The rootsy arrangements and powerful harmonies of Tornado are nothing new for Little Big Town, who have grown steadily in popularity since their 2002 debut.
Equipped with fuzz guitar, twangy banjo, and hand claps, the album opener "Pavement Ends" will appeal to listeners who enjoyed the off-road sentiments of Rodney Atkins's "Take a Back Road." Indeed, the energetic production and vocal interplay separate the country group from the pack, a statement that stands for album as a whole.
Getting the Party Started
In the ramp-up to the Tornado's release, Little Big Town's addictive boat song "Pontoon" motored its way up the charts, becoming the group's first No. 1 country single. Karen Fairchild provides sultry lead vocals while the rest of the group boom in on the boisterous chorus, celebrating fun on a float. The song was written by Luke Laird and Natalie Hemby, who also wrote Miranda Lambert's gloriously smutty "Fine Tune."The good times continue with "On Fire Tonight," as the quartet sing about painting the town red.
Babe we're gonna sing it all it all night long
Babe we're gonna drink until it's gone
Burn it down and shine a light
We're gonna be on fire tonight
The thorny steel-strings of "Front Porch Thing" keep the fires stoked.
The punchy title track, "Tornado," is a song of romantic retribution that takes the symbolic form of a twister. "I'm a tornado, looking for a soul to take," Karen Fairchild sings over a geometric drum pattern and washes of sizzling guitar. It's full of bad-girl attitude -- maybe a little too much for it's own good. After the title track from Underwood's Blown Away, this makes the second revenge by bad-weather song of 2012.
Tornado slows down with "Sober," a love song in which romance takes the place of booze. "Your Side of the Bed" focuses on a relationship that's ended and the old habits that are hard to kick. "Leavin' In Your Eyes" bears uncanny similarity to Zac Brown Band's "Goodbye in Her Eyes," from the album Uncaged. Luckily, the steady-rolling percussion and in-the-groove vocals make it far superior to its doppelganger.
The album softens up as it approaches its end. The church-auditorium ready "Can't Go Back" and downtempo "Self Made" are silky and stately. The wistful "Night Owl" closes the album with a dreamy lullaby that's near perfect.
Best Songs on Tornado
- "Pavement Ends"
Tracklist for Tornado
- "Pavement Ends"
- "Front Porch Thing"
- "On Your Side of the Bed"
- "Leavin' in Your Eyes"
- "On Fire Tonight"
- "Can't Go Back"
- "Self Made"
- "Night Owl"
Release date: September 11, 2012