Behind The Song Lyrics: Thomas Rhett’s “Make Me Wanna”

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Released in August 2014, “Make Me Wanna” is the fifth and final single off of  Thomas Rhett‘s debut album, It Goes Like This. Written by TR, Bart Butler, and Larry McCoy, the mid-tempo track is the perfect tune for a drive down the back roads with the windows down and the stereo blaring. More than just a summertime country-pop song, Rhett likens the song to the Bee Gees’ hit “Stayin’ Alive.”

While The Bee Gees-inspired tune reached No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart on March 7, 2015, giving TR his third No. 1 hit but the first  No.1 hit that he co-wrote, there was a bit more to the track than just it’s feel-good beat. Just how much did the Bee Gees influence the country singer to write the song? Let’s dive in to find out the story behind Thomas Rhett’s “Make Me Wanna.”

“Make Me Wanna” Is Rhett’s “Stayin’ Alive”

The Bee Gees had a big influence over Rhett and the origins of “Make Me Wanna.” “I was watching the movie Airplane the night before, and there was a scene where they’re in that bar, and ‘Stayin’ Alive’ comes on,” TR shared in a 2015 interview. “I was on a Bee Gees high.

Wanting to take movin’ and groovin’ country music to a different level, instead of doing the same ole two-step, TR looked to the likes of disco dynamism, finding inspiration in different decades and movies.

“I wrote the song the day after I watched the movie Airplane. My grandma used to love watching that movie, and Grease, with me. When I’d go to her house, she’d always try to teach me all the dances they used to do in the ’50s and ’60s. And so I’ve always been intrigued by that period of music,” TR added. “So when ‘Make Me Wanna’ was written, it was written from that scene in Airplane when they are playing ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees. 

“I was like, ‘I want to go write that melody with a country lyric,’ and that’s what we did. And ever since we put ‘Make Me Wanna’ on the radio, and seeing how it went No. 1, and seeing fans scream the words to the song live, it made me want to keep going in that direction.”

“Make Me Wanna,” fuses the two genres (country and disco) by including staccato drums and reverberating undertones of the piano, a la “Stayin’ Alive,” and adding guitar twang for his country signature.

“It’s kind of like if the Bee Gees were to put a single out today in country music…the music kind of is what it would sound like if you will,” he said.

Meaning Behind the Lyrics

“Make Me Wanna” is a classic boy meets girl love story, where the man expresses his feelings to a woman who makes him go the extra mile. Not being able to resist the girl, he exclaims that she makes him want to:

Pull this truck to the side of the road
Slide on over, let me hold you close and tell
You everything I’m thinking
Hop on out and let the tailgate fall
Get drunk on you with no alcohol
If you don’t stop, I’m gonna
Girl, you make me wanna

The lyrics reveal that the girl is so intoxicating that he has to stop his truck and Slide on over, let me hold you close and tell / You everything I’m thinking. He’s so enamored with his new love that he wants to Wake up with you / In the bed of my truck and start/ Over again when the sun comes up. Rhett wants every day to be the same with her since she’s already perfect.

Success

“Make Me Wanna” garnered critical acclaim, especially for Rhett’s innovative combination of disco and country. The single marked his third No. 1 from his debut album and was certified Gold by the RIAA in February 2015. 

Earlier this year, TR released his sixth studio album, Where We Started, which features a Katy Perry collaboration and includes 15 songs, all co-written by TR with the exception of one, the opening track “The Hill.” 

Photo courtesy of Green Room PR

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