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Track Review

The biggest hit yet from rising country star Thomas Rhett sure sounds like it’s going to be a steamy affair at first. “Baby, last night was, hands down/One of the best nights/That I’ve had, no doubt,” the opening lines tell us.


But there's more to this Jack Johnson-meets-Ed Sheeran acoustic ballad than mere sensuality. A lot more.

A Husband’s Happy Heart

Thomas Rhett married Lauren Gregory (whom theboot.com says he’d known since first grade) back in 2012. And though “Die a Happy Man” never mentions the word marriage, the fact that Lauren and Thomas are the only two people in the video (which I’ll get to in a moment) is a pretty big clue that this tender love song is all about her.

From start to finish, Rhett rhapsodizes about her qualities. “And I know that I can’t tell you enough,” Rhett sings, “That all I need in this life is your crazy love.” Her love is so sufficient, in fact, that even if he never gets to experience any number of dazzling things in life, he knows that his wife’s affection is plenty for him (“If I never get to see the Northern Lights/Or if I never get to see the Eiffel Tower at night/Oh, if all I got is your hand in my hand/Baby, I could die a happy man”).

In fact, I’d suggest that Rhett is more than merely happy. I’d go so far as to say he’s content¬—a rare thing indeed in this culture, let alone in a country song. He’s not pining and grasping for dreams and fantasies that elude his grasp. Instead, he’s very pleased to live a simple life with the love of his life. “I don’t need no vacation, no fancy destination/We could stay at home, listen to the radio/Or dance around the fireplace.” And the next verse adds, “If I never get to build my mansion in Georgia/Or drive a sports car up the coast of California/ … Baby, I could die a happy man.”

We don’t get all the details of the memorable night Rhett sings about at the song’s outset. (That's a good thing, actually.) But given the fact that he’s talking about wine, dancing and Marvin Gaye (whose most well-known song is arguably “Let’s Get It On”), fans won't have to be nuclear physicists to put the pieces together. Here's what we hear: “Between the bottle of wine/And the look in your eyes and the Marvin Gaye/Then we danced in the dark under the September stars in the pourin’ rain." And later on, Rhett gushes about his gal’s appearance, singing, “Baby, that red dress brings me to my knees/Oh, but that black dress makes it hard to breathe/You’re a saint, you’re a goddess, the cutest, the hottest, a masterpiece.”

No doubt these are words that all wives long to hear (and should hear) from their similarly besotted husbands. And it's probably a good thing for a few grown men to be taking notes right about now. But whether everybody should be listening in on this public display of affection is quite another question.

Which brings us to the video.

More To It Than Just Making Googly Eyes

It focuses exclusively on Thomas and Lauren making lovey-dovey, googly eyes at each other in a paradisiacal tropical setting. They surf. They climb trees. They embrace and dance and drink. And she’s wearing bikinis for about half the video, short-shorts and revealing tops the other half.

Now I realize that we live in a day and age when your average Victoria’s Secret commercial or episode of Dancing With the Stars shows more skin than this video does. By those standards, it’s pretty tame stuff.

Still, even if Thomas Rhett (rightly) loves to look adoringly at his beautiful wife, the rest of us really shouldn't be doing the same thing.

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Topped the country singles chart and reached No. 21 on Billboard’s mainstream Hot 100 singles chart.

Record Label

The Valory Music Co.




September 18, 2015

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

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