"Happy Endings" is the second studio album by American country music ensemble Old Dominion. It was released on August 25, 2017, via RCA Nashville.
Old Dominion occupy a distinct position in 2017's Nashville, happily playing to the center when their peers are either gunning for outlaw cred or angling for a stylish R&B-country fusion. With Happy Endings -- the group's second album, following their 2015 debut Meat and Candy by two years -- Old Dominion emphasize their light touch with the melodic mainstream, crafting an album so tuneful and supple it feels designed to slide onto adult-oriented playlists anywhere from the glory days of Urban Cowboy to the present day. Thanks to producer Shane McAnally, the album firmly belongs in the latter camp -- it has a pleasant digital sheen, filled with little percolating details -- but the songcraft of this writing collective is so strong, it's not hard to imagine the individual tunes appearing at other points in Music City history. For instance, if the breezy "Shoe Shopping" had an analog makeover, it could be played on country-pop radio at the dawn of the '80s and "New York at Night" is majestic enough to suggest sky-scraping adult contemporary anthems of the '90s. Old Dominion cleverly thread modern themes -- not to mention the occasional targeted profanity -- into their songs, so their tales of heartache and love feel fresh and also specific. Images of text bubbles, ruined jeans, and a forgotten hotel give the songs a contemporary feel that nicely complements the classicist construction. Since Happy Endings flows so easily, it may be easy to glide along with its slick surfaces, but a close listen reveals not only the sturdiness of the songs but the cleverness of the production -- and, if anybody is still doubting the smarts behind Old Dominion and McAnally, they close the proceedings with a live cut called "Can't Get You." Loud and bold, "Can't Get You" proves Old Dominion can do more than mellow pop, but the rest of Happy Endings is so irresistibly smooth, it's no wonder the group decided to emphasize their soft side here.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine