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Music / Sugarland

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A Country Music group founded in 2002 by Jennifer Nettles (lead vocals), Kristian Bush (vocals, mandolin, guitar), and Kristen Hall (vocals, guitar). Kristian was formerly one-half of the folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim, Jennifer fronted an Atlanta-based band called Soul Miners' Daughter, and Hall had two solo albums. Mercury Records signed the group in 2004. Their debut album Twice the Speed of Life sold triple-platinum and produced four hit singles.

After Kristen Hall left in 2006, Sugarland continued as a duo. It was then that the duo's career kicked into high gear. Enjoy the Ride produced Sugarland's first Number One hits, as well as a Grammy win for "Stay". It also sold three million copies. Jennifer sang a duet vocal on Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home", which made Bon Jovi the first rock band to have a #1 country hit. Love on the Inside (2008) moved the duo to a more organic, acoustic sound which garnered critical acclaim for the most part. This album included three more #1 hits: "All I Want to Do", "Already Gone" and "It Happens". A fourth album, The Incredible Machine, was released late in 2010, but "Stuck Like Glue" was the only hit from it.

After a stage collapse at a concert in Indiana in 2011 killed 7 fans and injured 45 more, the duo had 44 lawsuits filed against them. They took a hiatus from recording afterwards, but continued to tour for some time. Both Nettles and Bush also continued to record independently during the hiatus.

In late 2017, the duo reunited on Big Machine Records for a new album, Bigger. The album includes the single "Babe", co-written by and featuring backing vocals from Taylor Swift.


  • Twice the Speed of Life (2005)
  • Enjoy the Ride (2006)
  • Love on the Inside (2008)
  • Live on the Inside (2009)
  • Gold and Green (2009)
  • The Incredible Machine (2010)
  • Bigger (2018)

Jennifer Nettles solo releases

  • That Girl (2014)
  • Playing with Fire (2016)

Kristian Bush solo releases

  • Southern Gravity (2015)

Tropes present:

  • Advertised Extra: Taylor Swift co-wrote and sang backing vocals on "Babe", but is credited as a full-on duet partner.
  • An Aesop: "Stay" - A relationship with someone who doesn't appreciate you isn't worth it. You're better than begging.
  • Answer Song: Two-fold. "Stay" is a Perspective Flip of Reba McEntire's "Whoever's in New England," which was, in turn, a Perspective Flip Answer Song to Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England." Manilow's song is from the POV of the man cheating on his wife, McEntire's song is the wife's, and Sugarland's song is the mistress's.
  • Auto-Tune: Used briefly in "Stuck Like Glue" on the backing vocals (all of whom are Jennifer Nettles) at the end.
  • Better Partner Assertion: "Stay" is about a mistress begging her married lover to stay with her instead of his wife. She says that his wife "can't love [him] like me" and that "we don't have to live this way" as he assures the mistress that he'll leave his wife for her in due time. But the song is ultimately a subversion, as the mistress becomes tired of being used and declares that "you can't give me what I need" before leaving him.
  • Big Applesauce: For reasons unexplained, the video for "Want To" was filmed in and around Greenwich Village in New York City.
  • Bowdlerise: A variant. Some radio stations excised the reggae-rap bridge and the auto-tune bit from "Stuck Like Glue".
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: "Bird in a Cage":
    You wouldn't have these wings
    If you weren't meant to fly
  • Careful with That Axe: The almost pained-sounding yowl Jennifer lets out at the end of "Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good)".
  • Christmas Songs: Gold and Green, released in 2009. Before that, the duo released covers of "Winter Wonderland" and "Nuttin' for Christmas" as bonus tracks on Enjoy the Ride.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their debut album, the only one on which Hall was a member. It was the only one not produced by Byron Gallimore (Garth Fundis produced it instead), and it was more mainstream country with somewhat heavier lyrics. After Hall quit, Nettles and Bush shifted to a more acoustic pop sound with often lighter and more fun lyrics.
    • Also, the original three-piece lineup had both Kristian and Kristen singing low harmonies underneath Jennifer (with Garth Fundis also chiming in on "Just Might (Make Me Believe)"), instead of the traditional three-part arrangement of one high harmony and one low harmony. Under the two-person lineup, the harmonies are more varied: sometimes Kristian sings a traditional lower harmony ("Want To"); sometimes Jennifer also sings over herself ("Already Gone", "Stuck Like Glue"); sometimes their bassist Annie Clements adds further harmony ("Everyday America"); and sometimes Kristian doesn't sing at all ("Stay").
  • Everytown, America: The subject of "Everyday America" is a generic small town of this sort.
  • The Four Chords of Pop: "Everyday America" uses IV-V-I-vi.
  • Genre Mashup: The reggae-rap bridge in "Stuck Like Glue".
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: "All I wanna do-oo-oo-oo-oo-ah-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-ah-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo…"
  • Paying Their Dues:invoked "Baby Girl" is an in-universe example about a female singer who has to pay her dues in small-time bar performances and ask her parents for money before finally working her way to the top.
  • Perspective Flip: "Stay" is one to "Whoever's in New England", portraying the mistress as a sympathetic character desperate for affection and longing for a stable relationship, only to reject her paramour after realizing he will never be fully committed to her like he promised her.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Nettles is very active and outgoing onstage, while Bush is more quiet and in the background.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: The end of "Already Gone" is done as a round, which distinctly includes two vocal lines both sung by Jennifer.
  • Solo Side Project: Both halves of the duo released solo albums during the early-2010s hiatus.
  • Steampunk: The inspiration for the eponymous song from The Incredible Machine and the theme of its corresponding tour.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Kristian trades off the lead vocal on "These Are the Days", "Love", and "Come On Get Higher". He also split the lead vocal when they, along with Little Big Town and Jake Owen, covered "Life in a Northern Town" while on tour in 2008.
  • Teenage Death Songs: "Joey", in which the narrator laments the death of her boyfriend and asks what she could've done differently.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Tonight"
  • Yandere: The music video for "Stuck Like Glue" casts Nettles as an obsessive stalker who kidnaps her crush and takes him to an abandoned werehouse to have him all to herself. She is then enraged when he learns he's found another girlfriend and punches him in the face before ending on a Smash to Black.
  • Will They or Won't They?: "Want To," in which a couple is on the brink of a change in their relationship but unsure of how or if they should take the next steps. The singer tells her love that they could kiss or they could stay friends, but she doesn't want to do either of those things if he doesn't want to.