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Single Review: “Life In A Northern Town” by Sugarland with Little Big Town and Jake Owen

April 13, 2008

As a spin off from their Change For Change tour, Sugarland enlists the help of their tour mates Little Big Town and Jake Owen to remake the 80s top 10 hit from British band The Dream Academy. It might be a huge risk to say this is better than the original, but it is nice to hear a contemporary country version of the song and it fits right in with every artist vocally.

Actually I personally think this group of artists bring out the feeling in the song much better than the original. I have no clue if this will be included on Sugarland’s next album, but I hope it gets a lot of attention at radio all the same. It’s nice to see three new acts all work together on a classic hit and show off not only their own talents, but their respect for each other and their abilities to team up and put an respectable and effective spin on a classic.

What I love most about this song compared to the original is the use of more effective instruments, i.e. the piano, and how all the singers split the lyrics between them all. Every member of Little Big Town gets solos, jake gets his own lines, and Jennifer starts the song while Kristian concludes it and has the honor of singing the songs name in the chorus. The peak of this version is when all the artists team up for the chorus which brings out the enjoyment in it a lot more. As I said it would be risky to say that this is better than the original, but I love a risk or two sometimes so i make the bold statement of saying thet this is the better version.

Grade: A- 

19 Comments leave one →
  1. brian permalink
    April 15, 2008 2:31 pm

    You’re clearly bonkers. This is the worst remake to date, and I’ve suffered through the Ear Wars – the True Colors and Smooth Criminal remakes (Not that Smooth Criminal was good to start with but the remake was worst), it even eclipses Boys of Summer in the sheer atrocity it inflicts on the listener. Millions will be maimed, traumatized, and yet the FBI won’t arrest them and send them to Guantanamo for Crimes against Harmony. I actually screamed in pain when I heard it. Fortunately there were no sharp objects to impale myself upon as I was driving my car, so I had to slam off the radio, but I retain the right to sue for lasting emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and arena-level emotional cruelty.

  2. bobby permalink
    April 15, 2008 5:47 pm

    although i don’t think the lyrics are anything special, the tune is pretty catchy and i think you put it perfectly about the vocals. it’s especially great to hear Kristian singing

  3. cowboybleau permalink*
    April 15, 2008 5:52 pm

    In response to Brian I really fail to see where you’re coming from personally. I did some research on the original and to tell you the truth all things considered I really don’t feel anything from it as personal a song as it was for them. I think this version has a lot more feeling and sincerity than the original, this one’s interesting the original seemed boring in comparison.

  4. Charles permalink
    April 17, 2008 12:01 am

    Obviously Brian has no musical background because the song is solid, the harmonies are good and the musical changes and vocal pitch are good. Learn a little bit more about music and how it is performed, then come back and critique.

  5. Deborah permalink
    April 23, 2008 11:40 pm

    brian your a fag and no nothing about music

  6. April 26, 2008 4:55 am

    I have to agree with Charles and the rest of them. This song has so much more going for it than the original did. I have to say this is about the best group effort of multiple artists I have heard up to date. Brian, your taste in music not only biased, but disgusting to say the least.

  7. Karl permalink
    May 3, 2008 12:10 am

    Deborah is a dumbass.

  8. Lori permalink
    June 3, 2008 12:42 pm

    The harmony is out of this world. Kudos. Anyone know where to get a copy?

  9. Emily permalink
    June 11, 2008 3:13 pm

    brian and karl both clearly posted for shock effect. brian must know nothing about music, so instead, decided to try to get under fans of the songs’ skin. it’s no big deal, seeing as how he’s the only one to take it so far as to say he would have impaled himself given the opportunity…maybe he do just that.

  10. Kurt permalink
    July 11, 2008 2:43 am

    I have always loved the original by Dream Academy. Wow, it was a shock to hear a country version of this song! I give them kudos for covering this song, but I do prefer the original. I think the Sugarland vocals are a bit overdone and get in the way of the song, particularly the harmonies on the chorus take away from the raw power it has in the original. I think the relatively flat vocals and “ethereal” chorus in the original work really well for this song. Anyway, that’s not to diss Sugarland, just to put my vote for Dream Academy!

  11. Jena permalink
    July 16, 2008 3:49 pm

    I think this song is awsome, it’s very catchy and everyone’s voice goes so good together, so brian, kiss my ass k.

  12. Luke permalink
    July 19, 2008 9:11 pm

    Obviously Brian must not appreciate music and has NO musical background. The song is great. And seriously who the hell says BONKERS? That was from back in the day. Sugarland has awesome music and it must be doing good for them other wise they would not be a group. So people think about that before you dis their music.

  13. Sparky permalink
    August 12, 2008 3:31 am

    This is the greatest remake of a song that I have heard in a long time. Lots of clear emotion even if you don’t see the video. I am fustrated that I don’t here it on the radio more. That is all I listen to in the desert southwest.

  14. February 17, 2009 5:22 am

    This remake is a travesty! You don’t mess with perfection! Life in a Northern Town was fine the way it was, it certainly didn’t need a bunch of country music pop stars to mess it up! YUCK!!! How can anyone possibly think this is better than the original? I think this song is AWFUL!!

  15. Larry Joe permalink
    July 8, 2009 2:09 pm

    To be perfectly honest I TRULY enjoyed the rendition. There are some who won’t, for that I am truly sorry. You obviously are not a true fan of music in any form, if you choose to debase ANYONE. I’m not a fan of Kid Rocks recent release, but I have the cooth to keep my mouth shut…………….. Learn to temper your comments with a LITTLE TACT…..

  16. Dan of the 80s permalink
    March 31, 2010 1:46 am

    I am a HUGE fan of 80s music, especially the one hit wonders like Dream Academy. Unfortunately, I am also a fairly huge fan of country music. This presents a problem. I don’t know that I would go to one of Sugarland’s concerts, but my wife owns a few of their CDs. They are fairly solid, with several more “hits” and success than Dream Academy ever had, at least in the United States anyway. I believe this gives them the creative license necessary to do whatever remake/tribute they wish to. I am very thankful that they did not turn it into something all their own and that they were very respectful. Now the children that were born in the 80s can enjoy a SOLID version of a song that children born in the 60s listened to when they were young . . .

  17. November 5, 2010 2:03 pm

    People ARE allowed to have an opinion, you know. It’s a SONG for pete’s sake. Some will like it; others won’t and why you have to bash those who don’t agree with you and call them names, I don’t understand.

    One: this new version misses the point of the original. It’s not BAD, per se, and I don’t have anything against the group doing it other than a general dislike for country music, but the original had a cold, hard feeling that went with the lyrics. It was simple and musical and elegantly chilly. This new version sounds like an emotional hoe-down. Which, you know, some people would prefer, obviously.

    To each his own. I like the original and find it FAR superior. Call me stupid and uneducated if you must. : )

  18. mike permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:16 pm

    I have to agree with the above poster. The original version was haunting and had a rather depressing feel. This version isn’t bad, but doesn’t match the mood of the Dream Academy version. Better than some remakes though.


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