ALBUM REVIEW: Little Big Town “Pain Killer”

Little Big Town took their newest album Pain Killer to new heights at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on October 21, as their official Record Release Party celebration.

Quit Breaking Up With Me” opens the show and the album with an electric guitar solo as their voices arrive with attitude in this “break up” song about never really breaking up.

“You say it’s over
With a middle finger
But then you’re calling before I turn off my ringer
And I answer cuz I love to hear you’re sorry for the 400th time”

They quickly jump right into their famous whistle intro off the smash summer hit “Day Drinking“, which the crowd happily sang along to, while dreaming about those long lost summer days, I’m sure.

Tumble and Fall” brought us back down to earth as we were serenaded with signature harmonies and arrangement. They are going to fight till the end in this love song and get through everything together, no matter what obstacles come their way.

We’re gonna ride the storm out on a lifeboat,
Baby this kind of love is all that we know
We’re gonna take a walk out on the trapeze
Even in a wild breeze, we could be the best of them all,
Even if we tumble and fall”

After a few songs in, they took a moment to thank everyone for their on-going support. The last few weeks had been a wild ride for the group. When they had been gearing up for the release of Pain Killer, they received the surprise of a lifetime, as they were invited to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. With mention of the induction, the crowd exploded with well-deserved praise. Little Big Town, overwhelmed by the excitement, continued on to play their entire album from top to bottom.

The title Track “Pain Killer” followed this introduction and its island flare and lively lyrics had the crowd up and moving. Their reggae side took over emphasizing every “Pill Poppin” reference.

Karen Fairchild took front and center as she poured everything she had into my favorite song off the record, “Girl Crush”. The band stood in the shadows singing echoes of harmony, rounding out this performance to perfection. It is a clever and unexpected way to long for an old love.

“I want to drown myself
In a bottle of her perfume
I want her long blond hair
I want her magic touch
Yeah, cuz maybe then
You’d want me just as much
I’ve got a girl crush”

An edgier and darker sound comes out of “Faster Gun” and the men shine with their deep and powerful vocals, while “Good People” is the token feel good song on the album. After one listen you will catch yourself singing back the chorus for the rest of the day.

The soulful sound of “Stay All Night” starts off slow until Jimi Westbrook comes in to wow the crowd. Each member has a moment where his or her vocal power is only intensified live. This happens for Kimberly Schlapman in “Save Your Sin”. The girl, who had always been known for her sweet sound, releases a ferocious side and holds nothing back. This rock infused piece was Schlapman’s moment, and she delivered.

Live Forever” is a true testament to the power of love. The arrangement is elegant and the lyrics flow gracefully.

“They might sing us in a song
Or write our names up in the sky
Even when it’s carved in stone
A love like ours goes on and on”

They return with the energy in “Things You Don’t Think About” as Fairchild once again blows us away with her strength in this piece about a one sided relationship.

“Turn The Lights On” had to be one of the more intense moments of the night. As the verses creep in, it was unsure as to where we were being lead, until the huge sounding chorus strikes. It felt like a great way to bring the album to a close but Little Big Town had one last well-arranged musical piece to share.

After a big thank you and Schlapman’s first taste of Fireball ever, they rounded out this incredible show with “Silver and Gold“, one of the more serious tracks on the record. Just a simple guitar melody, a message of hope, and their voices close the album.

Although the record was complete, the show was far from over. Little Big Town was not going to let us exit the venue without hearing a handful of favorites. “Little White Church“, “Tornado” and “Pontoon” along with others kept the crowd on their feet. They ended their show with the song that started it all “Boondocks“, where the energy in Philip Sweet’s voice took over until the final signature round which went on and on and on, with no objections from the crowd.

Little Big Town finished each song with a smile on their face showing and showed endless gratitude throughout their set. Pain Killer is a well – rounded album infused with rock, reggae, and their own unmistakable trademark sound. It is a reflection of how much they have grown throughout their career, and proof that after finding success time and time again, they will continue to push their own limits as artists.

Kristin Whyte

Kristin Whyte

There was no specific event that made me fall in love with country music, it was simply the style that hit me the hardest. I’ve been involved with music from a young age and it has helped get to where I am today. I graduated Albright College with a degree in Music Business and currently work in New York City with Music Licensing. When I’m not working with music, you can find me listening to it, watching it, or playing it. I consider myself lucky when I look back at the various concerts I’ve attended, from classics such as Brooks & Dunn and George Strait, to the incredible new talents of Eric Church and The Band Perry. It only makes me want more. Music is something I can always count on and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share this love with all of you!

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