WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

It's typical for a country album to include characters like the wild renegade, the star-struck lover and the get-me-another-beer drunk. Thomas Rhett's third studio album, Life Changes, packs 'em all into its lyrics.

Less typical, though, is Rhett's approach to his genre. The styles he employs range from a '50s-esque love song, to a Drake-paced vibe, to Taylor Swift-like singsong-y remorse—resulting in an album that pushes the boundaries of what country music can sound like … for better and for worse.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

"Unforgettable" is the kind of song that every girl puts on repeat, hoping for a guy like this one to cherish every aspect of who she is: "And I bet right now you're probably thinkin'/That it's crazy I remember every detail, but I do."

"Sixteen" nostalgically recalls the longings we harbor at certain milestone ages. At 16, "I can finally drive, finally feel alive, but I got this curfew" And how at 18, "I'm old enough to vote." And at 21, "I'll be right where I wanna be." By 25, the Rhett sings about sitting on the couch with his wife thinking about how not many years before, "All we cared about was turning 16."

"Marry Me" deals with all the insecurities a man faces as he ponders popping the question. This song has a wistfully sad, Taylor Swift-like feel to it as Rhett sings, "I could try to find her, get it off my chest now/But I ain't gonna mess it up, so I wish her the best now/ … But she ain't gonna marry me, no." Rhett said in an interview that this would have been his song had he not confessed his true feelings to his wife so many years ago.

"Life Changes" likewise draws from Rhett's personal story. He sings about how he's realized that life, marriage and family can't be perfectly mapped out ahead of time. Just when you think you know your plans, he tells us that you can "hear God laughing" as they change. "Sweetheart," meanwhile, is a sweet love song from Rhett to his wife, about how one morning he realizes "that you're my life, you're my dream/You're the reason for every song I sing/ … You're my always and forever girl."

In "Gateway Love," a man wonders after a tough breakup, "Did you find the one, find the one I thought I was? / Was I just one piece of the puzzle you played? /I guess I was your gateway love." Album closer "Grave" says that love, unlike earthly possessions, is eternal. And, Rhett adds, "when the good Lord" calls you home, the only thing you can "take to the grave" with you, is love.

Objectionable Content

The catchy hit "Craving You," featuring Maren Morris, is all about being unable to resist the object of your desire. Rhett sings of a tantalizing woman's effect on him, "Girl, my self-control's so paralyzed." He tells her that "the way your body moves" is like "the strongest drug" and "like that cigarette/That shot of 100 proof. " "Gateway Love" also uses drug references, saying, "I didn't get you high enough?/ … Are you on that heavy stuff?"

Quite a few other tracks on Life Changes also reference drinking and other illicit substances. "Unforgettable" brags about "takin' shots like it was nothing." "Sixteen" fondly recalls a rebellious teen's desire to break rules and to buy tobacco with a fake ID. "Drink A Little Beer" suggests exactly that strategy for taking the edge off after a couple of rough days. That idea surfaces again in "Marry Me," where we hear about a guy drinking "whiskey straight out the flask" to drown out his regrets. Meanwhile, "Sweetheart" describes Rhett's wife as being "smooth like whisky, fine like wine."

"Leave Right Now" finds a guy at a bar telling a woman he's attracted to, to "ditch all your friends, the guy you came with" and take off with him. Similarly, "When You Look Like That" is all about a man who spies a girl across the bar who is "getting better with every tonic and gin."

"Smooth Like The Summer" embraces all manner of hedonistic pursuits. Rhett celebrates "getting wild, wearing shades, living like we're renegades." He also problematically suggests, "Go on and groove like a mother with your backseat love/Tearing clothes off each other all night," as well as smoking "just about anything."

"Kiss Me Like A Stranger," may very well be about Rhett's wife. Still, that marital context is never clearly mentioned in this song about the pace of life finally catching up with a couple. Rhett says he wants to "get back to the basics and find young love and make it," wanting every kiss to be, "like you ain't gotten used to me yet."

"Renegades" is the typical Romeo and Juliet song, all about a poor boy and rich girl, and his desire to "cause a little trouble," and whisk her away no matter what her daddy says."

Summary Advisory

Thomas Rhett's latest effort showcases his fresh style and individuality, the latest example of a country musician who's not afraid to creatively embrace other genres of music.

Speaking of embraces, we hear about lots of them on Life Changes. Some are the kind we can embrace, too, namely some positive nods to marriage and family. Other times, however, Rhett embraces and romanticizes reckless behaviors—drinking too much, smoking just about anything, and values that have a long history in country music.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 1.

Record Label

Big Machine Records

Platform

Publisher

Released

September 8, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!