It has been two years since the phenomenon that is Old Dominion put out a new record. After a widely successful headlining tour earlier this year, making a stop at New York City’s Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden on May 25th, 2019, the band’s self-titled album has finally been released in its entirety, and well, it was definitely worth the wait.
The record is full of twelve well-rounded tracks, covering the whole gamut of emotions and of course, showcasing their stellar songwriting. The band promised via Twitter, back when their album date was released that the record would be different, stating, “We pushed ourselves to be more raw and vulnerable with our songwriting on this album. It’s a side of us we haven’t shown as blatantly on our projects,” they lamented, setting the tone for the impressive tracklist.
The lead single, “Make It Sweet,” encourages listeners to make the most of life; despite, the negative. The track reached the top spot on the charts, making it the ACM Vocal Group of the Year’s seventh career number one. Its rhythmic tempo is just as charming as the clever lyrics. Transitioning into “Smooth Sailing,” a song with an air of ease and a beachy vibe, Old Dominion show off their songwriting yet again. They continue to keep things positive, without living in a dreamland, singing about looking to get back on track in this catchy tune.
“Come hell or high water / The sun’s gonna shine / Might not be tomorrow / But I know I’m going to find smooth sailing / Watch me sail away”
Mike Spotz (@illkoncept) for NYCountry Swag
Both fan-favorite ballad “One Man Band” and one of the pre-released tracks, “My Heart is a Bar” are definitely cut from the same cloth. The former expresses one’s desire to be in a relationship. The group uses their perspective as musicians to write a heartfelt and emotional tune. “My Heart is a Bar” is equally as profound, but for a more melancholy reason. Lead singer, Matthew Ramsey compares his broken heart to a bar; lamenting that people use him until they feel better and then, they pick up and leave. Although a heartbreaking sentiment, the song is one of the best on the new project.
“My heart is a bar and I’m closing it down / So find somewhere else to get drunk in this town / I’m tired of being a shoulder and never having one around”
Next up, the upbeat track “Never Be Sorry” aims to remind people who have had their heart broken that falling in love is never something to apologize for. Breakups can be messy, but we can and should learn to cherish the memories and the lessons learned from our previous relationships. In the same vein, they sing about finally getting it, now that the relationship has ended in “Hear You Now”. After all, is said and done, they finally hear their ex loud and clear, as all the things she said finally came true. If nothing else, these two songs teach us tough lessons, inspiring us to grow from the hardships. It’s safe to say Old Dominion’s unique talent shines on these tracks.
For fans who love Old Dominion’s hard-hitting and cheeky stuff, the self-titled release has that too. “Midnight Mess Around” fits the bill. The song, written with the late Andrew Dorff, is straight to the point. Even though it’s a new vibe for the band, the song’s lyrics will resonate with fans, who love their hits “Hotel Key” and “Snapback,” except this song is sexy and racy in all the best ways. If you’re looking for another song that’s full of clever innuendos and flirty lyrics, look no further than track number seven, “Do It With Me.”
“I’ll Roll” and “American Style” both have that traditional mixed with modern country vibes. Laced with confidence throughout, the former is a laid-back song about just living life and letting it ride. The band doesn’t put much pressure on making decisions in this unique bop. Meanwhile, the latter, “American Style” is sure to be a staple at live shows. It starts with a fun drum instrumental and we can picture fans singing the lyrics back to the guys on stage.
“Rock and roll / and peace and love / and breaking in your baseball glove / Ain’t ever going to go out of American style”
Nearing the end of the record, “Paint the Grass Green” is one of our favorites, standing out for its romantic notions and killer displays of affirmations. Ramsey’s delivery as he pours heart out into the lyrics, highlight a man willing to give his love everything and anything to keep her happy.
Just like “Paint the Grass Green,” the final song off the new record is one of the most lyrically-driven songs of the year. “Some People Do” is arguably the most vulnerable cut by Old Dominion yet, showcasing a whole new level of artistry for the songwriters and artists. The song questions humanity’s ability to change and learn from their mistakes. Although ultimately a break-up song, the track poses philosophical questions that will keep you thinking and playing the song again and again.
“Some people quit drinking too much / And some people quit lying / Some people decide to grow up / But it’s never good timing / Most wouldn’t forget / What I put you through / But I’m here tonight / Hoping some people do”
Prior to album release day, the group shared via social media, “Part of our job as songwriters is, to tell the truth, even if it’s hard to go there.” They did not disappoint, and this sentiment is the common thread that links all the songs together in this cohesive, heartwarming, and creative record.
NYCountry Swag Must Listens: “Paint The Grass Green”, “Hear You Now”, “My Heart Is a Bar”
To keep up with Old Dominion, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Old Dominion is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our “New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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