WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

It's already been 10 years since Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush exploded onto the country scene with their triple-platinum bow Twice the Speed of Life. Since then, the dynamic duo better known as Sugarland has become one of the genre's most popular groups, blending Nettles' old-school twang with infectious melodies, state-of-the-art production and radio-ready, country-rock attitude.

Nettles' solo debut, in marked contrast, is an intimate, organic affair. That Girl sounds so stripped down, in fact, that at times I found myself wondering if über-producer Rick Rubin might've just slipped stealthily into a forgotten honky-tonk somewhere in the deep South and secretly recorded Nettles' bare, immediate and mostly acoustic effort in one unembellished take.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Perhaps the most touching song is "This Angel," reportedly about the birth of Nettles' first child, Magnus, just over a year ago. "Holy water from my own veins," she sings, "Come and save me where I lay/All this longing for beauty untamed/It has broken me open to welcome the hope that you bring." Then she adds, "Can you hear me calling? Come let me hold you/Naked and falling into my arms/With every breath in my body, the sweetest surrender/Is losing myself in all that you are." Similarly poignant is the gratitude on "Thank You" that weaves its way through these lines: "A lifetime to count the ways/Wouldn't be enough to say/That I thought that you should know/How much you've helped me grow."

"Me Without You" is a breakup song. But instead of wallowing in grief, a woman celebrates self-respect and the new freedom she's experiencing now that the guy who often put her down is gone. "Moneyball" elliptically strikes an Ecclesiastes-esque tone in which Nettles ponders bigger forces at work around her. It includes a God reference ("And the Lord smiles down on us all") and a Solomon-like nod to time putting us in our place ("And a thousand years will pass/And we'll be memories for the food and the grass"). Elsewhere, she laments contemporary forces tearing families apart and aptly complains, "Facebook emoticon replaces the high five/ … You've been YouTubed, the revolution said to a song/Read it on Reddit, tell you right from wrong/Headed down the rabbit hole, so just sing along." In an oddly similar vein, "Like a Rock" (a cover of Bob Seger's 1986 hit) ponders the passage of time and memories of youthful vigor.

The title track finds Nettles playing the role of a woman who's flirting with an affair, something she knows is wrong: "I don't want to be that girl/With your guy/To fool you/Make you cry/Wreck it all/For one night/To be with him when he should be with you." "Know You Wanna Know" critiques the shallow narcissism of celebrity culture and indicts voyeuristic fans who indulge in it, pulling no punches in describing the choices of those desperate to hold on to celebrity: "When things get tough in Tinseltown/There's no career that's so far down/That a little sex tape wouldn't turn around." iTunes bonus track "His Hands," meanwhile, adroitly tackles the important subject of domestic abuse.

"Good Time to Cry" is a complex song in which a woman turns to alcohol and casual sex to cope with a broken heart. The ultimately positive part of all that is how Nettles understands that neither choice will successfully soothe this woman's emotional aches ("Pour the last drink of the night/Try to drown out the pain/But it won't drain a thing/ … Reach for his hand/Take him home and let him prove he's a man/He'll never know you're making love to a ghost/You can fill your arms, it won't fill your heart/It don't even come close").

On "Falling," a young woman goes to church to confess after apparently losing her virginity: "I went down to the church/I offered my confession/I swore I'd never do it again/I swore I'd learned my lesson." But …

Objectionable Content

She also admits she can't bring herself to turn her back on the act she clearly still holds close to her heart: "Oh, but every year when the leaves appear/Your memory comes sweet and clear/I will never forget you/And I never did regret you." (There are hints in the song that the young woman in question is indeed young, possibly in high school.)

Good intentions notwithstanding on "That Girl," it seems as if the lady trying to resist an affair goes ahead and has one anyway: "So I called you/To explain why/I wound up with your guy/When I don't wanna be that girl." "Jealousy" finds a woman who's described as a "half-drunk and crazy b‑‑ch" behaving very badly when another woman ends up with a man she wanted ("Poured my whiskey down the back of your dress/ … I won't tell anyone you bought a new pair/I'll even tolerate your skanky fake hair/'Cause we both know you win, honey, you got him").

"Know You Wanna Know" contains one profanity: "d‑‑n."

Summary Advisory

In an interview with the Associated Press, Jennifer Nettles recently said of her first solo effort, "I'm able to show a side that I think's more womanly. I think it's more mature, and so that's big for me." Regarding how becoming a mother has impacted the way she sees herself, she added, "You don't worry about things that were super-important before because you have a baby and you just burn that underbrush out. You feel like a huntress."

As a man, I will never truly understand the deep emotions of a new mom. But I think I can grasp what Nettles means when she describes That Girl as more mature. In many ways it is, whether she's expressing gratitude, singing about love or poetically expressing the beauty and mystery of a new child.

On the other hand, there remain occasional forays into typical country clichés here, whether they're found in songs that reference antisocial inebriated rants or someone clinging to an illicit memory of losing her virginity. Then there's the woman who doesn't want to be a home-wrecker—but apparently becomes one anyway. In these moments, sentimentality about sin can eclipse that motherly maturity.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!