Thomas Rhett’s latest album Center Point Road reflects the musical climate perhaps better than anything else. Is it a country album? At times. Is it more a pop, Top 40 album? At times. It’s so hard to pin down a specific genre; Rhett makes enjoyable music and that only grows his loyal fan base.
Out of the 16 song album, there is definitely a good half and a better half. In fact, I almost gave up on the album until song #8, and from there it was the TR that I love.
The album starts of strong, with “Up” and and “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” a collab with Little Big Town. Both songs use lots of brass instrumentation and groovy beats. “Blessed” is a strong ballad, an ode to our favorite Nashville wife, Lauren and their family.
However, the true TR love song is “Dream You Never Had,” which is even more personal and romantic than “Die a Happy Man.” Rhett really gives all the credit to his ever supportive wife for the sacrifices made as they embark on the crazy life his career has given them. “Center Point Road” is a really solid song and obviously it has sentimental truth to it. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it falls a little flat to me. I also believe Kelsea Ballerini could have been used in a better platform on this album, rather than this song. Turning the song into a duet, takes away some of the personal effect. The rest of the “first half” of the album rounds out with Rhett’s current single “Look What God Gave Her,” “That Old Truck,” the most country sounding song on the album, and “VHS” which is easily the weakest song on the album and makes me wonder what other songs it beat out to make the final cut.
As mentioned earlier, the album takes off eight songs in. I was so close to listening to something else when “Notice” came on and I’m not sure why, but it is one of those songs that sounds so fresh and original. Between “Sand” and “Barefoot” you can find one to become your summer anthem. “Beer Can’t Fix” gives us the musical collaboration we never knew we needed. Adding Jon Pardi to any song already makes it 100 times better. It also has a Caribbean flavor to it and all of these pieces that on paper don’t go together, create a groovy, slow rock vibe.
“Things You Do For Love” gets a little repetitive, but between the one line chorus comes some solid stanzas of creative writing. At first listen, “Don’t Stop Drivin’” reminded me a John Mellencamp song; one of those fun, catchy, young love songs. Two of the very best songs are unfortunately buried on this album, which is such a disservice. “Almost” is the last song, and “Remember You Young” both have a strong nostalgic sound to them, but more than anything it sounds like vintage Thomas Rhett. Country music could really use these songs blaring from radios everywhere.
Not surprising but Thomas Rhett knows how to put together a strong album. Sometimes less might be more; there are so many quality songs on Center Point Road that I hope they don’t get lost in the shuffle. But hey, new TR music every 20 months isn’t something I’ll start complaining about.