Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles with touring bassist Annie Clements.
Country duo Sugarland lands at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the third time with The Incredible Machine. The country outfit moved 203,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to beat out Kings of Leon’s Come Around Sundown.
Despite winning multiple Grammy and CMA awards, Sugarland elected to push their country boundaries with this latest effort, which singer Jennifer Nettles says “is not your grandma’s country.”
According to the press release, the duo found inspiration for the album in the iconic music and films of the 1980s.
“We allowed ourselves to play with our influences,” said Nettles.
As such, the coming-of-age movies by director John Hughes and songs by Blondie, Peter Gabriel and the Pretenders and even the Clash all helped fire up the Machine.
“When we were writing, we asked what if John Hughes were making movies now…. Who would be on the soundtrack?” said vocalist/guitarist Kristian Bush.
And so the duo used Blondie-esque synthesizer sounds on songs like “All We Are” and “Find the Beat Again,” while forming “Tonight” with the impressionable boombox scene from the movie Say Anything in mind. (In case you aren’t familiar with this classic John Cusack scene, watch it here).
As for that Clash influence, Bush says he adapted his technique on the siren-like guitar sound that pushes “Find the Beat Again” towards its climax from the British rockers.
“If you dig far enough you’re going to see that the Clash and Johnny Cash had a lot in common,” said Bush, connecting the dots between rebellious country and rebellious rock. “I like to live right where those guys meet.”
Watch Sugarland perform the album’s title track here.