SPORTS FBN-CHARGERS-COWBOYS 17 DA

His newest release is dedicated to his wife, Lauren Akins.

In anticipation of his fourth studio album “Center Point Road” due May 31, Thomas Rhett released “Look What God Gave Her” Friday, the country-pop singer’s first single since dropping his third studio album “Life Changes” in 2017. The single strays from his country beginnings in favor of a more pop-infused sound with the typical emphasis on love.

In his recent albums, Rhett’s shied away from the traditional country sound of his first studio album “It Goes Like This,” toward a pop emphasis to appeal to a wider audience. This transition is increasingly felt in this song, as he shapes the upbeat, guitar-driven instrumentals into the perfect tune that’s just in time for the summer.

The song is fun and easygoing, with a feel-good message about an angelic woman who has him “drunk like Corona / heart racing like it’s Daytona.” He unapologetically incorporates aspects of his religion to describe the woman and thanks God for answering his prayers. This signifies how deeply he adores the woman is, as noted in the line, “Look what God gave her / how perfect He made her.”

Rhett wrote the track as a sweet dedication to his wife, Lauren Akins. Akins is the subject of many of Rhett’s chart-topping hits including “Die A Happy Man” and “Star Of The Show,” and Rhett’s devotion to her is what makes his music truly special. The personal experiences from his family and marriage Rhett implements exude a sense of intimacy in his croons that today’s traditional pop lacks.

This song deviates from his other dedications to Akins in its upbeat tempo. Whereas his previous ballads are slow and emotional, his newest single is not simply a dedication to his wife, but a celebration of everything that he loves about her in the form of a cheerful melody. It’s a song that can be danced to, but also one that can be admired for the meaning behind its lyrics.

Rhett has an uncanny knack for songwriting, and he should be applauded for his ability to incorporate numerous emotions into one song that resonate so deeply with his listeners. Though his transition to pop is inevitable, it doesn’t diminish the meaning behind his music and instead allows his positive messages about life and love to be understood by a larger audience.

“Look What God Gave Her” is an optimistic, wholesome expression of love and rightfully deserves its current spot as the No. 1 country song on iTunes. If the rest of Rhett’s album is anything like this single, he will continue to achieve success no matter what genre he’s in.

Contact Amy Needham at needhaal@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.