Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lady Antebellum, "Just a Kiss"

Songwriters:  Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Dallas Davidson

Their previous single may have been one of their weakest, but the new single from Lady's Antebellum's upcoming third album may be a step in the right direction.  On "Just a Kiss," lead vocalists Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley play the parts of young lovers in a budding relationship, experiencing strong feelings of desire, yet adhering to their better judgment.  They opt to take it slow, settling for "Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight, just a touch in the fire burning so bright."

As a lyrical composition, "Just a Kiss" is neither memorable nor outstanding.  Lyrics about being "Caught up in this moment, caught up in your smile" aren't particularly interesting.  Without the right treatment, a song like "Just a Kiss" would be a total bore, but the song is saved by the grace of Charles and Hillary's beautifully acted out performances.  As Hillary sings the opening verses, her vocal carries just the right air of vulnerability combined with passion.  Charles' deep-throated voice supplies the ideal contrast to Hillary's restrained delivery.

"Just a Kiss" is very much a straightforward pop power ballad, similar in some ways to the Jason Aldean - Kelly Clarkson smash "Don't You Wanna Stay," though without the obligatory steel guitar fills.  It's not country by a long stretch, and it doesn't pretend to be, with a twang-free line-up of piano and strings pulling the weight instead.  Like the aforementioned hit, "Just a Kiss" is largely built around one big chorus that serves as the song's centerpiece.  The chorus boasts a surprisingly infectious melody, which carries a sense of urgency, while echoing the underlying passion of the song's characters, not to mention planting itself firmly in the heads of listeners.  As a lyric, "Just a Kiss" is not groundbreaking, but as a performance, it works.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)