With four singles released off of Thomas Rhett’s latest album Tangled Up, conventional wisdom dictated that Rhett return to the studio to began putting together his next record. Rhett and Valory Music, however, decided to throw consumers a curve by instead releasing a deluxe version of Tangled Up with five new tracks, including Rhett’s latest single “Star Of The Show.”
Rhett has been a polarizing figure in country music over the last few years, especially with the “excursions in neo-disco” that were featured on Tangled Up. While I personally have enjoyed Rhett’s eclectic brand of music, many country music critics have ripped Tangled Up to pieces, citing the R&B, hip-hop, and even rap elements that pervade the album. The reaction from radio has been all over the map: “Die A Happy Man” spent six weeks at No. 1 and earned several “Song of the Year” awards, while “Vacation” barely made it into the Top 30.
“Star of the Show” is…well, it’s essentially “Die A Happy Man, Part 2.” The production is almost the exact same (though the producer deserves props for giving a steel guitar a prominent place in “Star”). The song’s pace is a bit faster than its predecessor, but it still maintains a laid-back vibe with a nice groove that goes down much easier than the in-your-face “Vacation.” Vocally, Rhett delivers his usual solid performance, and while he seems to labor a bit in his upper ranges, it’s not a major sticking point.
Lyrically, “Star” blends the sentiment of “Die A Happy Man” with the plot of Sammy Kershaw’s 1993 hit “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” with Rhett describing how a girl is unaware of how or why people seem to fall in love with her at first sight. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but nothing headache-inducing either.
Overall, “Star Of The Show” is a decent enough song, although it strikes me as a bit of re-trenching by Rhett and his team after “Vacation” underperformed on the radio. The song attempts to recapture the magic of “Die A Happy Man,” and it works…sort of.
Rating: 7/10. Rhett is a bit of an acquired taste, so I’d sample this and some of his prior work before deciding whether or not to take the plunge on buying this song and/or album.