NYCS First Impression: Thomas Rhett ‘Center Point Road’
Upon first listen, Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road may come off as a fairly standard collection of country ballads and modern party tunes. Yet, upon further listening, Center Point Road is a collection of love letters. While some are to the expected recipient, his wife Lauren, there are also declarations of love to his home town (“Center Point Road”), his first car (“That Old Truck”), his younger days (“Remember You Young”), and his favorite beverage (“Beer Can’t Fix.)
“For me, Center Point Road really symbolizes what it was like to grow up in Hendersonville [Tennessee],” said Rhett in a statement. “First dates, first football games, first heartbreak, first kisses, success, and failures. I really feel like that road shaped who I am today, and it felt fitting because the record, for the most part, is pretty nostalgic. Songs like ‘Almost,’ ‘That Old Truck’ and especially ‘Center Point Road,’ really describe who I was as a kid and teenager, and who I’ve become as an adult.”
On the 16-track collection, all co-written by Rhett, he seamlessly soars from slick pop-leaning tracks to more traditional country offerings. The album shows Rhett in two main modes: reflective and ready for a good time. There are songs for both moods, and while Rhett rarely strikes out musically, he also manages to hit quite a few home runs on his latest release.
While Rhett can release a party song with the best of them, and they are aplenty, he shines on the slower, more reflective tracks. He’s at his best when he’s singing about his love for his wife, as evidenced on “Blessed.” Rhett sings, “People say I’m lucky/ but lucky ain’t the word/ Oh I’m blessed.” There’s also “Notice,” which shows that Rhett notices the little things about the woman he loves, revealing, “You think that I don’t notice, but I do.”
In a similar vein are “Dream You Never Had” and “Almost.” On the former, Rhett sings the praises of his wife who’s living his crazy life with him. “You married the music the day that you married me,” Rhett proclaims here. “Baby I’m just the singer / And you are the songs that I sing.” On “Almost,” Rhett reflects on all of the “almosts” in his past, the things he “almost” did or didn’t do that would’ve changed the entire course of his life. This is the Thomas Rhett equivalent of Garth Brooks’ “Unanswered Prayers” and it’s truly a poignant way to end the album.
If you’re here for a good time, this album is full of songs for that as well. In fact, Rhett has single-handedly created our summer playlist with songs like “VHS,” “Sand,” and “Barefoot.” In case you were wondering, “VHS” stands for “Very Hot Summer,” and is most definitely not about those tapes that went in your VCR.
Prior to the release of Center Point Road, Rhett released a handful of tracks including his collaborations with Jon Pardi (“Beer Can’t Fix”), Little Big Town (“Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time”) and Kelsea Ballerini (“Center Point Road”.) Interestingly, each of these tracks brings out a different side of the singer, as he’s a bit more country on the Pardi collab, a bit more funky with LBT, and a bit more anthemic pop-rock with Ballerini.
On Center Point Road, you can hear the superstar experimenting with different themes and sounds. The album’s opening track “Up” sets the tone as Rhett harmonizes over funky horns and unique grooves, singing along to a choir that reminds us that “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”
For Rhett, everything is definitely going to be alright. With Center Point Road, he’s sure to continue his ascent through the ranks of the country music community. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before that coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy is on his mantle.
In addition to the release of the album, Thomas Rhett took New York City by storm during his album release week. With visits to iHeartRadio, Pandora and the TODAY Show, check out our exclusive coverage here.
To keep up with Rhett, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Center Point Road is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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