Country duo Sugarland’s latest release, Bigger, lives up to its name.
The duo returns after its members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush took some time off to pursue their own solo projects beginning in 2012.
To mark their comeback in a big way, Sugarland recruits pop superstar Taylor Swift as a guest vocalist on the album’s second single, Babe. The track is quintessential Swift, leaning towards her signature light, breezy pop sounds (after all, it was initially written for Swift’s 2012 Red album), but Sugarland manages to put their country spin on it. The result is a catchy, toe-tapping number that has a country pop crossover quality to it.
But beyond just including a big-named artiste, the magnitude of the album comes from the breadth and depth of topics the songs touch on.
Besides songs about the usual romantic relationships (Babe, Let Me Remind You, Love Me Like I’m Leaving), Sugarland looks to the world around us for inspiration. Sugarland shines the spotlight on the aching loneliness felt by the outcasts and the underdogs in ballad Not The Only.
The most effective of all is the timely Tuesday’s Broken, which addresses the various school shootings making headlines. The emotionally-charged ballad takes the hot-button political issue and speaks to listeners on a more personal level.
Meanwhile, Mother, is a beautiful, moving tribute to all mothers and their unending sacrifices.
Still, Sugarland is best known for its uptempo, carefree hits like Stuck Like Glue and All I Want To Do. Still The Same, Lean It On Back and the title track are happy-go-lucky anthems that remind fans the duo hasn’t lost its identity.
The 11-track release is Sugarland’s first album in eight years. Melodically and lyrically strong, Bigger is worth the wait.