Everything We Know About Thomas Rhett’s New Album, ‘Tangled Up’
“We have those songs that are just undeniable, make your heart smile,” he tells the Tennessean. “Then we have songs that make you want to party and dance. It’s been a lot of fun to make. I just hope it translates to the fans.”
The singer's debut record, It Goes Like This, notched three No. 1 hits -- the title track, "Make Me Wanna" and "Get Me Some of That" -- and he's putting a spin on the Rhett that fans know and love for this next album. Tangled Up will combine styles and influences into one cohesive project.
“I didn’t grow up listening to just one style of music. So, I don’t know how to write just one style of music,” Rhett says. “Whether these songs have more of a pop influence or more of a hip-hop influence or a completely country influence, they all — in some crazy way — cohesively sound like a ‘me song.’”
The following is everything known so far about Tangled Up.
The title Tangled Up comes from a lyric in one of Rhett's new songs, he reveals to Rolling Stone Country. It's also a strong reference to the varied influences from which he draws.
"I think it's a cool way to point to all the different influences that I have as an artist and a songwriter — from soul and R&B to old-school country to rock and everything in between," Rhett says.
The Release Date
Tangled Up is scheduled to impact on Sept. 25, 2015. Fans can pre-order the project on Rhett's website. There are several packages to choose from, and they include special items, such as a signed physical record, a "Home Team" varsity jacket, a "Home Team" hat and much more.
The Record Label
Tangled Up will be released by the Valory Music Co.
The Album Cover
The singer enlisted his fans to help select the album's cover: He had them vote in a poll on his website, and the winner was announced shortly thereafter. There were several viable options -- does Rhett ever take a bad picture? -- but the one chosen features him in a beat-up white T-shirt in front of a simple gray background.
Rhett's first single from Tangled Up, “Crash and Burn,” was written by Chris Stapleton and Jesse Frasure, and co-produced by Dann Huff and Frasure. Stapleton also adds background vocals to the track. Rhett says that he fell in love with the song upon first listen; in fact, the moment is etched in his memory.
“The first time I heard the demo of "Crash and Burn," I was like, ‘I gotta have this song,'” he tells Radio.com. "I remember being in my truck, and my business manager, who also business-managed Chris, came out and said, 'You’ve got to hear this new Stapleton song.' And all I’d ever heard Stapleton sing were sad, old country songs. And so when this came on my stereo, I was like, 'This is Chris?'"
Prior to "Crash and Burn," Rhett had never released a heartbreak song, and the fact that "Crash and Burn" is a heartbreak song that's catchy and has a dance-friendly beat piqued his interest.
“If you listen to the lyrics to “Crash and Burn,” it’s like the saddest song in the world, but it feels happy,” Rhett notes. “And I love those two different dynamics the song has in it. I’ve been inspired by the more funky soul side of myself lately.”
The song sounded so different from Rhett's previous traditional country-laced music that he and his team were nervous about putting out "Crash and Burn."
"If you're nervous about putting a song out, it's obviously a risk-and-reward thing," he says. "It could epically fail, or it could go all the way to the top and set you apart from the pack."
Motown, Rhett and a little bit of country sounds like a strange combination, but it worked well.
“It’s the most different single I’ve ever put out,” Rhett tells Radio.com, “very throwback to the ’50s and ’60s.”
There are 13 tracks on Tangled Up, and Rhett has talked about several of them in interviews. Of course, there's "Crash and Burn," but his next single, "Die a Happy Man," is 100-percent romance.
“If I never get to see the Northern Lights / Or if I never get to see the Eiffel Tower at night / Oh, if all I got is your hand in my hand / Baby, I could die a happy man,” the tune's chorus goes. And the super-sweet love song, Rhett tells Taste of Country Nights, was written for his wife, whom he's known since first grade.
“I hope [it] one day becomes a lot of people’s wedding songs,” he explains.
Another song, "Learned It on the Radio," stood out to Rhett upon first listen.
"When you’re 15, 16, 17 and hanging out on the weekend with all your friends, you listen to the radio, and it’s where you learn a bunch of stuff about who you are, about love, about breakups and about leaving home when you’re 18," says Rhett. "So that song really related to me, and I could feel it relating with a lot of other people. We played it a few times live, just to get it out there on YouTube and stuff, and you watch peoples faces, and they’re like, 'Man, that line was me at 16 or 17.' Or at 25. That’s what I loved about that song, that I could just feel it being such a relatable song all around the country."
"When we took it in the studio and cut it, we were like, 'This definitely sounds like "Low Rider,"" he explains to USA Today — and so War's members were added into the songwriting credits. "Never in a million years would I have thought the guys in War would have been co-writers on a Thomas Rhett record."
Tangled Up also features Lunch Money Lewis and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, the latter of whom sings on a duet called "Playing With Fire." Big Machine Record Group's Scott Borchetta sparked the idea; after he reached out to Sparks' management, everything happened quickly.
"Within 24 hours, they were back to us and had already booked a flight to Nashville for her to come sing in the studio," Rhett says. "She told me she had always wanted to sing on a country album or make a country album."
Although there was talk about a song co-written with Eric Church called "Salt," it didn't make the final cut onto the album.
Thomas Rhett, Tangled Up Track Listing:
2. “Crash and Burn”
3. “South Side”
4. “Die a Happy Man”
6. “Like It’s the Last Time”
8. “Single Girl”
9. “The Day You Stop Looking Back”
11. “Playing With Fire” (feat. Jordin Sparks)
12. “I Feel Good” (feat. Lunch Money Lewis)
13. “Learned It From the Radio”
Rhett co-wrote seven of the 13 tracks on the record, and many of the songs were written while he was on the road. Those surroundings influenced the way the album sounds.
“At our shows, there aren’t any rules,” Rhett explains. “There’s no such thing as standing still and just singing a song. I love jumping into the crowd. I love to dance. The whole show is very uptempo, high energy and completely unpredictable.”
There's a big Motown feel on Rhett's new record, for which he gives credit to pop sensation Bruno Mars.
"Bruno has always been one of my idols, if you will. I've caught myself watching a bunch of YouTube videos late at night, just watching his stage presence and how he handles a crowd and moves around and works it," Rhett tells Rolling Stone Country.
The Difference From His Debut Album
Tangled Up will be much different from Rhett's It Goes Like This.
“On the first record, about half of it was so old to me that I didn’t even fully remember who that T.R. was,” Rhett tells Rolling Stone Country. “It was a complete shot in the dark. I wanted to be so many different things in the beginning — I wanted to be a rocker, I wanted to be a great songwriter, I wanted to be a great melodic singer."
He names his hit "Make Me Wanna" as the launching pad for his new record.
""Make Me Wanna" definitely pushed me to start really focusing, in [that] that’s kind of the singer and songwriter that I’ve always wanted to be — just a very fun, make-you-feel-good singer and songwriter,” Rhett continues. ""Make Me Wanna" fueled the fire for "Crash and Burn," and "Crash and Burn" fueled the fire for this album.”
In terms of the record's production, lyrics and melodies, Rhett tells Broadway at Country 92.5, “It’s going to be very different. There’s definitely going to be aspects of the second album that are going to correlate with the first album, but we’re going to push it farther."
It'll also explore more themes than before, Rhett reveals to Radio.com.
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