I anxiously awaited the release of Thomas Rhett’s new album, Tangled Up, for a while now, despite the fact that I knew it wouldn’t be a country album. And it’s definitely not a country album, but Rhett also never came out and claimed to be making a country album this time around. So at least we don’t have to hold that against him cause really, if it walks like a duck don’t call it a giraffe, ya know?
With that being said, I think the album, after the first listen, can best be described as Thomas Rhett’s wild card. I think the album delivers in an “I’m going to listen to this, but I’m not quite sure what to expect” kind of way. I don’t know it was right for his sophomore attempt. This is the album you make when you’ve got a few good ones under your belt and then suddenly feel the urge to experiment with your sound. He changed too soon. However, it’s the album you can tell he wanted to make. Either way, Rhett put forth a genuinely good effort in this album and didn’t drop the ball.
The best way I can describe this album is if you enjoy Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake, and you really like old school hip hop and R&B with a funky twist to it reminiscent of the 70’s, and you just maybe kinda like (new) country, then you will probably like this album. Otherwise, it might be something you have to be in the right mood to listen to. For example, if you’re getting ready to go out dancing for the night, it might be a good album to put on in the background.
Now, there are absolutely standout tracks on this album that will no doubt shine as singles. Aside from the first single released, “Crash and Burn,” other great tracks include “Anthem” and “T-shirt.” Songs like “Die a Happy Man,” which is probably one of the better songs he’s ever written, and “Playing With Fire” will no doubt be popular among the singer’s female audience. Sadly, tracks like “Single Girl” and even the title track “Tangled” fall just a little bit flat for me. If you’re looking for the country on this album, then you’re in luck. While there are only about three country (speaking in terms of new country, of course) tracks on this album, they are really great songs. The two I would recommend downloading if that’s the way you’re going to go, are “Like it’s the Last Time” and “Learned it from the Radio.” Being that Sirius XM The Highway is a country station, those are the singles they should really be playing.
One thing Thomas Rhett can definitely count on with this album is creating lyrics that will no doubt become new favorite catch phrases. Lyrics such as “let’s party like we’re on vacation” and “shake your south side” will absolutely be popping up on people’s Facebook statuses and used for captions on their Instagram photos. What’s really kind of surprising is how well Thomas Rhett pulls off the wannabe Bruno/Justin Georgia boy with an accent routine. While the album as a whole isn’t superb, Rhett’s delivery is as smooth and soulful as a Marvin Gaye or Al Green song.
Grading “Tangled Up” is hard because, as a Thomas Rhett album, it’s pretty disappointing that it’s not a full-on country album. Especially considering it’s his sophomore album, fans expect an album that’s a (hopefully) better or almost better version of the first album. However, despite the change in his musical direction and the overall lack of country tunes on it, it’s really hard to hate this new album. The smooth, funky, upbeat and just whole fun vibe the album projects make it a good listen. There are about four different moods this album takes you through from the time it opens til the closing track, and they all leave you feeling as good as a day at the spa, a day at the beach, or a romantic night spent with your significant other.
So with all of that being said, and going into it knowing it’s not a country album, I think it’s fair to say that Thomas Rhett’s second album release, Tangled Up served its purpose and hit its mark. It’s definitely an album that the more you listen to it the more you enjoy it. Therefore, I have to give it a B-. So if you’re need of some smooth, countrified funk that’s fun to jam to, then go pick up Tangled Up by Thomas Rhett. At the end of the day, it’s not about the label or the category it’s thrown in. It’s about the music. And Thomas Rhett makes good music.