For Thomas Rhett, country music is and always has been, a family affair. Fans love following Rhett, his wife Lauren, and their adorable children who make appearances in his videos from time to time as well as on the red carpet. But the "all-American middle-class white boy" from Georgia earned his Nashville fame mainly on the back of his own vision and creativity.
Sure, it helps when your dad is Rhett Akins. Growing up with a successful country singer-songwriter to help show you the musical ropes and make introductions is invaluable. But at the same time, it brings a lot of expectations. Through seven studio albums (two are set for 2022 release), Thomas Rhett managed to turn those expectations on their head and create his own brand of crossover country.
In just a few years since his debut record in 2013, the Big Machine Label Group artist created a tour de force, headlining his own tours and earning a reputation as an outsider from the inside. He's certainly become the cream of the crop of his bro-country class (which includes folks like Cole Swindell, Florida Georgia Line, and Justin Moore). Thomas Rhett suddenly finds himself nominated for awards with superstar entertainers like Jason Aldean and Keith Urban, even winning Male Artist of the Year at the 2021 ACM Awards.
It definitely didn't come without the usual "that's not country music" controversy, similar to Sam Hunt's meteoric rise. But his throngs of adoring fans certainly don't seem to care what you call it, and neither should he. From heartfelt ballads to small-town anthems, let's take a look at the top 15 Thomas Rhett songs through his brief but impressive career.
15. "Slow Down Summer"
One of Rhett's newest releases is "Slow Down Summer," from Where We Started, his follow up to Country Again: Side A. Rhett co-wrote the song which tells the story of two high school grads who are enjoying their summer of romance before the relationship eventually ends when they have to get back to reality. It's a story many of us can relate to and a perfect summer song that hits you in just the right way.
14. "Marry Me"
One of the many good songs off Rhett's third album Life Changes is this tearjerker. Don't let the title deceive you, this is all about unrequited love as a man watches the woman he cares for marry someone else. The music video takes us on an interesting journey with this couple and ends with the man surprised by the woman wearing her wedding dress, clearly not marrying the other man. Rhett actually finishes the story of these two in his video for "Remember You Young" which was on his next album, Center Point Road.
13. "Center Point Road" feat. Kelsea Ballerini
We love a good duet and who better for Rhett to bring in for his fourth album than fellow country crossover queen Kelsea Ballerini? Named after a stretch of road in Rhett's hometown of Hendersonville, Tenn. it's perfectly nostalgic and will inspire you to reflect back on your own memories that shaped you.
12. "Look What God Gave Her"
The lead single from Center Point Road was inspired by Rhett's longtime love Lauren Akins. His wife actually appears in the music video with him as well as two of their daughters, Willa Gray and Ada James. Rhett wanted the video to be a tribute to all of the women in Nashville but really it's a particularly sweet tribute to his wife whom he's loved since he was just a kid.
11. "What's Your Country Song"
Easily one of the best tracks off Country Again: Side A, "What's Your Country Song" was a number one hit across the country billboards in 2021. It's a fun country rock song that Rhett was inspired to write in his travels across the country and meeting all kinds of different country fans. He references country classics as well as newer hits in this song that's impossible not to sing along with.
10. "All-American Middle Class White Boy"
His debut album in 2013 included several number one hits on the country airplay billboards. This song near the back of the pack was not one of them. But the rocking tune resonated with his fan base and became a favorite, largely thanks to the unapologetic embracing of Rhett's very, very normal middle-class white boy upbringing. He adds plenty of self-referential lines, and though he's not doing anything particularly unique for the time, he turns what some could see as a bit of a slight into a calling card. Plus, he wrote the tune with the acclaimed Jay Joyce, who also produced the song (which explains the cool textures in the song).
9. "Get Me Some Of That"
"Get Me Some Of That" marks Rhett's second No. 1 single on the country charts and his fourth single off his debut album. Though getting a No. 1 is undoubtedly a huge milestone in mainstream country, getting the second assures that it's not just a "flash in the pan" success, and that's precisely what this song did. It established Rhett as the boyish charmer of bro-country with an infectiously catchy shotgun lyric.
8. "The Day You Stop Lookin' Back"
Written by Jaren Johnston (from The Cadillac Three) and Luke Laird, this country song is a nice change of pace for the usual light-hearted and party heavy Rhett. It's a simple message, but an important one to hear every now and then, no matter who it comes from.
7. "Beer With Jesus"
"Beer With Jesus" actually went to radio in September 2012 off Rhett's debut EP. The song made it to the top 20, but it hit No. 1 on the "bubbling under" chart and helped establish Rhett's name as a songwriter. And it certainly shows Rhett's bloodline is ultimately rooted in traditional country.
6. "Craving You" feat. Maren Morris
"Craving You," which is featured on Rhett's album, Life Changes, once again shows his desire to create crossover aesthetics. Heavy on 80s synth sounds and Duran Duran-esque pop vibes, the song really shines with Maren Morris' subtle but sturdy harmony. Written by Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta, there's nothing revolutionary about the lyrics, but they all fit the package of Rhett's evolving sound perfectly. And it also gave Morris her first part of a No. 1.
5. "Star Of The Show"
Rhett re-released a deluxe version of Tangled Up in 2016 after the massive crossover success of another song on this list. All it did was propel bonus track "Star Of The Show" to No. 1 status again, making it his 7th No. 1 single at the time. Worth mentioning: he wrote the song with Ben Hayslip and his dad, Rhett Akins.
4. "It Goes Like This"
It's hard to deny the title track off his debut album as anything less than a well-crafted pop-country smash. His first No. 1 single and a double platinum song, "It Goes Like This" skyrocketed Rhett's name. And it was probably a nice paycheck for his dad, who co-wrote the song along with Jimmy Robbins and Ben Hayslip.
3. "Playing With Fire"
Another song off Tangled Up, "Playing With Fire" features Jordin Sparks and, though it never received the single treatment, became a huge hit with fans. Rhett eventually released another version of the song featuring Danielle Bradbury on the deluxe edition of the record. Both singers perform admirably, but what makes the song so good is its stronger lyrical depth and mega pop ballad style (something that, honestly, Rhett doesn't usually shine at).
2. "Crash And Burn"
Another incredibly catchy tune, "Crash And Burn" was written by Chris Stapleton and Jesse Frasure. The song featured a bit more of a "doo-wop" vibe and showcased what we now know is Rhett's desire to stretch his crossover boundaries in every way possible. It became his most popular song to date, until...
1. "Die A Happy Man"
The cross-genre, Grammy-nominated smash hit that inspired a Nelly version on pop radio, "Die A Happy Man" completely took over the radio waves in 2015 and 2016. It won the ACM Award for Song of the Year and the CMA Award for Single of the Year, truly establishing Rhett as an heir to the country superstar throne. The song was co-written with Sean Douglas and Joe Spargur and was inspired by his wife, Lauren, who also appears in the music video.
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