the Buzz for October 20th, 2010


Sugarland — “Incredible Machine” (from The Incredible Machine) — Incredible

Not since Faith Hill took a big, bold, boxbusting swing with Cry eight years ago has a superstar country act had the guts and gall to gamble with their good fortunes (read: risk, uh, crapping in their nests, and please forgive the inelegant imagery!) in pursuit of creating something more than a hollow-hearted paint-by-numbers exercise. I’ll yield the road for people who are smarter than I to debate the wisdom of that decision, but I will say that stodgy ol’ Nashville could use a few more like Jen and Kris, who have the courage to stick to their artistic guns and, evidently, the clout to convince their record company to play along. We’ll see if the industry follows suit: while no fewer than four of these songs are flat-out fabulous, there’s only one track on the album — the sweet-turn-soaring “Little Miss,” which, if I had to guess, I would say will be the second single — that even sounds remotely like something that radio will co-sign no questions asked. Meanwhile, I listened twice straight through yesterday, and I’ll tell you that, if I were forced to pick just one tune to listen to a third time, it would be the tremendous title track, a lyrical deconstruction of the human heart which I flagrantly found myself whiling away most of Tuesday afternoon and evening humming. However this particular cookie crumbles, I fully expect the commercial fate of this record to be the most fascinating music-related story of early 2011.