Where We Started (Behind The Songs)

Where We Started (Behind The Songs)

When Thomas Rhett put out Country Again (Side A) in 2021, he was making a conscious decision to return to his roots after years of sliding pop, R&B, disco, and EDM into country radio. With 2022’s Where We Started, he bridged the gap between the music he grew up on and the stylistic innovation he built his career pursuing. Like Country Again (Side A), Where We Started trades in thoughtful nostalgia, too, but it does so across the gamut of Rhett’s many musical tricks. “Anytime I’ve ever been down on my luck or feeling like things aren’t going right, I can always look back to where I began, and how much I’ve grown, and how many things have shifted in my life,” Rhett says in the commentary for the album’s title track on the Behind The Songs version. With Where We Started, Rhett is still in the nostalgic frame of mind that informed his return to straight-ahead country, and the record is notably less stylistically diverse than his earlier recordings. The title track’s R&B influence—buoyed by pop star Katy Perry—places it squarely in the pop-centric world of 2020s country radio, along with sun-kissed songs like “Paradise” and “Bass Pro Hat.” But there’s a lot of subtle, thoughtful fare here, too, like the Lori McKenna-penned love song “The Hill,” and “Death Row,” an earthy tune about the impact of Rhett’s visit to a prison with fellow songwriters Russell Dickerson and Tyler Hubbard. Rhett’s intimate life seeps in frequently, with songs like the dreamy “Us Someday” or the reflective “Angels.” Where We Started signals Rhett’s continued maturation as a songwriter and performer; looking back, he’s decided what’s serving him now as an artist, and what to bring into the future.

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