Back at the end of last year, Thomas Rhett told his record label that one of his big goals for 2023 was to get vocally "ripped" — that is, to work hard on increasing the stamina and range of his singing voice.

"You know, like, Thursdays and Fridays are always really easy for me, but Saturdays I tend to wake up kinda struggling. Just kinda hoarse and kinda ratty," Rhett said, explaining the effect a long weekend of touring had on his vocal performance.

"It's just like working out any type of muscle," he added. "But learning how to breathe correctly and all that stuff. You know, I just started doing vocal lessons a couple years ago, so I think I've got a lot of stuff to learn."

It's early in the 2023 touring season, so it remains to be seen how Rhett's hard work will pay off during those grueling stints out on the road. But the growth in his vocal range and precision are readily apparent in his new single, "Angels (Don't Always Have Wings)," off his Where We Started project from 2022.

You can hear it in the confidence he has when he's hitting that high note in the chorus: Rhett unlocks a new vocal dimension in this soaring ballad, braiding vocal finesse and firepower to maximize emotional impact.

The autobiographical love ballad is a format that Rhett has employed many times in the past — songs about his wife Lauren, like "Die a Happy Man" and "Unforgettable" come to mind — but never before has he paired those romantic missives with equally soaring vocal chops. Rhett rounds out the mood with the kind of R&B flair he's explored on more recent songs like the title track of Where We Started, ending with a love ballad whose subject matter and sonic stylings are in lockstep.

Listen to Thomas Rhett, "Angels (Don't Always Have Wings)":

Thomas Rhett, "Angels (Don't Always Have Wings)" Lyrics:

I don't talk to God like you always tell me I should / I don't live my life every day like you prayed that I would / Yeah, I'm a mess of a man with lessons to learn / You're the last thing on earth I deserve

Chorus:

You shoulda slammed the door, changed the lock and said adios / To my selfish heart, tore it apart and left me alone / Don't know why you were patient and wasted good savin' on me / Maybe angels don't always have wings

I ain't that type of guy that miracles wake up next to / For too long, I didn't know what I had, but dang, these days I do / If I make it to heaven, it'll be by a hair / But one look at you and I'm there

Repeat Chorus

Wings and halos / But hey, what do I know? / 'Cause I dang near drug one through hell

Repeat Chorus

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