“Marry Me” is sad enough as a song. But then the video? I can barely get one minute in — when Thomas Rhett reveals that she wants to get married, but just not to him — before the tears kick in.
So when I talked to Thomas Rhett about the video after he rehearsed his performance of the song at the ACM Awards, he told me that that reaction — a gut punch, he called it — was kind of his intention.
“I really just wanted to tell the story of what my life would’ve been like had I not had the confidence to walk up to Lauren and tell her I’ve basically been in love with her since church camp in 7th grade,” he said.
He wrote the song with Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley and Shane McAnally, and he told me they wrote it as a fantasy of the worst kind. “It’s just about me going to her wedding when she’s marrying somebody else. A pretty morbid thought,” he said, “but I’m a sucker for a good sad song.”
Some of his favorite songwriters of all time, he said, write about what they know, but also about what they pulled from their memories. “And if you can kind of go back — for me that would’ve been all through high school — I got dumped by Lauren a couple times and dated some other girls. So I know the feeling of heart break well. And so when I can write a song like that, I can go back into that part of my brain and deliver it as that person: the saddest person in the world.”
At the very end of the video, he leaves the wedding before the vows are exchanged, and he goes to drown his unrequited sorrows at a diner. And just as he starts to sip his café au whiskey, the bride shows up in the window. Her shrug is half “what have I done?” and half “where the hell were you?”
So her ambiguous appearance left me with a lot of unanswered questions, which Rhett was quick to answer.
“Oh she definitely left her fiance for good. Because if she’d left her wedding just to go say, ‘What’s up’ to him, obviously that marriage probably ain’t gonna work out,” he said. “I think they get back together in the end.”