Sure, it’s a bold claim, but we’re standing by it: Thomas Rhett’s “Sixteen,” released yesterday as an instant gratification track for his upcoming album Life Changes, is a perfect song. The track oozes character, perfectly capturing the way one thinks about age when they’re young. His vocal and the melody pair perfectly in a strong mid-tempo groove.
“What I wouldn’t give to be sixteen, wild and free / Cruising up and down main in my F-150 / Roll the windows down, bass too loud from this burned cd / I’ll be right where I wanna be when I’m 16.”
The song is conversational lyrically, tapping expertly into a strong sense of voice.“I just rolled my eyes and said, daddy I know / I’m fifteen, I ain’t green like some ol’ ten year old,” Rhett sings in the first chorus, as his dad gives him a pointer on how to drive.
“Now that I can drive, finally feel alive but I got this curfew / Sneaking in late smelling like my girlfriend’s perfume / People talking about college and knowledge and that’s all right / But all I’m thinking about is an unsupervised Saturday night.”
Nostalgia is as pervasive as F-150s on country radio, and “Sixteen” employs both, but the imagery feels fresh and the concept novel even so. It’s masterful with its nostalgia – Rhett doesn’t explicitly pine for those days, but the way each age is painted is so vivid that the listener can’t help but reminisce, perhaps bittersweetly, about those moments in their own lives.
Rhett wrote the song with pop phenoms Sean Douglas and Joe Spargur, whose names appear a couple times on the Tangled Up and Life Changes track listings, most notably as the trio that penned smash hit “Die A Happy Man.”
Grab “Sixteen” on iTunes and stream below: