wishes for simpler times. Feeling caught up in the “race of this crazy life,” the narrator dreams of childhood days that were “innocent, pure and sweet,” like “American honey.” The second single from Need You Now, it became the group’s third consecutive No. 1 song.
The third single from Need You Now, “Our Kind of Love” opens with a cheerful “Here we go!” From there, it’s driven along by pulsing piano chords, as the two narrators trade lines about what they appreciate about the other. It’s a warm, sunny song about celebrating love throughout the course of a relationship, and it became the group’s fourth consecutive No. 1 single.
“Need You Now” isn’t just the best song on the album of the same name: It’s Lady Antebellum’s best song, period. The biggest song on Need You Now instantly became the group’s most iconic single.
A wistful song about drunk dialing an ex, "Need You Now" turns a story about a bad decision into a genuine weeper, one that culminates in the instantly iconic chorus: “‘Cause it’s a quarter after one / I’m a little drunk / And I need you now.”
The international hit topped the charts for five weeks, took home four Grammys (including Song of the Year and Record of the Year) and has been certified platinum multiple times over. There’s no data yet, however, on all of the bad late-night decisions it’s inspired since its 2009 release.