Lady Antebellum severed ties with their longtime producer Paul Worley for 2014's 747, choosing instead to work with Nathan Chapman. His best-known work was for the Band Perry and, especially, Taylor Swift's Fearless and Speak Now, a good indication that the trio was looking to capitalize on the soft pop crossover of "Compass," the extra tune that helped 2013's Golden turn into another big smash. Certainly, 747 plays like a pristine pop album, reliant on clean corners and slick surfaces, and peppered with references to such modern sensations as Macklemore and 2014's it-boy Matthew McConaughey. Lady Antebellum always have been a pop band so this concentrated gloss doesn't feel inappropriate. If anything, it feels like acceptance, as if the trio is embracing all of its crossover inclinations while cutting away the corniness that led to such previous missteps as "Generation Away." Perhaps some of this focus is due to the presence of Chapman, who helped Swift craft her blockbusters, and he performs a similar task here, sculpting a clean, friendly sound that showcases the trio at its best. Nevertheless, all of the credit can't be placed at his feet as the band possesses a fair amount of the songwriting copyrights here and, when combined with contributions by such Nashville mainstays as Shane McAnally and Gordie Sampson, it adds up to one of the trio's strongest albums.
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