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As one of country music's finest vocalists, it was only a matter of time before Jennifer Nettles would venture into a solo project. That time has finally come. Her newly released "That Girl," expected to impact radio on Aug. 19, is raising the bar for every other mainstream solo female artist. Keeping true to her traditional roots, Jennifer peppers in jazz, pop and even soul influences on the new track, balancing out what is commerically viable and what is true to country music: storytelling.
While the men continue debasing themselves by releasing party song after tired and cliched party song, the females continue to deliver quality material that serves as a beacon of hope for all of us "close-minded traditionalists."
"That Girl" is a sultry and slinky response to Dolly Parton's iconic song "Jolene."
While incorporating such modern production as hand-claps and a sleek shine, Jennifer allows her voice and lyrics to reveal the story. Here we have a woman down-trodden by the lies of a two-timing man. He's married and seeks after the mistress for some side action. Come to find out, the mistress has no idea he's married. When she does find out, she breaks it off…and calls up the wife to tell her she doesn't "want to be that girl with your guy, to fool you and make you cry."
"I knew he was good looking, maybe too good to be true. But when he kissed me in that alley, I could tell there was a you," she sings. Her voice drips with sensual desire but enraptures the lyrics with a bitter edge, almost mysterious, layering on an attitude that only Jennifer could relate. There is an air of film noir to the delivery, harkening back to a 1950's black and white film, perhaps.
As her solo debut release, she hits it out of the park. As one-half of the hugely successful duo Sugarland (whose Kristian Bush is also releasing a solo project), Jennifer is poised to become the next great solo female, despite a huge barrier that most face when attempting to launch a superstar career. She's already a household name, and by releasing such a risky (and bold) choice, she just might get the attention of radio PDs everywhere.
Take a listen to the song here.
Overall Grade: A+
Photo Credit: Universal Music Group