The Meaning Behind “Craving You” by Thomas Rhett Ft. Maren Morris and Why the Song Almost Didn’t Happen

One of Thomas Rhett’s biggest hits, “Craving You” almost didn’t happen.

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Hit songs travel paths of improbabilities before a lucky few become hits. Great songs are written daily in Nashville, but most die on hard drives. Whether timing, luck, or the wrong artist cuts the song, all factor into its success or more often, failure.

“Craving You” was written in Rhett’s absence, and he needed coaxing to record it. He was fortunate to have a persistent co-writer and luckier to have Maren Morris sing on the unlikely hit.

You’re My Obsession

“Craving You” is a song about obsession. Rhett and Morris duet on the first single from Rhett’s 2017 album Life Changes and use addiction metaphors to explain the despair they feel when they’re apart.   

Every time we have to say goodbye
I’m counting down until we say hello
Every touch is like the strongest drug
I don’t know how much longer I can go

The song follows a romantic couple who can’t get enough of each other. Longing is a part of new love; if you’re lucky, the feeling lingers.

However, very few feelings are as intoxicating as the newness of a relationship. The National Institute of Mental Health describes “obsession” as repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that are intrusive, unwanted, and make most people anxious. A shared obsession includes “fear of losing.” And maybe the fear of losing is what partly drives the longing—the fear of losing a partner to someone else.

You’re like that cigarette
That shot of hundred-proof
No matter how much I get
I’m always craving
That feeling when we kiss
The way your body moves
No matter how much I get
I’m always craving you
Craving you

The Writers and a Productive Sick Day

Rhett scheduled a writing session with Julian Bunetta—who’s collaborated with One Direction—and Dave Barnes. However, Rhett fell sick and missed the session. The following day, Bunetta sent him the demo for “Craving You,” and Rhett liked the song but wasn’t sure he’d record it. After missing the writing session, he couldn’t attach himself to the song.

Yet, according to The Boot, Bunetta persuaded Rhett to consider the song. He said, “Dude, you need to play this song in your car.” He encouraged Rhett to play the song at the gym, on the bus, and before bed. Bunetta said, “I really think this song is a hit for you.”

Rhett told Taste of Country, “I remember putting it in my truck for the first time; it was like, ‘Dang, this is really, really good.’”

He was drawn to the demo’s ’80s nostalgia, though he wouldn’t record “Craving You” for nearly half a year. Rhett said, “I didn’t cut the record until probably six or seven months later, and I just remember that one really coming to life in the studio.”

Maren Morris

Morris recorded her vocals quickly, and Rhett explained how she improved the song: “I think she adds so much life and so much intensity to this song, that was already this kind of longing song. I think having a female voice on top of it made it just more that way.”

“Craving You” became Rhett’s eighth song to reach No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart. For Morris, it marked the first time she topped the chart, though she’d eventually reach the top spot with her own hits like “Girl” and “The Bones.” Meanwhile, Morris crossed over into pop stardom with the Grammy-nominated smash, “The Middle.”

Life Changes was Rhett’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. He produced the album with Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Julian Bunetta, and Joe London.

Music Video and a Bank Heist

TK McKamy directed the music video for “Craving You.” The video appears as a movie trailer for a crime drama that follows a bank heist. Rhett plays an undercover cop, and Morris portrays a bank robber.

Rolling Stone described the video as a “musical Grand Theft Auto.”

The Road Taken

Thomas Rhett has a history of timely decisions. He tried college but dropped out to pursue music. Soon, he landed a co-write on Jason Aldean’s album My Kinda Party and a recording contract with Valory Music Group. Rhett’s songwriting career continued with additional singles recorded by Aldean, Lee Brice, and Florida Georgia Line.

He released his Top 10 debut album It Goes Like This in 2013. “Craving You” survived a series of big decisions, and once again, Rhett made the right choice.

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Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

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