Sugarland is officially back. The award-winning country duo comprised of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush signed with Big Machine Records and just released a new single and a slew of tour dates. So what better time to reflect on some of the best Sugarland songs out there?
It’s been a whirlwind of news for “Sugarfans” since the duo’s surprise appearance at November’s CMA Awards. First, the duo let out a new single called “Still The Same.” Then, they announced a whole new tour in 2018 that spans much of the U.S., and you can bet the Grammy winners have a whole record ready for the year, too.
But before we get to new music, let’s take a look back at how they got to their arena-filling status. Both Nettles and Bush famously write or co-write all of their material, making them the full package. Let’s take a look at the 10 best Sugarland songs, ranked.
10. “Want To”
Though not the typical lead-off single, “Want To” was the first song off Sugarland’s 2006 sophomore effort Enjoy The Ride. It was also the first single without former third member Kristen Hall (though not for Nettles, who released a song with Bon Jovi). The mid-tempo ballad takes its time, exploring Nettles’ dynamic range and projecting both a sense of confidence and innocence. It became the band’s first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
9. “All I Want To Do”
The first single off Sugarland’s third album Love On The Inside is one of the duo’s most playful tunes. It’s also a great example of how the pair can take a relatively rudimentary chorus and make it one of the most fun, singable songs in their catalog. It also hit No. 1 on the radio, becoming their third single overall to hit that mark.
8. “Something More”
By most accounts, Sugarland’s debut album on Mercury Nashville, Twice The Speed Of Life, was a huge success. The second single from that record, “Something More” showcased just how relatable they really are. It’s songs like “Something More,” with their hopeful but frustrated lyrics and a sense of wanderlust, that make them so likable. Plus, it features one of their many quotable lines. “Some believe in destiny and some believe in fate. But I believe that happiness is something we create.” That’s coffee mug material right there.
7. “Take Me As I Am”
Though never released as a single, “Take Me As I Am” is a crowd pleasing rocker from 2008’s Love On The Inside. With Nettles belting out huge, soaring notes over an 80s style guitar riff, the song is one of the most energetic from any of their records. Plus, the bridge is soul food for a lot of folks: “Slow to trust, but I’m quick to love. I push too hard and I give too much. I ain’t saying I’m perfect, but I promise I’m worth it.”
6. “Little Miss”
The third single from Sugarland’s 2010 album The Incredible Machine, “Little Miss” is the kind of song you play for your downtrodden friend. It’s also one of the more structurally unique songs in their catalog and showcases their propensity for really clever lyrics. Sugarland doesn’t have a whole lot of songs in the second person, but this is a tune that really hits home for a lot of people.
5. “It Happens”
Anybody who follows Jennifer Nettles on Twitter knows she doesn’t shy away from the word “shit,” but in their No. 1 single from 2009, it was probably a good idea to be coy and just go with “It Happens.” Another one of those songs you can immediately relate to, this tune is extremely well written but comes to life when Nettles puts her sass and character behind it.
The spiritual sibling to “Something More,” “Settlin'” once again finds a way to put into songs those little feelings that we’ve all had in just the most clever words. “Fifteen minutes left to throw me together for ‘Mr. Right Now,’ not ‘Mr. Forever.'” When you open songs with such clever, relatable lines, it’s no wonder the band hooks you.
3. “Baby Girl”
The very first song that kicked off the band’s career, “Baby Girl” is the kind of song title that would make you cringe if it were on the back of a bro country album. But it’s the exact opposite of the cookie cutter drudge from the mid-2010’s. Instead, it’s a love letter to parents after flying the coop to chase dreams. Like, say, moving from Atlanta to Tennessee to start a country band. Seeing as it was the first song and nobody knew how big the band would eventually become, it’s just that much more special.
2. “Stuck Like Glue”
“Stuck Like Glue” was the duo’s only real crossover hit, but as any cover band in America can tell you, boy do the crowds love it. The incurably infectious song just simply makes you happy. Arguably the most successful song of their career, it didn’t even hit No. 1 on the radio. But who cares? It was the best-selling song by a country music duo in history until “Cruise” from Florida Georgia Line came along.
Quite simply, some writers and artists work their whole lives to write a country song as soul-piercing and gut-wrenchingly honest as “Stay.” Inspired by Reba McEntire and a solo write from Nettles, this song earned the band two Grammy Awards, a CMA Award and two ACM Awards. Amazingly, it never hit No. 1 on the radio thanks to Taylor Swift’s “Our Song.” But who freaking cares. Oh, and this video, which is just the two performing, was ranked No. 10 in CMT’s list of the best 100 music videos ever.
Honorable Mentions: “Already Gone,” “Joey,” “Just Might (Make Me Believe)” and “Gold and Green”