With the release of Diplo’s newest album, Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil, the songwriter, and producer has officially shifted into the country genre.
Diplo’s first effort under his country moniker of Thomas Wesley (his real full name is Thomas Wesley Pentz), feels like a delicate balance between the Diplo of previous albums but with the country flair he’s been leaning into.
On the album, Diplo teams up with some of country music’s finest, including Zac Brown Band, Morgan Wallen, and Thomas Rhett. The album starts with “Intro” with Orville Peck, who’s painfully underutilized on the track. He provides a spoken intro rather than a melodic one, and while Peck’s low drawl sets the tone for the album, I wish he had gotten to sing.
Perhaps the strongest track on Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil is the collab with Blanco Brown. Brown exploded onto the music scene with his huge hit “The Git Up,” which blew up on TikTok in 2019 after being made into a challenge. Diplo tapped him for “Do Si Do,” a really fun honky-tonk-feeling song that feels modern thanks to Brown’s gritty, low voice.
The other biggest highlight on the album is the collab with Rhett and Young Thug. “Dance With Me” is a formulaic beachy club hit that really nicely ties together strengths from all three. Rhett’s country voice is softened into a more pop tone, just like Young Thug’s. It’s absolutely a song that will get stuck in your head in a good way and make you dance along every single time you hear it.
If you’re not ready to follow Diplo fully into his world of country, he also has tracks with the Jonas Brothers, Noah Cyrus, and Julia Michaels, all of which touch on their own genres rather than country. Michaels actually gets a double dose on the album, with “Real Life Stuff” and “Heartless [Remix].” While the “Heartless” remix sounds almost the same as the original track with Wallen, “Real Life Stuff” is more tailored to Michaels’s voice. Her rasp echoes while accompanied by a slick guitar and casual beat, making this song one that would have also felt at home on Michaels’s own album.
The album closes with a remix of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” and despite the fact that this song has been remixed more times than I care to count, I’m not mad about this being included. Reminiscent of Diplo’s performance of this song with Lil Nas X at the 2020 Grammy Awards, the remix is a fun signoff.
Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil straddles the line between Diplo and Wesley. It feels country but it’s not fully there, which is perhaps a smart choice by the producer to gradually ease his fans into his new project. The album still feels inherently Diplo and if it leads to a Chapter 2, it will be an opportunity for him to settle into full country mode.[MUSIC LINK]