Russell Dickerson Talks Leaning Into 'The 1975 Vibes' on 'Dynamic' New Album, Importance of Song Flow (Exclusive)

Russell Dickerson dropped his brand new self-titled album in early November, and the "dynamic" third album from the country music hitmaker has been a massive hit with fans. PopCulture.com had a chance to chat with Dickerson recently, with the singer sharing some insight into the album, including the importance of "sequencing" and song flow. He also confirmed that "The 1975 vibes" on the album's groove-heavy track "18" were fully intentional.

"From the day it came out, I think every single fan response was just best yet," Dickerson told us about how his dedicated fanbase has responded to the new album. "Which is the biggest compliment because just to keep growing and to keep these dedicated fans involved and keeping them engaged and growing deeper and deeper in their fandom." He went on to say, "Even with 'She Likes It,' I remember my manager being like, 'Dude, you're going to be able to tell a tangible difference in the tour at the end of this year.' It's crazy how many people it's reached and created new fans just with one song."

Regarding how he chose to go the self-titled route for his new album, Dickerson reflected on how he chose the titles of his first two major projects: Yours (2017) and Southern Symphony (2020). "I feel like with the first two... With Yours, that was pretty easy. I was like, 'This is the best song I've ever written. It's my favorite song, the biggest song.' That was pretty easy, and then that's what started this whole thing anyway, was that song."

He continued, "Then, Southern Symphony, really, I had just had that title in my back pocket for years and years. I just would throw it out every once in a while and see if anybody would kind of vibe with it or anything. Then, one day I just threw out the title with one of my go-to writers, Parker. We were in LA, and I just threw out that title and we ended up just writing the song in probably an hour and a half. It just kind of fell out and it was about where I'd come from."

Noting that the title was inspired by his hometown of Union City, Tennessee, Dickerson added, "I just wanted to call the album that, really. I think it's one of my favorite songs to have written, the most real, and 'Picture by Picture' is just my life growing up." He then explained the reasoning behind the new album's title, "With this one, it was just like, 'I don't know what else to call this album, but Russell Dickerson is just...' It was just all the songs. Yeah, we could call it 'Blame It on Being Young,' or we could call it one of the songs. I don't know, it just felt like the right time to do a self-titled."

There is no denying that Dickerson's new album is an evolution of his sound, blending modern rock and pop elements into his unique brand of country, which makes for something completely brand new to the genre and simply has to be heard for itself. One of the best examples of this is "18," which feels like it could be at home between anything by The 1975 or Maroon 5. Giving some details into how the song came together, Dickerson explained, "My wife and I met when I was probably 22, 23, and I was like, man... I forget who threw out the idea, but it was 18. It was like, 'Man, I wish I've known you since then, or even earlier."

"We could have been high school sweethearts and all that stuff, just wishing to go back in time," he continued. "Josh Kerr had the rift that you hear... He had that guitar riff going and he knows I'm a huge 1975 fan, first and foremost. It's that '90s throwback kind of vibe and poppy."

Dickerson added that the new sounds on the album were completely on purpose, and that — while he is the biggest fan of his peers — he's just trying to be himself and not emulate what someone else is going based on success. "That's the thing with this record, it was like, 'I'm not going to give into the pressure around me to do this super country, kitschy...' I'm not going to change my sound just because Luke Combs is the biggest thing in country music right now. You know what I mean? And I love Luke Combs. I'm a huge Luke Combs fan, but that doesn't mean that I have to follow in those footsteps that everybody else is trying to follow in."

He continued, "That's why I put this song on there. It's like, Dude, I just love it. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. You're dead on with the 1975 vibes. I'm just like, 'Dude, I don't care. I love it. I want to put it on my record.'"

Notably, after "18" the very next song on the album is a much closer-to-traditional country tune titled "Over and Over," which proves the point that with this album Dickerson has put forth all of himself. "I feel like it's the most cohesive album, but also the most dynamic. There's 'God Give Me the Girl,' which is my new radio single, and that's your good old RD love song, but then there's '18,' and then there's 'She's Why.' Those are way on the other side of the genre spectrum, and then there's 'All The Same Friends' and 'Big Wheels,' which are just redneck bangers."

Discussing how crucial crafting the track list for an album is, Dickerson said, "I really do spend a lot of time in sequencing stuff like that. Then there's 'I Wonder,' which is about me and my wife breaking up, and then the next song right after is 'God Gave Me a Girl' and there was that snap aha moment of, 'What am I doing? I got to go back and get this girl.' That's just those little sequencing moments like that."

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Finally, he added, "Nothing is definite. Nothing is absolute with the sequencing, but even chronologically, man, the first song on the record, 'Blame It on Being Young' is about being 16 years old and all the dumb stuff we used to do, and then all the way to the last song on the record, which is 'Just Like Your Mama,' which is me becoming a dad. It's just in between that is all the life that has happened since 16 and becoming a dad." Fans can check out the new album here, and follow Dickerson on Instagram for musical updates, including tour dates.