The Supremes did it. Simon and Garfunkel did it. The Dixie Chicks did it.
Almost every talented musical group does it.
After years of success they decide to split and move forward making music without one another. Although, not every post-breakup artist goes on to do great things. You could say Justin Timberlake was successful post NSYNC, but do we ever actually hear about Joe Jonas' music after breaking up with the band he had with his brothers, the Jonas Brothers?
This month, Jennifer Nettles released her debut solo album "That Girl." Her name is relatively unknown, unless someone knows of the mainstream country duo Sugarland.
She fronted the band with guitarist Kristian Bush, but after recording five studio albums and giving birth, Nettles decided to release an album under her own name. Produced by Rick Rubin, co-president of Columbia Records, the album dabbles in folk but mainly focuses around Nettles' country roots, perfectly showcasing her typical-of-country vocals while ignoring the music component.
The title track "That Girl," the fourth out of a total of 11, reminisces on a confusing, muddling love that leaves Nettles in the middle of four-minute ballad that doesn't seem to have any variety. The track has a flat, over-produced feel and rambles on to immature and stereotypical complications of relationships a la Taylor Swift.
"Saw them holding hands / knew he was a married man," is how the song "Know You Wanna Know" starts off. The song has a jig and reel vibe, but its lyrics prove to be nothing more than a journal entry. Her voice remains within one octave and competes with the instruments attempting to accompany them.
Most of the album focuses around that childish motif, a theme that seems out of place given Nettles' age.
The collection of songs has the potential to be sophisticated, but it disappoints when the songs seem to follow a very formulaic structure that gets tiring by the fifth track.
With hardly any variation or experimentation, "That Girl" falls flat for Nettles. Together, the songs reflect teen pop rather than a mature musician with years of experience. Rants, self-conscious comments and infantile infatuations make the album into more of a public diary than a musical piece. Although its production is average, its structure is messy with ballads after love songs after revenge tracks; the album falls short of telling a story that listeners can relate to.
Alas, some artists have proved to be better off without their musical significant others. Although with this album, Nettles demonstrates that her solo career may be short lived.
"That Girl" is a mediocre representation of her musical pursuits that brought her fame through Sugarland.