Thomas Rhett and Riley Green’s ‘Half of Me’ Is a ’90s-Influenced Play on Words [Listen]
When it comes to genre experimentation, Thomas Rhett has been all over the map — his influences range between pop, R&B and even Latin music — but traditional country is a huge component of his musical foundation, and he taps into '90s lyrical in his good-timing new single, a duet with Riley Green called "Half of Me."
Even aside from the song's punchline — "Half of me wants a cold beer / The other half does, too" — "Half of Me" is brimming with throwback influences. Warm steel guitar is a constant throughout the song, and its lyrics name-check Alan Jackson and his classic drinking tune, "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," featuring Jimmy Buffett.
"Half of Me" also gets a boost of classic country cred from one of its co-writers, and Rhett's most personal connection to '90s country: His dad, '90s star and in-demand songwriter Rhett Akins. But the idea for the song originally came when another co-writer, Josh Thompson, said the song's signature line as a joke.
"I remember being on the road with my dad [Rhett Akins], Josh Thompson and Will Bundy," Rhett explains in an interview with his record label, "and it was right after we had written the song called 'To the Guys That Date My Girls,' and we were debating, do we wanna get lunch?"
Rhett goes on to say that he thought about getting a workout in, and asked Thompson if he wanted to join.
"Josh was like, 'Man, half of me wants to drink a cold beer and so does the other half.' I remember it was like, 'We have to go write that right now,'" the singer continues. "So we went on the bus and we literally sat there for 35 minutes, and this song just fell out."
The decision to make the song a duet with Green was just as simple: A singer known for his commitment to traditional-leaning country, the "If It Wasn't for Trucks" star fit seamlessly onto the track.
"Half of Me" comes off Where We Started, an album that Rhett released in April.
Thomas Rhett and Riley Green's "Half of Me" Lyrics:
Thomas Rhett: Yeah, I'm supposed to mow the grass today / I'm supposed to fix the fence / But with the sun beatin' down on me / It's hard to make it make sense
Half of me wants a cold beer / Yeah, that's the cold hard truth / And with a refrigerator stocked full of 'em / Tell me, what's a boy to do / I ain't even tryin' to fight / It's already been decided / The sky and the mountains are blue / Half of me wants a cold beer / The other half does, too
Riley Green: Yeah, I kinda need to wash my truck / But hell, I kinda don't care / And I think ol' Alan Jackson said it best / It's five o'clock somewhere
Thomas Rhett: If I did what I should be doin' / Buddy, that would really ruin all the fun, yeah / There's a world of bad decisions out there / But this ain't one
Yeah, half of me wants a cold, cold beer / The other half wants two