Single Review: Thomas Rhett, “Crash and Burn”

Thomas Rhett Crash and Burn

“Crash and Burn”
Thomas Rhett

Written by Jesse Frasure and Chris Stapleton

Thomas Rhett’s new single has backup vocals blatantly ripped off from the Sam Cooke classic,  “Chain Gang.”

I repeat:  Thomas Rhett’s new single has backup vocals blatantly ripped off from the Sam Cooke classic,  “Chain Gang.”

For those of you who are perhaps unfamiliar with the rich history of American popular music, that was a classic that empathized with prisoners working on the side of the road.

Yes, the backing vocals were part of that classic’s hook, but they were in service to the song.  On Rhett’s “Crash and Burn”, they’re just hanging out in the mix next to every cliche lyric and production trick that make up Nashville’s idea of a potential hit record in 2015.

Uhh.  Ahh.

That’s the sound of the men working on destroying the last lingering threads of country music’s credibility.

Grade: D


  1. I can imagine that somewhere in his native Hawaii, Bruno Mars is snorting cocaine and laughing his @$$ off at “that hillbilly.”

  2. Great rerview. I always loved story songs. The Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley” in 1958 was the first I remember but not long after that, Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” became a favorite of mine. I just played it this morning and it’s my most frequently played Sam Cooke song on i-tunes. “Chain Gang” was solely written by Sam.

    “Chain Gang” rates an A+

    “Crash and Burn” – agree with your D

  3. And to steal from a legendary artist who, because he died under suspicious circumstances a little more than fifty years ago, has no way to defend himself against this travesty is almost…dare I say it…a first-degree felony crime.

  4. Not bothering with the Rhett song for obvious reasons, but the Cooke song was great. Thanks for introducing it to me!

  5. 42 seconds was all I could take of that travesty. 42 seconds. That’s all it took to prove utterly false once and for all the adage that “good artists copy, great artists steal.”

    I still can’t understand why Thomas Rhett bothers with country music beyond the money as opposed to doing hip-hop or plain in some glam metal tribute band – you know, stuff he’s actually admitted to liking.

  6. the pistolero the answer is simple his dad who probably wants him to stay put in country music. If he went over to pop he wouldn’t last country radio unfortunately is so weak Thomas Rhett, Raelynn, Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell. All can get away with getting hits even though two are talentless and two have no country in their music period.

  7. Also, is not the title of that song “Crash And Burn” potentially (and hopefully) prophetic? And I don’t mean just about this guy, I mean everybody of that “bro country” stripe.

  8. Erik keep dreaming this song looks poised to enter the Top 40 on Billboard this week. If we are lucky it’ll be deemed too polarizing and stall like Jason Aldean’s 1994 or Jerrod Niemann Donkey but it looks like Thomas looks to be the other huge breakout star along with Sam Hunt. Just thinking of that makes me sick to my stomach meanwhile we have other good new artists like Mickey Guyton & Mo Pitney struggling even though there material is pure traditional. Country music has really lost it’s Identity and it’s sickening.

  9. You’re right, it’s probably pointless at this time to hope this sick trend atrophies on its own. As long as these so-called “artists” put this schlock out, and as long as the country audience buys it, it’ll keep on going.

  10. I agree that the idea of the backing vocal is ripped off. I hate bro country. I hate what producers are doing to the music I love.

    However, Thomas Rhett strikes me a little differently. I’m not a huge fan of Thomas, but I’m not instantly bothered by his stuff like I am by the likes of Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line. With Rhett I can at least applaud what he is trying to do musically with his stuff. The production sounds different enough that it stands out when it comes on the radio. I think “Makes Me Wanna,” worked in the album version better with the breakdown in the second verse and it at least was about love to some degree. It still fell prey to the new country pratfall of women as objects but it had a more playful tone to it then FGL basically saying, “I’m going to plow you on the kitchen counter.”

    This song shows a certain level of maturity when compared to his peers as the guy in the song is recognizing he is the problem even if he is too dumb to sit and listen to legitimate advice about how to fix it. In fact, he says his role is to be sad so others know what not to do.

    I think there is enough in Thomas Rhett where he could survive the death of what passes for country right now because he tries to do something different instead of sounding like everything else on radio.

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