My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Sugarland – ‘Joey’

SUGARLAND1Sugarland seems to be easing into their role as country’s new “it duo”, slowly but surely edging out Brooks & Dunn and Montgomery Gentry via both album sales and radio success (Don’t believe me? Check out Country Universe’s Album Sales Update). They make random videos for non-singles (“Love”), don’t release any video for their latest chart-topper (“It Happens”) and they perform whatever song they want to on every awards show (“What I’d Give”). It’s like they don’t even have to promote their singles anymore, they just do whatever they want and are successful. Unlike fellow singers Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood, they really have the material that I feel deserves this success.

Now we know their upcoming single, “Joey” will be a success hot on the heels of three #1 hits, but is it any good? Well it’s a little bit of a mixed bag. The premise of the song is a good idea, of all the questions one asks when a loved one dies, wondering what could have happened differently:

What if I said yes?
What if I’d gone out that night?
What if you turned left, and everything would’ve turned out alright?
What if I spoke up?
What if I took the keys?
What if I had tried a little harder, instead of always trying to please?

The lyrics get a little repetitive but they get across the point, all the “what if”s that follow a tragedy. It’s an interesting concept and a cool way of not spelling out what happened. From what I can gather, Joey is the boyfriend of the narrator, and he dies in a car accident, possibly from being drunk and driving, but it’s not clear. One problem appears: it’s too vague. The writing of the song doesn’t tell us major details of what happened, we just get the grief of the narrator! We get little pieces of the story, but not all of it. Luckily this single should get a music video to illustrate more, but that really shouldn’t be necessary.

Unfortunately this song is a little repetitive with a chorus that gets the message across, but a little too simplistically. At the end of the song where it breaks down into “Joey/I’m sooooooo sooooorry…” over and over again, which is a little too much repetition for me. Luckily, the verses are meant to be the showcase of the song, not the chorus so it’s not a huge problem, but it’s still there.

Sonically, I love this song. Jennifer sings wonderfully with a less pronounced accent, and the pain of her performance really shines through. Unlike “Already Gone”, this song has a lot of harmony from Kristian, and it really works. The production is just right, with a great melody accentuated by the plucking guitar and medium drums in the background- just a great sounding song all together.

This song is different enough from Sugarland’s past 3 singles in theme and mood to really show off the sadder side of Love On The Inside, now they just need to release “Very Last Country Song” next… (If you haven’t heard “Very Last Country Song” yet, hear it now, here) Whatever they do, they can’t go wrong with their next single unless they choose “What I’d Give”- but this song is still great.

Grade: B+

Written by: Bill Anderson, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles

Listen to “Joey” here.

11 responses to “Single Review: Sugarland – ‘Joey’

  1. Sean May 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I really like this song, but I’m scared that it isn’t going to get a huge response from radio. I hope it does.

    I really wanted “Take Me As I Am” as their next single, but oh well…

  2. Jake May 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    This was a good review, but I think it deserves higer than a B+. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think the lyrics are repetive to the point of annoying, at all. I really hope that this becomes one of Sugarlands smash hits.

    While many songs do need to be less vague, I think it’s more important to have true feeling in the song. For me, the when and where don’t matter, just the fact that you can feel what the singer is singing.

    I probably shouldn’t keep going on, but I do have to say that Sugarland have come a long way from their debut back in 2004. There writing is great, and while I love good country-pop, I’m glad that Sugarland have a great twang to them to try and even out the country-pop side of country radio.

    • Chris May 31, 2009 at 7:58 am

      I see what you mean- the song’s actually been growing on me a lot over the past few days, but it still is repetitive and that needed to be brought up. I really do like this song though, it’s just not their best single or choice for a single from Love On The Inside, in my opinion.

  3. Felipe May 30, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I noticed Joey was going to be a single right in the day I lost a friend, in a motorcycle accident. I like this song, and now I do even more.

    Sometimes, if the song it’s too specific, it can make difficult to others people relate to it. I mean, of course it wasn’t my boyfriend who died, but this song tells a lot of what I’m thinking now.

  4. Chad June 1, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Very good review. I agree that “Very Last Country Song” has to be a single off this CD. Other artists would not pull it off as a single, but as they proved with “Stay” sometimes a gamble pays off.

    I just saw them live here in Omaha, and I have to say, I’m an even bigger fan than I was. Jennifer Nettles is totally captivating with a great personality and voice. If you have the chance, go check them out on tour this summer.

  5. Nicolas June 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I’m glad this is the fourth single, its a good song =)

  6. Canadian Boy June 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Do you know the actual release date of the song?

  7. Canadian Boy June 17, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Okay, well thanks anyways.

  8. Sarah Jayne December 2, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I personally love this song.. its one of my favorites! although I love all of sugarlands songs. I have yet to see them in concert and I really hope to do so soon, because I love them. “Joey” makes me think of everyone that I have lost and just everything that is going on in my life. Jennifer Nettles vocals are amazing she is my idol!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: