Chase Rice is using his new album to say goodbye to a past relationship.
The "Eyes On You" singer tells PEOPLE exclusively that he always knew the final installment of his most recent project, The Album, would feature a song discussing the pain he felt from a breakup. So, when releasing the final four songs that would complete the album, he started with "The Nights."
"The Nights is the most special to me," he tells PEOPLE. "I wanted to start with it so I could close that chapter of my life and say goodbye to that relationship as we knew it. I always wanted that to be on the final part. It's just a real story."
In the song, Rice sings: "I can still hear the gravel on my truck tires down the drive/You were in the passenger seat and we were both cryin'/Holdin' hands at the airport, I was droppin' you off/Left you in a ticket line for the last time/It's almost like you were never here/Now it's a sip, a hit, and I disappear" in the first verse.
The country artist reveals the song was written two years ago during a "tough time" but to this day, he remains civil with his ex.
"She's an amazing girl," he says. "She's just doing her thing, as she should be, and she's killing it. I'm very happy and proud of her on that."
Kaiser Cunningham Chase Rice
Previously, Rice revealed to PEOPLE that he drew inspiration from the breakup to inspire all seven songs on The Album Part I, which surprise dropped in January 2020.
"All of the songs are about one girl," Rice said at the time. "I dated a girl for a year and a half and we broke up and I wrote songs about it. I'm not the first person to do that and I won't be the last. It's tough s- to go through. It's not fun, especially when you love somebody. But the coolest part about my job is that I get to tell my side of the story."
However, by releasing his album in multiple parts, Rice was able to tell multiple storylines alongside the breakup, and from day one, he has said he is using this album to give his fans a glimpse into who he really is.
Broken Bow Records Chase Rice
"Bedroom" is a classic country mix of a night out with a little dirty side. "It's obviously about getting home and taking care of business," Rice tells PEOPLE.
However, on the track "If I Didn't Have You," Rice experimented with a little bit of a different style influenced by one of his musical inspirations: Ed Sheeran. It was written on a "little baby Martin guitar" - the same guitar he wrote "Lonely If You Are" on - which he purchased because he saw Sheeran playing them.
"It's simple. It's just six, eight and it's that waltz vibe," Rice says. "It's literally the same chords throughout the entire song, and when I write like that it's so much easier for me to focus on the lyrics. I really want this song to be one everyone can relate to, whether it's a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a loved one, mom, dad, fans, it can be whatever. It's just a song that tells a story about how the people in your life help save it."
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Of course, Rice culminated his album with his most recent single "Drinkin' Beer. Talkin' God. Amen." which features Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley. Rice believes that song has the potential to be a No. 1 hit single, and says the fan response has been "the best in the world," similar to how it felt when he released his first single "Ready Set Roll."
"Going back to 'Ready Set Roll' I remember being like, 'Oh my God, we have something crazy here. What is happening? People are singing this like nuts and it's only 44 on the charts. I don't even have a record deal yet," Rice says. "This is the first time I've seen that since then. There's really something special happening with 'Drinkin' Beer. Talkin' God. Amen.'"
Now, Rice is releasing an acoustic version of The Album on Tuesday, is gearing up to go on tour, and is focused on writing music for his next project, which will feature many songs he penned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The song level is just another thing," Rice says, hinting at his next body of work. "I think it's because I am actually writing songs I lived in Tennessee, lived while I was off and not on the road, so I actually have some real stuff to write about as opposed to just trying to write a hit."
Of course, he wants to enjoy the success of The Album, but he says he feels confident in the completed project and is ready to move on to the next chapter, "whatever that may look like."
"It's been a long journey," Rice says. "I loved all of these songs so much and wanted to get them out. These songs all fit so perfectly together because they didn't have anywhere else to fit, really. It's a perfect time to wrap it up, be done with it, and hopefully end with a No. 1 song in Drinkin' Beer. Talkin' God. Amen."
The Album is available for streaming now.