Today, two of country's ascendent superstars, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris, released a song together (check it out, along with an interview with Rhett, via GQ). It is, to use a technical term, slap city. So Noisey called in a panel of experts, i.e. editor Kyle Kramer and social media editor Annalise Domenighini, to discuss it in many other technical terms.
Kyle: OK, roundtable time, motherfucker. Let's talk about Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris, or, as they would say in the Supreme store, where this hot collab will no doubt be streaming soon, Rhett x Morris.
Annalise: I love this intro, it's very Carly Rae Jepsen. It's nice to see CRJ's influence happening somewhere. I'd say this is a hot contender for country music's song of the summer.
Kyle: I have rarely felt older than the first time I heard Maren Morris refer to herself as "old school" for being a 90s baby driving an 80s Mercedes. But now that I am resigned to being old, I have to admit that 80s pop nostalgia is a direction I am not mad at mainstream country for taking.
Annalise: I dig these 80s pop vibes. The intro sounds like the drum solo in "In the Air Tonight."
Kyle: You know what else reminds me of the drums in "In the Air Tonight"? The first track on Khalid's album American Teen. Khalid is also from Texas, and what I am saying here is that we need Khalid and Maren Morris to make a song together and bring more soul to country and more country to soul and more 80s to teens… I might be getting lost in the sauce here, but I will not be in any way surprised if this happens in the next year.
Annalise: Kyle shut up.
Kyle: OK. How about the lyrics here, though?
Annalise: Lyrically the song is bananas. Look at the chorus "You're like that cigarette / That shot of 100 proof / No matter how much I get/ /I'm always craving" … Both of these things will kill you. Cigarettes are cool in country again though so at least there's that.
Kyle: Damn. It's true. I like the part where Maren chimes in "walk away frommmm" on Thomas's line and you can really hear her drawl. I wish there were more of her, though.
Annalise: Does Maren just not get a verse of her own in this song?
Kyle: Yeah this is fucked up. I don't think country music understands how features work. I feel like they put "featuring Maren Morris" on this because that's what you do in rap and now pop, but in the past this would have been billed as a duet. If you're credited as a feature I think you deserve at least eight bars. And I know Maren has bars.
Annalise: I don't know the history of the song, and I don't want to take away whatever agency Maren Morris may or may not have had in collaborating on this song, but it almost seems like they just put "ft. Maren Morris" because it would make it perform better? Which I guess makes sense, as Maren Morris is objectively cooler than Thomas Rhett.
Kyle: Maren Morris is definitely cooler than Thomas Rhett. I said earlier that they are two of country's ascendent superstars, but clearly Maren's closest peer in that vein is Sam Hunt. Thomas Rhett is like the J. Cole to Sam Hunt's Drake. There is no situation in which you'd take him over the alternative, but he seems like a great guy. This has been Country Is Rap Time with Kyle.
Another thing: Here is a teaser video of this song in which Thomas Rhett is wearing a Ramones windbreaker. I have no idea what this means.
Annalise: OK, after several listens this song is kind of meh.
Kyle: Yeah I've listened to it like eight times now and I'm kind of over it. Sorry Thomas! That said, I'll be looking out for his album later this year because apparently he's on Big Machine now, and also "Die a Happy Man" was flames.
Annalise: And I'll be looking out for what's definitely going to be the song of the summer, that Chainsmokers x Florida Georgia Line joint.
Follow Annalise Domenighini on Twitter.
Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.