The short version: “What If I Never Get Over You” is OK, but calling it a return to form or one of the band’s best singles is more than a stretch.
- Writers: Sam Ellis, Jon Green, Ryan Hurd, Laura Veltz
- Rating: 5/10
The long version: My how the mighty have fallen.
You couldn’t escape “Need You Now” in 2010, and thankfully, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Lady Antebellum were never going to win over hardcore country music fans, but their early brand of accessible, yet edgier contemporary country-pop was appealing thanks to the stellar harmonies between Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott. The best testaments of that are their aforementioned smash hit and “Love Don’t Live Here.”
But by 2013, the trio (which closes out with Dave Haywood) was already in survival mode, skating between huge No. 1 hits and songs that could barely reach the top 20. By around 2017, the latter metric was more common for the band.
Now, this all mostly boils down to poor single choices, as their production increasingly got more sterile and unexciting, ironically losing its pop appeal as a whole. The songwriting was getting increasingly more generic, though, that’s just a common trend in mainstream country music anyway.
If anything, it was a blessing when Kelley and Scott made their own solo projects, as they were easily more exciting than anything the trio had put out in a long time.
But it always had to be a matter of time before the trio started to realize their problems, and while it took way too long to diagnose said problems, signs were promising when their new single, “What If I Never Get Over You,” was touted as a return to form for the band.
While the production is admittedly more exciting and organic than anything else of theirs in recent memory, “What If I Never Get Over You” still elicits fairly little passion at the end of the day. It’s a song that’s sure to win over longtime fans and possibly the genre as a whole, but I’m personally failing to see the appeal.
Again, though, the production admittedly has its perks. I appreciate the more organic textures with the brighter electric guitars, real drums and surprisingly prominent bass (at least on the verses). But this is still Lady Antebellum, so naturally the mix is still going to sound just a little too clean and polished to stick out beyond that. Plus, the song’s brighter tones really start to feel overdone when we dive into the subject matter, but we’ll get to that.
Kelley and Scott are usually what save most of the band’s tracks, and that’s mostly no different here. On a technical level, both probably elicit more passion and power than I’ve heard in a long time from them. Yet the song never really feels like it needs both of them singing lead, which, again, ties into a problem with the lyrical content.
So on that note, this puts “overdone” in a whole new category. In a nutshell, this song examines the aftermath of a relationship and how it affects the narrator. But said narrator is so adamant they won’t ever get over their ex-lover.
Now, this could have possibly been more interesting if the song examined the situation from both perspectives (Kelley’s and Scott’s I mean), but instead, the details aren’t really there to suggest it’s more than about just one person, meaning this didn’t really need to be a duet. More than that, however, while both vocalists earn points for power, all that does is make everything seem overblown. When the details are broadly sketched, it’s hard to feel bad for a narrator that ultimately comes across as whiny. Narrator, whoever you are – you’ll be fine!
Ultimately, the only element separating this from past Lady Antebellum singles is that it won’t put you to sleep right away. Otherwise, “What If I Never Get Over You” wastes decent production and excellent vocal performances on a bland song that elicits no response whatsoever.
Closing remarks: “What If I Never Get Over You” isn’t bad, but there’s hardly any reason to care about it either way.