By: Shelby Parker
Assistant Features Editor
Jennifer Nettles, better known as the lead singer of country duo, Sugarland, has officially made her solo career debut. Her first album,“That Girl,” was released Jan. 14, and has been charming fans with her new sound.
Before we go any further, let’s get it out of the way, that not many artists have success when they break away from the group that gave them popularity, but I don’t think Nettles will be seen in that category anytime soon.
It might not be your typical Country album, but then again, the genre isn’t quite what it used to be either. However, Nettles does not stray too far away from Sugarland’s infamous hooks and the true art of storytelling, which is essential for any Country song. Tracks like, “Know You Wanna Know,” and “Jealousy” still encompass those catchy lyrics and melodies that your ears will be thanking you for. Of course, there’s also no denying Nettles’ twang either.
Nettles steps out and showcases her sultry, bluesy side, with songs such as, “That Girl,” and “This One’s For You,” sounding like something out of a bar or lounge setting from Casablanca. There’s a very classic element to it.
Most of the tracks follow those simple, yet powerful ballads, showcasing Nettles’ distinct and unique vocals, as she pours her heart out in a soulful lyric, such as, “Thank you” and “This Angel.”
There’s plenty of vulnerability from Nettles, with tracks like “Falling,” which is the coming-of-age song, about being young and summer romance. With the lyrics, “And you promised we’d be quiet, and we hid behind the garden; I walked out more than a woman than I walked in,” she leaves little to the imagination.
Nettles told Rolling Stone, “This album for me was so personal and intimate. When one is collaborating, there’s only so much of one’s intimate self that can be portrayed.” Nettles goes on to explain,”There’s always the influence and the inspiration of the other. That being the case, when you put yourself out there, there’s a vulnerability. Do I at times feel vulnerable about it? Absolutely.”
According to the Denver Post, Nettles even collaborated with many fellow songwriters this time, including, Richard Marx, Butch Walker, Phillip Sweet (Little Big Town) and Sara Bareilles.
While there are many touching ballads, Nettles still kicks it up a notch with the upbeat, everything’s going my way kind of song, “Moneyball.” My personal favorite lyrics would have to be that of, “And the sun shines down on New York City/And the Lord smiles down on us all,” which just make you want to smile and take a drive somewhere.
Michael McCall, of the Associated Press, described the album as a “1970s-style creative statement, recalling classic Carole King and Linda Ronstadt rather than any of her country or pop contemporaries.” He goes on to say, “It’s a reminder of how powerful music can be when it comes from the heart-and tilts more toward talent than technology.”
Shelby’s Top Five Tracks:
- “Me Without You”
- “This One’s For You”