Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2010

Need You Now by Lady Antebellum

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A poignant country ballad about needing to remedy one’s late night loneliness.

Song: Need You Now
Artist: Lady Antebellum
Album: Need You Now
Songwriter: D. Haywood, J. Kear, C. Kelley, H. Scott
Producer: Paul Worley

Country-pop homage to night owl love stalking, perfect for rushing back to an ex or barroom pickup material at closing time.

A song of romantic regret reaching back to a spoiled relationship. VERSE Picture perfect memories Scattered all around the floor Reachin’ for the door I can’t fight it anymore And I wonder if I ever cross your mind For me it happens all the time CHORUS It’s a quarter after one I’m all alone and I need you now Said I wouldn’t call But I’ve lost all control and I need you now

A solid, relentless moderate straight 8th feel.

A haunting memorable melody with distinctive tones that have just enough challenge to warrant yet another listening. Most of the intervals descend reflecting the resigned desperation of the lyrics.

The triadic harmony focuses on the minor substitute chords of the major scale helping to paint the sad and nostalgic emotions of the lyrics. The use of the iii chord in the chorus captures the heartache that dominates the song. Even the bridge, which starts to brighten, ends on a sad chord. VERSE I vi I vi PRE-HOOK IV vi IV CHORUS I iii I iii I IV BRIDGE V vi

A simple, yet asymmetrically phrased structure. The pre-chorus especially seems to leave the listener hanging like the singer’s emotions. The odd number of measures keeps the song from being overly predictable. Sig ABC ABC Solo DC Tag Signature Verse pre-hook chorus verse pre-hook chorus solo bridge chorus tag

The striking piano figure with its haunting descending riff perfectly sets up this late night heartbreaker.

The pervasive feeling of romantic disappointment is echoed by excellent guitar work, especially in the teary sounding fills.

Each singer performs with sincere emotion and they make a perfect vocal blend.

Predicted Longevity
The song was country hit in late 2009, a pop crossover hit in early 2010 and will be around for a long time. The naked emotion plea for love and company combined with a strong memorable melody will keep this song around for quite a while. Though it’s not the most innovative recording around, the prosody of all the elements and Lady Antebellum’s focused performance and production are spot on.

Album Cover: Need You Now

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