Tangled Up (Deluxe)

Tangled Up (Deluxe)

By the time Thomas Rhett was preparing to drop his 2015 sophomore record, Tangled Up, the Georgia country singer had already made a name for himself: his debut long-player, 2013’s It Goes Like This, garnered three No. 1 singles. The same year, he helped pen the Florida Georgia Line chart-topper “Round Here.” But where It Goes Like This adhered mainly to a punchy Nashville country sound that could be traced back to the genre’s traditional fare, Tangled Up shows Rhett blossoming in his role as one of the 2010s’ top purveyors of country-pop boundary-pushing, combining different styles within familiar frameworks. Rhett’s approach makes for plenty of surprises, like the record’s two glitzy, disco-inspired tracks, “I Feel Good,” featuring Florida rapper LunchMoney Lewis, and the Daft Punk-indebted “Tangled.” The No. 1 single “Crash and Burn” is a tambourine-fuelled pop banger, and “Vacation” brings more of that energy into a sun-blasted holiday romp. There’s a bit of the tried-and-true country sound and sentiment—Rhett makes a romantic move on “Single Girl” and urges a love interest toward a breakup on “The Day You Stop Lookin’ Back”—but Tangled Up really runs all over the map. The trap-copping hi-hats and big riffs of the EDM-inflected “Anthem” is a party-starter, “South Side” opts for simmering funkiness, and “Die a Happy Man” showcases Rhett’s soulful side. The risks proved to be outweighed by the rewards: Tangled Up was certified Platinum twice over and produced another string of No. 1s. It established Rhett not only as a hitmaker but also as an artist who pushes the envelope of contemporary country music and has fun doing so—an attitude he’d carry forward into 2017’s Life Changes.

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