With his hit single “Crash and Burn” leaning hard on retro R&B, Thomas Rhett looked to the past for the feel of the song’s video as well. Although filmed in modern-day Nashville, the clip is distinctly vintage, from the classic car Rhett drives and the high-school letterman jacket he sports to the re-creation of the famous boombox scene from 1989’s Say Anything.
Directed by TK McKamy, who oversaw Rhett’s previous videos, “Crash and Burn” finds Rhett getting the old heave-ho from a fed-up girlfriend. Not content to let her leave, he pulls out all the stops to get her back, including doing his best Lloyd Dobler by standing in the rain and serenading her with a radio above his head. There are even break-dancers involved. In the end, it doesn’t work — and Rhett’s belongings end up strewn in the street below.
“It’s kind of reinventing what’s old and there is just something about that funky R&B love song thing that really does something to me,” Rhett told Rolling Stone Country recently of the song. “To be able to actually put all that on a country album is great because I’m a country dude. I was born in the south and grew up in the country and that’s a part of who I am, but there’s also a lot of other elements to me.”
It’s the tension between the song’s upbeat melody and heartbreak lyrics that first drew Rhett to the tune, written by Chris Stapleton and Jesse Frasure.
“I fell in love with it just from the melody. When I went back and listened to the words, I loved the irony of how sad the song was, but how great the track felt,” he said.
While “Crash and Burn” may be at the far end of the R&B spectrum when it comes to country music, Stapleton says he and Frasure’s demo version actually amps up the bubblegum.
“I had a stack of pop ideas and notions to write for fun,” says Stapleton. “Believe it or not, our demo of that is probably more pop than what Thomas Rhett does.”
Rhett will perform at CMA Music Festival this week in Nashville.