As a self-proclaimed ‘Swiftie’ I was pumped when I heard the news that the upcoming Sugarland album, titled ‘Bigger,’ would feature a song written by Taylor, titled, ‘Babe.’ She’s gotten a lot of flak since her departure from country, but last year’s award-winning ‘Better Man’ proved that she still has a place in the genre. Like many good songwriters, Swift has a way of stringing together lyrics to convey a message or feeling that resonates universally. Even throughout her pop work, there’s no denying that Swift is a storyteller at heart – which is, of course, the backbone of country music.
What’s different about ‘Babe’ is that unlike ‘Better Man,’ this wasn’t written recently – it’s been hanging out in Swift’s back catalog for over five years. Taylor wrote the single with Train’s Pat Monahan during the ‘Red era,’ (while Taylor was still technically country) but the song never made the album. When she heard that Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were getting Sugarland back together, the superstar approached them with the song. Jennifer Nettles told reporters at the ACM awards how the song came about, “She was excited we were getting back together and reached out and said, ‘Hey, I have a song.’ That is a short list, ladies and gentlemen, of people to whom she has said, ‘Hey I have a song, want to sing it?’ So we said yes.” The single is the only song on Sugarland’s upcoming album that the duo didn’t write themselves.
In December 2017, Sugarland released their first single in five years, ‘Still the Same,’ but it didn’t make a huge splash. ‘Babe,’ on the other hand, was generating buzz as soon as Sugarland announced the forthcoming album. Maybe because Taylor Swift always seems to make headlines, but regardless, ‘Babe’ is still a great song on its own. The charts prove it as it’s Sugarland’s 12th and Swift’s 20th Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 5). ‘Babe’ also soared to the No.1 spot on the Country Digital Song Sales chart, and No. 2 on the all-genre.
There are so many reasons to love this song, for starters, Jennifer Nettles has a voice like no other. She pulls you in from the very first lines and by the time you reach the incredibly catchy chorus, you’re hooked. The lyrics are so unmistakably, classic Swift, and yes, the subject is a cheating ex-love, but don’t roll your eyes before you give it a listen. The moment of giving up and walking away, Swift expertly conveys in a number of songs, but does so with such simplicity here, it’s heartbreaking. “We said no one else, how could you do this, babe?” and “We ain’t getting through this one, babe.”
Not only did Swift lend a pen to the tune, she also lends her voice, which echoes in background and will surely echo in your head for the rest of the day. With just the right combination of drum beats and guitar riffs, it’s toe-tapping perfection. And although, like much of the ‘Red’ album, ‘Babe’ sounds pop-influenced, Nettles’ voice is so undeniably, country its ideal for radio. This song is the perfect reminder of the sweetness that is Sugarland, and Taylor Swift is just the cherry on top.
We can’t wait for Sugarland to make their big comeback with ‘Bigger,’ the duo’s first album in almost eight years, set to be released on June 8th.
Favorite Lyrics: Your secret has its consequence and that’s on you, babe…