Love on the Inside

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Love on the Inside Music Poster Image
Talented country duo with big voices, big sales.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

All over the road: "Take Me As I Am" sends a message about accepting others despite differences; but many of the songs express a rather tedious romantic neediness, a willingness to let a lot of other stuff slide in the thrall of love.


One song, "Joey," is about regret and guilt in the aftermath of an accident, but there's no graphic imagery.


Just a bit of steamy innuendo: "Come on get higher/loosen my lips/faith and desire and the swing of your hips/Just pull me down hard and drown me in love."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A beer or two.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sugarland knocked off the unstoppable Miley Cyrus from the number one Billboard spot. Their accomplished CD contains a little sexual innuendo here and there, but is basically family-safe -- and very, very good. Tweens trying to find themselves as independent individuals might take the large helping of romantic gooeyness with a grain of salt.

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What's the story?

Country duo Sugarland, aka Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, know how to crystallize a moment with poignant immediacy without worrying too much about narrative flow; they have a way of bringing us into the middle of a story, then allowing the listener's imagination and experience to fill in the blanks. It's this ability, along with Jennifer's big, gorgeous honey voice, Kristian's accomplished guitar work, and an uncanny talent for finding musical hooks that has skyrocketed the deserving Sugarland to the top of the charts (pushing Miley Cyrus from the number one spot!).

Is it any good?

Thematically, this songwriting pair spend a lot of time on "I can't live without you" expressions of love and "there must be more to life than this" reflection. Perhaps there's a connection here; some listeners might grow weary of the give-it-all-up-for-you message in many of the lyrics on LOVE ON THE INSIDE. But there are also sweet little journeys into memory and regret ("Very last country song," a lovely ballad about a woman looking at old photos on her birthday; and "Joey," apparently about a lover who left the party drunk and never made it home). "Steve Earle," a frivolous fantasy about hooking up with the famous country star, provides a breath of fresh air that some will be longing for by the time Track 11 rolls around. If all the full-tilt emotion makes Sugarland seem like they take themselves a little too seriously, well, just know that there's some seriously good music being made here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the song "Joey" ("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"), apparently about the guilt and regret following a loved one getting in an accident. Have you ever wondered if something you might have said or done could have prevented someone you care about from getting in trouble? What do you think is the best way to deal with this kind of regret?

Music details

  • Artist: Sugarland
  • Release date: July 22, 2008
  • Label: Mercury Nashville
  • Genre: Country
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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