Old Dominion - “Old Dominion” Album Review

Story posted October 30, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment by William Roche.

Emerging onto the scene in 2015, Old Dominion has had success with their previous two albums “Meat and Candy” and “Happy Endings.” With popular radio hits like “Written in the Sand,” “Hotel Key,” and “Snapback,” the band has continued their popular streak with their newest self-titled album release, “Old Dominion.”

The first single off the album was released on Nov. 5, 2018. “Make it Sweet” set the precedent for how their music is received. With the single receiving over 40 million plays on Spotify, the song is one example of what makes them an excellent country band.

The entire album is a showcase of their range of style. “Make it Sweet” makes a statement as their first song off the album because it is fun and upbeat with a sincere message in the lyrics. Throughout the album, however, the band delves into what they call “their first love song.”

“One Man Band” is a sweet song, with the perfect presence of instrumentals to add to the lyrics. It fits into the same category as another song on the album titled “My Heart is a Bar.” Touching on themes such as love and relationships, their lyrical talent shows. “I'm tired of being a shoulder and never having one around. My heart is a bar and I'm closing, I'm closing it down.” The lyrics are clever without being too cheesy, which adds just enough emotion to give the band a serious side.

With the listener’s attention, the band can write catchy melodies and hooks. “Smooth Sailing” makes the listener want to sit out on the beach with the imagery of summer, relaxing and having a good time. “American Style” fit the band’s style, but it provides the same type of lyrics that everyone has heard before. “Yeah, it's Ferris wheels and firecrackers/Red Corvettes and big green tractors/Happy ever after in American style.” It’s as if they had the “what makes a country song checklist” sitting right in front of them while writing it.

As the album comes to an end, the last song “Some People Do” leaves the audience left in silence after it's done. It is a soft and slow song that provides a piano riff that fits perfectly with the message they are trying to get across. “I know you're hurt, I know it's my fault/ But I've kept "I'm sorry" locked in a vault.” With the last song they proved that they are a country band who puts out more than songs with a “clap track,” although that is what has made some of their previous hits.

If one thing is for certain, Old Dominion is one of the stand out country groups of the new era of country music. With “Old Dominion,” it is clear that they are growing. As with previous country albums from this year. like Zac Brown Bands’ “The Owl,” they seem to steer clear of more pop-like beats and focus more on the instrumentation and lyrics. With strong lyrics and more radio and streaming popularity, they are on their way to more success. 

Reviewers Rating: 7/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “My Heart Is a Bar”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “American Style”



William Roche is a junior majoring in film/video. To contact him, email wtr5043@psu.edu.