Add a dash of Blondie, Simple Minds, the Clash and Johnny Cash -- this is what you're going to come up with.As C.M. Wilcox said, "Cash stopped being a useful reference around the time EVERYONE started claiming him as an influence. But I’ll bite. Where, pray tell, can he be heard in the music of Sugarland?"
More than that, though, is it just me or is that a rather...unappetizing mishmash of so-called influences? There are going to be some influences that when they come together are going to be the audio equivalent of steak dipped in chocolate pudding -- that is, the way those influences come together isn't going to sound that good. Longtime readers, you know what I like; you know it tends to be pretty far apart on the musical spectrum, to the point that if I was going to be a country singer, only part of what I listen to would influence that. For example, it would be really weird for me to claim Queensryche and Iron Maiden as influences on me as an artist alongside Merle Haggard and George Strait; if they really were that big of an influence, well, my music probably wouldn't sound too country, would it? Probably wouldn't even sound all that GOOD, for that matter, which would imply that I didn't know my limitations as an artist. I would have reviewers saying the same thing about me as at least one reviewer says about Sugarland's new album:
They decided to be its Starship instead, rejecting everything that made them distinctive and relevant and embracing a musical style that they aren’t even able to do competently, let alone do well.And you know what? I wouldn't want that. Not that the critics always know what they're talking about, but what if my fans thought the same thing? It should be noted that the above review was from a blog, as opposed to a newspaper with its Authorized Critic -- which arguably gives it more credibility because said reviewer is a fan of the genre. And lest you think that negative opinion was confined to just the reviewer, consider these words from another fan in the comments:
Maybe Jenifer and Kristian will actually take the hint and realize that their desire to be “innovative” and act as if their albums are the next great masterpeices (sic) of history is not working. I used to respect them, but their egos need to be taken down a notch or two.And I'm glad I stumbled upon that, because it strikes me as exactly what bugs me so much about the band -- at least if Kristian Bush's previous musings are any indication of how he and lead singer Jennifer Nettles feel about what they do.
Of course, that's not to say that I thought what they were doing before was really that good, but hey, blog fodder...