It’s no insult to point out that country music radio confectioners
Sugarland are about as pop as country comes. That’s pop
as it used to be: melodically unfussy, equal parts candy and substance.
They’ll na na na pleasantly as a track fades out, and, Christ,
the duo wraps up the “fan club edition” of their likable Love on the
Inside disc with a live cover of “Life in a Northern Town.” Strip
out Jennifer Nettles’ tart twang, and the group’s sparkling recent No.
1 “All I Want to Do” could have held court on Casey Kasem’s Top 40
anytime in the ’80s. Same goes for current chart-topper “It Happens,” a
riffy new-wave number that cross-pollinates “9 to 5” with the Stray
Cats. Of course, stripping out Nettles would be a mistake — she’s
got the sun in her voice, just as it’s in partner Kristian Bush’s
strumming on all four of Sugarland’s big hits.