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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Sugarland album offers  Incredible style change

Jennifer Nettles: Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland

Sugarland album offers Incredible style change

By experimenting with fresh ideas and a more straightforward rock sound, Sugarland propels their music to an all-time artistic high on The Incredible Machine. The release of the group's fourth album comes on the heels of their massive 63-show tour that kicked off back in April, and serves as icing on the cake for the work they've put into this new chapter of their career.


Made up of powerhouses Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles, Sugarland is a well-oiled machine that shells out hit after hit thanks to their ability to successfully reinvent themselves. Reinvention is rarely a trend among country artists, but in doing so, Sugarland appeals to a wide range of audiences. With The Incredible Machine, they fiercely cross the boundary of country music straight into the world of mainstream rock with no apologies to their country fans.

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The title track, ""Incredible Machine,"" makes a powerful metaphor between a machine and the heart, revealing a serious side to the usually goofy Nettles. This arena-friendly single keeps a steady tempo with the help of pinging piano notes and drum tapping. By making ""Incredible Machine"" the second track on the album, Sugarland sets off the unique rock tone that pervades the rest of the album, while making a definite impression on their listeners.  


""Find the Beat Again"" catapults Sugarland to the same level of performance as Bon Jovi. Crazy dancing and hand clapping are a requirement for this rocker. With a call-and-response section uncharacteristic of Sugarland's previous music, ""Find the Beat Again"" threatens to alienate traditional country listeners. However, a little AC/DC inspiration does Sugarland well. Furthermore, this song provides an uplifting if simple message as Sugarland sings, ""Things are looking better now.""


Playing on the lyrical method of Kelly Clarkson's 2003 single ""Miss Independent,"" the structure of the lyrics in ""Little Miss"" makes for an unforgettable song. This country-tinged pop tune examines recapturing a state of balance in one's life after a bad breakup. Nettles expresses this process as she sings, ""Sometimes you got to lose till you win … It'll be alright again."" With a powerful progression at the end of the song, Nettles proves she is more than ""alright.""


""Stand Up"" sends a powerful message for everyone to stand up for what they believe in, who they are and for others who can't themselves. The point is driven home by Nettles' strongly ringing alto.

The repetitive lyrical message, ""Stand Up,"" stands on the backbone of Bush's striking harmony.

""Stuck Like Glue,"" the album's first single, exposes Nettles' inner Bob Marley with reggae infused back-beats and a rapping section. Nettles sings about the giddy stage of love when she croons, ""There you go making my heart beat again."" The laughter in Nettles' voice is infectious, and will undoubtedly coax a smile out of her listeners.


While some country fans might be turned off by The Incredible Machine, the album is enjoyable for those willing to warm up to Sugarland's new style. While the songs are reminiscent of the band's country roots, they're amplified with rock to ruminate a variety of emotions the band had never previously covered. With The Incredible Machine, Sugarland proves that their music transcends the country genre.

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