A remarkable performance elevates an unremarkable song.
If “Sugar” given a perfunctory performance by a lesser vocalist, I might not enjoy it at all. It’s a bit fluffy, especially for a Brandy Clark co-write. The chorus is a tad repetitive, and I’m tempted to poke a stick at its use of the “sugar and spice and everything nice” cliché.
What makes it work is the conviction with which Nettles delivers it. She sounds like she’s genuinely having fun with the song, such that you can almost hear the grin that was probably on her face when she was recording it. And since the arrangement is not overly cluttered, with a dobro hook injecting a nice swampy groove, Nettles’ infectious performance has plenty of room to shine through.
While I would certainly hope that Nettles’ second post-Sugarland solo project offers a nice balance between sugar and substance,” this “Sugar” should be just sweet enough to tide me over while I wait for it.