Sugarland, riding the wave of their #1 album Love on the Inside, jumps right back on country radio’s wagon—with a waltz, no less. “Already Gone” seems to be an attempt to cleanse our palates from the sweeter-than-sugar ditty “All I Want to Do,” their chart-topping bubblegum pop smash.
It’s easily much more distinctive, in terms both musically and conceptually. Nettles takes on the identity of a young woman learning life’s lessons through her own personal experience. Her refusal to heed her mother’s guidance, the subsequent advice of her friends and the painful breakup of her relationship are all objects in her rear view mirror because, as Nettles says, she’s “already gone.” By the end, she understands that listening to good judgment would have made her half as wise as taking the chance on that “runaway train you can’t wait to jump on.”
Of course, as usual, Jennifer Nettles is capable of making any song shine, and she fully wraps herself into the character. Kristian Bush’s vocal near the conclusion is slightly distracting, and would work much better harmonically than out in front on this song, especially given the narrative standpoint of a woman on the verge.
Overall, “Already Gone” just slightly misses its mark. The chorus, although meant to weave among the three verses, never quite connects the different storylines. And the lyrics seem just unique enough while only scratching the surface of the true emotional undercurrent of the song. The difficulty in three-act songs is telling an entire story with the right amount of evidence to support the chorus. This one, with an attractive vocal and a fairly interesting story, just squeaks by.
Written by Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles and Bobby Pinson
Listen: Already Gone
Buy: Already Gone