It’s been a rollercoaster decade for Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, better known as Sugarland. In 2011, a stage collapse during the country duo's performance at an Indiana fair killed seven fans and wounded others. Shortly thereafter, Bush’s marriage ended, and the band paused to heal. Arriving six years—and several solo projects—later, Bigger is an emotional comeback album that repaints the duo's heartfelt exuberance with a layer of social consciousness. Older, wiser, and more passionate, they confront pressing issues like gun control (“Tuesday’s Broken”), religious dogmatism (“Birds in a Cage”), and women’s empowerment (“Let Me Remind You”), hot buttons seldom touched by mainstream country acts. The album's only guest turn comes from Taylor Swift, who appears on the country-pop kiss-off “Babe,” a song she initially wrote with Train's Pat Monahan for her 2012 album, Red.

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