Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Thomas Rhett – Look What God Gave Her

Google News search exercise: “‘what god gave her’ -rhett”


Katie Gill: Country music desperately wants to sit at the cool kids’ table with the pop music industry, while the pop industry desperately wants to sit at the other cool kids’ table with the rap industry. As such, for the past few years country has been two steps behind the cultural zeitgeist, and nothing shows that more than this song. “Look What God Gave Her” has such a calculated and perfectly crafted sound that it loses any authenticity or sense of being interesting. The lyrics are generic, the sound is purposefully inoffensive, and Thomas Rhett doesn’t even bother trying to sell it.

Alex Clifton: Cut out the references to God and tone down the twangy elements and we have a charming One Direction song. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for songs where male singers sound like they actually love the women they’re singing about as opposed to listing off traits of a cobbled-together dream, and the girl in this song sounds like someone we’d all be lucky to know. My worst fear for the song was that the title was going to set up some sort of horrible “she gave her me!!” line, but mercifully Rhett doesn’t go down that road.

Alfred Soto: When I saw the title I swear I thought, “Please, God, I hope he doesn’t thank you for giving her breasts and an ass.”

Katherine St Asaph: Look, I too have experienced the specific happiness of having a church crush, thinking it might finally be reciprocated (spoiler: it wasn’t), and getting a head full to bloating with the theologically unsound thought that you and God are a team, that he’s specifically rearranging the world for you, that he’s made the very air and ground give you high fives as you traverse them, that only now do the sermons feel real. This feeling is also called “being a teenage girl.” It’s not called “being a grown man pushing 30.” And I haven’t been back to church since my teens, but I’m pretty sure we learned God doesn’t make a distinction between the sin of adultery and the more line-toeing sin of leching over someone who “don’t even want the attention,” of pretending lust isn’t lust if you don’t cuss when talking about it, and of congratulating oneself for only noticing a girl could be slut-shamed (“the way that she moves… I know she’s got haters”). Not to mention Rhett and his writers’ sin of making what’s basically a Sheryl Crow or One Direction song, then singing and producing it like they’re embarrassed about that. If you’re gonna do the blasphemy, then do the blasphemy.

Stephen Eisermann: If Thomas Rhett wants to pick up from where “Sunday Morning” Maroon 5 left off, that’s fine with me. Rhett sounds pretty head over heels as he objectifies the woman in question, though I guess he gets points for objectifying her as politely as possible? I’m sure it’ll play well on both pop and country radio, but I just wish it was more interesting.

Anthony Easton: Considering the recent scandals about country radio and women, there is something perverse about songs like this, when women are the continual voiceless subject. A set of nested cliches, without the small details or tight rhythms of Rhett’s best work. I remain impressed at how he stretches sounds that are long past their sell-by date. 

Tobi Tella: Thomas Rhett was always more interesting than many of his other bro-y constituents, but this is a little painful. Nothing interesting happens in the production, and the lyrics borrow from every generic bro-country platitude in the book and explain zero about the “her” referred to in the title. Also, “heart racing like Daytona” instinctively reminded me of “Body Like a Back Road”, and any song that does that can’t be forgiven.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: I despise the insistence to keep the verses’ vocal melodies in step with the terribly antiseptic rhythm section. The “woo hoo!” bits are canned and awkward, the lyrics have been overdone to death, and it all feels rushed to the point of sounding disingenuous.

Iris Xie: Reviewing these very Christian pop-country songs make me feel bad sometimes, because I grew up so far from white Christian Middle America that I know this song is not made for someone like me. As much as I want to snark on the excessive safeness of this, I find myself conflicted about criticizing other people’s expression of happiness. But when listening to the instrumental’s anonymous guitars, drums, and the occasional “ooh ooh,” it occurred to me: “Look What God Gave Her” is the uncompromising, bland inverse of the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” So now when Thomas Rhett is talking firmly about his beautiful wife, his beautiful house, and his beautiful life, I feel a little better. Let him have his seamless devotion to his wife, with the safest possible pop arrangement, in the least offensive style, and how happy they are to be in that extremely culturally specific box — they know exactly how they got here (or do they?). The rest of us who don’t fit into that rigid mold of exacting normitude will have to make do with finding happiness in other forms and wavelengths, I guess.

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3 Responses to “Thomas Rhett – Look What God Gave Her”

  1. I like how Alex and Alfred had two different horrifying ideas of what the title could refer to

  2. Honestly combining those concepts would make for an even more terrifying song and I have a feeling Lukas Graham would write it

  3. Very unfortunately, I have woken up every morning with this song playing in my head, and Alex’s and Alfred’s blurbs take it to the ~*~weird*`&We *~*~ territory