Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have always been great as solo artists. But when Nettles’ powerhouse vocals and Bush’s incredible musicianship are put together, the combination is nothing short of magical. That’s evident on the handful of albums that the Grammy-winning duo has produced over a 15-year career span. To date, all of Sugarland’s records have made the top three on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, but there’s always a favorite to pick out when listening to them back.
Here, Country Now ranks all of Sugarland’s studio albums from worst to best.
Although all of Sugarland’s albums are great, one has to be ranked the lowest. 2018’s Bigger, co-produced with Julian Raymond, was the songwriting duo’s “comeback” album that followed a lengthy hiatus and 2010’s The Incredible Machine. It was evident that both Nettles and Bush, who had previously parted ways to pursue solo careers, experienced some life changes prior to the project’s release. All of those moments leading up to the Bigger resulted in uplifting messages of positivity and reflection. Songs like “Still the Same” and the Taylor Swift co-penned, “Babe” were fan favorites but neither were chart-toppers.
4. The Incredible Machine
Sugarland has always been known to push boundaries within the country music genre. Their platinum-certified fifth-studio album, The Incredible Machine, is an example of that. Leading up to the record’s release, many listeners believed that it would include “steam engine” sounds. Nettles and Bush, who cited “steampunk” as inspiration for the project’s imagery, later cleared up any confusion telling Entertainment Weekly (https://ew.com/article/2010/07/29/sugarland-incredible-machine-not-all-that-steampunky/) their description was all about the album’s visual aesthetic, not sound. Despite being met with mixed reviews, The Incredible Machine produced some catchy singles like the reggae-infused, “Stuck Like Glue” and upbeat, “Little Miss.”
3. Twice the Speed of Life
Once a trio, Sugarland burst onto the country music scene with an epic debut album called, Twice the Speed of Life. The project, produced by Garth Fundis, is the only Sugarland album to feature third-member Kristen Hall before her 2005 departure. The 11-track album, which dropped in 2004, includes material like, “Baby Girl,” “Something More,” and “Just Might (Make Me Believe)” – all of which have been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album only gave fans an introduction to what was yet to come.
2. Love on the Inside
With two outstanding, and successful albums under their belt, Sugarland had to soar to new heights and deliver something even more spectacular with their third album. Needless to say, the duo did not disappoint. Love on the Inside, crafted with producer Byron Gallimore, was the first album of the duo’s career to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and Billboard Top 200 charts, respectively. Released in 2008, the album includes three chart-topping singles: “All I Want to Do,” “Already Gone,” and “It Happens.”
1. Enjoy the Ride
Sugarland made their mark in country music with their debut album, Twice the Speed of Life. But it was their sophomore album that really resulted in a career explosion. Enjoy The Ride, which introduced the Nettles-Bush musical partnership, produced a string of top ten hits, including “Want To,” “Settlin,'” “Everyday America,” and the award-winning acoustic ballad “Stay.” Released in 2006, the 3X platinum-certified album sold over 200 thousand copies in its first week.