Jennifer Nettles, one half of the duo Sugarland, is releasing her first solo album on Mercury Records. That Girl will hit retailers on January 14th. The album, produced by Rick Rubin, contains eleven tracks, all of which were either written or co-written by Jennifer, including her current single “That Girl.”
Jennifer has said in a statement that “I started writing this album three years ago. I put no conscious guides or governors on the creation of this album other than to write songs that I want to sing. Working with Rick Rubin was a dream come true and the result is an album that plays to my roots – country, 70’s radio, gospel and singer songwriter.” The listener can most definitely hear those roots on That Girl, along with island rhythms, soul, and blues.
As a fan of Sugarland, the single, “That Girl,” was not what I expected, but it peaked my curiosity as to what a full album would entail. Honestly, it took many a listen before I could truly appreciate That Girl. However, when you listen closely you will find an album full of touching, relatable stories told by a strong, emotive voice. These include songs about being the “other woman,” jealousy, finding happiness by being alone, old love and new love.
A lovely, gentle guitar opens the first track of the album, “Falling.” The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a first summer love: “ I watched as you were leaving/The leaves were dancing oranges and reds/They circled all around me like confetti on fire/They were nothing when compared to the burning in my head.” As piano and drums join in, her voice soars to remember her first time and how “Every year when the leaves appear/Your memory comes sweet and clear/I never will forget you/And I never did regret you.” Beautiful.
“Me Without You” describes the peace that can be found in ending a relationship. With lyrics like, “I don’t know this road I’m on or where it’s leading to/But I know I’m gonna be alright/The more I see the more I like me/without you,” the song is an empowering one for women reminding us that being on our own can be okay.
“Moneyball” and “Jealousy” are two of the few up tempo tracks on the album. The former, with its jazzy melody, is about how fast life goes and how “A thousand years of passing we’ll be memories and food for the grass.” “Jealousy” pairs a breezy 70’s flavored melody with killer lyrics like “I didn’t really mean/To cause such an ugly scene/Showing up at your house/Half drunk and crazy bitch/I called you out.”
“This Angel” sonically reminds me of Joan Osborne’s “One Of Us.” A beautifully sung, string filled ballad about finding a person who will “shake me” permitting “life to begin,” welcoming hope and love.
“Thank You,” a favorite track on the record, speaks of someone in life who has helped her grow, touched, blessed and loved her. “A lifetime to count the ways wouldn’t be enough to say I thought you should know how much you’ve helped me grow.” The song can remind us to appreciate the people in our lives who have impacted us and be a reminder to say “thank you.”
You can hear Jennifer’s many influences again on “This One’s For You.” Written with Sara Bareilles, this is a love song about wanting someone to know that “You are the rhythm/You are the rain/You are the music and melody/You’re the reason behind why there’s so many love songs…but this one’s for you.”
“Good Time to Cry” is about needing to move on from an old lover. “Pain only broken hearts know/When there’s more holding on/Then you have to let it go.”
Filled with piano, guitars and drums along with a rollicking old school melody & well written lyrics, “Know You Wanna Know” is infectious. Everybody wants to know everyone’s business all while claiming to be “above it all.”
The album concludes with a cover of the Bob Seger classic “Like A Rock.”
That Girl will be available January 14th