Sam Hunt is embracing the power of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and blissful nostalgia in the music video for his new single, "23."

The clip features three exhausted individuals winding down after a long day. They appear caught up in a life devoid of the spark of youth and young love, but this changes when each of them puts on their powerful VR headset. Instantaneously, time rewinds as they relive a vibrant time in their youth that brimmed with romance and big dreams — something that had faded with age and time.

"No matter where I go, no matter what I do / I'll never be 23, with anyone but you / You can marry who you want / Go back to Tennessee / But you'll never be 23 with anyone but me / We'll always have Folly Beach / We'll always have Delta nights / We'll always be in between real love and real life," Hunt sings in the breezy chorus against a picturesque sunset.

Last month, Hunt shared an acoustic performance video of "23," which he recorded at Nashville’s historic Ocean Way Studio:

Penned by ​​Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Chris LaCorte, "23" is the first new single since the singer’s sophomore album, Southside, which dropped last year. The 12-track record spawned the singles "Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90’s," "Hard to Forget," "Kinfolks," "Downtown’s Dead" and the smash hit "Body Like a Back Road."

In August of this year, Hunt also collaborated with "More Hearts Than Mine" singer Ingrid Andress for their genre-blurring "sad bop," "Wishful Drinking."

Best Country Albums of 2021 - Critic's Pick

There have been many creative country albums in 2021, but not all have hit the mark. Artists are more than ever toying with distribution methods and packaging as much as they are new sounds, so you get double and triple albums, Part 1 and Part 2, and digital EPs in lieu of a traditional 10 or 11-song release.

The bar for an EP on this list of the best country albums of 2021 is higher than an LP, but one project did crack the Top 10. Too much music proved to dampen other artist's efforts, although Alan Jackson's first album in years was filled with country music we couldn't turn away from. Where Have You Gone has 21 songs, but somehow no filler.

More than ever, this relied on staff opinion and artistic merit to allow for some parity among major label artists and independents. The 10 albums listed below are not ranked, although the year-end list published in the fall will crown a true best album of 2021.

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