Sugarland's latest album sold more than 202,000 copies its first week of release to give the duo its third Number One debut on both the Billboard 200 and Country Albums charts.
Sugarland describes The Incredible Machine as a collection of anthems. The duo's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush say the album was "designed to play in very large places and to communicate with a large group of people."
"We looked at this record, and something that was consistent all the way through it was the concept of the human heart and the metaphor of the human heart," Jennifer explained When asked why they titled the record The Incredible Machine.
"'The Incredible Machine,' the song itself, is actually a metaphor about the human heart and its exquisite and beautiful capacity to feel and to love and to understand," she added. "That's what we try to do as humans anyway. We try to love, we try to feel, we try to understand our world around us, and that's what each of these songs tends to lean toward is that heart and how it works in that way."
Included on the album is "Wide Open," which Jennifer and Kristian wrote for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games soundtrack.
They were teenagers in the 1980s, and grew up listening to such non-Country acts as The Cure, The Alarm, Blondie, and The Pretenders. Jennifer and Kristian incorporated many of those musical influences on The Incredible Machine. Some reviews of the album have criticized Sugarland for straying too far from mainstream Country. But, Jennifer says the duo feels it's important to take risks.
"I don't like to, and I know Kristian doesn't as well, get bored with what it is that we're doing," Jennifer said. "Nor do we like to become complacent, so we really try with each album to evolve into what is the most authentic snapshot of where we are right now artistically as musicians. I think this record really shows that."
Sugarland recently wrapped up a 55-city tour. After taking a two-month break, they'll head back out on the road to continue supporting their new album. The duo is taking part in this year's VH1 Divas show, which honors the U.S. military. The concert airs on December 5, and will be carried internationally on the Armed Forces Network.