With something like three studio albums under his belt, Thomas Rhett has made a lane for himself in Country Pop. Son of famous Country singer-songwriter Rhett Akins, instead of sticking with tradition like his Pop, he clearly is more interested in bucking it at every turn he can manage – which by the way – is awesome, so long as you replace what works with another thing that works, albeit in your own unique way. I find though that the engineers over in Nashville are a bit extra on the cliched sounds. I don’t even know if Rhett was produced in Nashville, but all I know is his music is as good an example as any of the very polarizing work coming out of the new Nashville Sound of the last few years, and sometimes it works, and sometimes - it don’t. This album Tangled Up is certainly a mixed bag of noise – but let me break down a couple things. Music such as this is polarizing because it skirts accurate classification and understandably has folks up in arms about what’s what. People tend to belly ache on what to call this; Country Pop, as opposed to Modern Country, whose latter classification more accurately represents the music of someone like Jon Pardi, who tends to play something fresh while relying on root sounds. Meanwhile, Rhett adds guitar and drawl and banjo here and there, yet he also sings over some pretty obvious electronic noises, applied, by Nashville engineers, in the most obvious way with literally no subtlety what so ever. While Rhett claims to want to think outside of the box musically, such a desire must be worked in tastefully, but as the several generic tracks heard on Tangled Up attest to, taste can be elusive. The team involved would do better to listen more carefully to their new influences and figure out what makes it all tick. Reverse engineer all you want, but make sure your new revolutionary music doesn’t end up sounding embarrassing to everyone but people who don’t know any better. Fans of the Pop and EDM tracks here clearly aren’t so discerning – and rather, are just swept up in the loud chaos and catch all styles. The core structure, content, and melodies seem to suffer the more crap you pile on top to beef them up – but here’s an idea – write the beef into the notes first, and then stretch the style. With that said, there are some unbelievable tracks where Rhett nails the quality of what he is going for, and ends up producing something that is only bashed because it truly has become something that is not Country, thus turning off those particular Country fans for the simple fact that they only listen to one genre of music. Whereas a multi-genre lover like myself whole heartedly applauds Rhett and his risk taking when he absolutely gets his genres right.