Album Review: Morgan Wallen's 'Dangerous' (Part 1)
By Chloe Coleman and Emma Duncan--Eagle Staff Writers
On Jan. 8, 2021, Morgan Wallen released his long awaited Dangerous: The Double Album. What started off as a few demos on Tiktok and Instagram has now turned into a country music phenomenon, breaking records only a day after publishing.
According to Lorie Hollabaugh in an article for Music Row, “Dangerous set the record at Apple Music for the biggest first day and biggest first week country album of all-time on the platform. After becoming the most pre-added country album in Apple Music history, Dangerous currently sits atop their Overall Albums charts in the U.S., Canada and Australia, while simultaneously staking its claim as the No.1 Top Country Album in 62 countries worldwide.”
On the day of Dangerous’ release, Wallen compiled acoustic versions of several songs from the album into what he called The Dangerous Sessions. These versions reveal Wallen’s connections to songs like “Wasted On You” due to his mannerisms while performing, giving this album even more character.
Hollabaugh wrote that in addition to these surprise performances, “Wallen (took) the stage for his first-ever headline show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for a full band, livestream concert. Wallen (played) selections from the all-new double album, inviting fans worldwide to celebrate Dangerous on his Facebook and YouTube pages.”
Wallen uses two different tones in this album, switching between a rowdy, partying, small-town boy and a man longing for love and reminiscing former flings.
To begin the album, Wallen sings about meeting a girl he thinks is the one, but their good time ends in nothing in “Sand In My Boots”. This song uses a lot of piano, which makes it an interesting introduction to a country album. However, it keeps its country grit while telling an emotional story about dreaming of something that could have been.
Next, “Wasted On You” tells of love that was wasted on a person who left. This track uses enough bass to make it an amazing song to blast in your car after a heartbreak--and has quickly become a fan favorite.
“Somebody's Problem” was released as a single on Nov. 20, 2020. “Somebody’s Problem”, is a track that can be interpreted in different ways. However, my personal opinion is that this song shows the versatility of one person, and how one person can be many things to many people. He paints this picture well by singing “Somebody’s best day, Somebody’s worst night, Somebody’s reason for leaving on the porch light.” This song is similar to those by country music legends Jon Pardi and Blake Shelton.
“More Surprised Than Me” is a romantic, feel-good track. No matter the thoughts of other people, Wallen still cannot fathom being with this person, as their appearances don’t seem to match. It takes a happier perspective on showing someone you don’t deserve them, which makes it more of a cheerful song and something that you could play for your lover.
The next song on the track list, “865”, is named after the area code for Knoxville, Tennessee, which neighbors Wallen’s hometown of Sneedville. This song captures the feeling of longing for someone with lyrics like “Girl, just pick it up and come over, Give the bedroom door a little closure.” “865” is a heartbreak anthem for anyone missing someone who might not miss them back.
Track 6 is “Warning”, which Wallen describes to spotify as “more on the progressive side of the record.” A personal favorite of mine, this song definitely uses a lot more bass than many other songs on the record. Some country fans might not enjoy that, but he combined the bass with more than enough country aspects to keep the country twang he is known for. “Warning” is just too good not to like, regardless of how “country” it may be.
A less progressive track, “Neon Eyes” is more of a classic country song. It tells a story of how Wallen left a relationship in a metaphorical manner, using lyrics such as “I know right now you think this is it but I'm gonna leave you with neon eyes.” This track is the type of song to listen to when driving fast down to an old back road with the windows rolled down. “Neon Eyes” is a total ear-worm, with the way Wallen sings the chorus, it’s still stuck in my head long after listening.
Track 8, “Outlaw,” includes a feature from hit songwriter Ben Burgess. Burgess has written and helped write songs such as Wallen’s breakout hit “Whiskey Glasses”, “Chillin’ in the Summertime” by the Jonas Brothers, and “There for You” by Martin Garrix and Troye Sivan.
“Outlaw” is about a so-called good girl stealing the heart of a bad boy. The duo sings, “I can't believe you came after me with the crazy reputation that I have”, and “Bang, bang, baby, that sweet smile hit me like Lightin', ain't tryna fight it” to tell the story of someone falling in love with someone when it might seem impossible. Burgess was a good addition to the song, making “Outlaw” stand out amongst other songs on the album.
The love in “Outlaw” only lasted for so long, as “Whiskey’d My Way” is yet another breakup song. However, what happened after the breakup is questionable. One could think it's a moving-on song, where Wallen finally got over the person he loved. On the contrary, it could be seen as a man using alcohol to cope instead of actually facing his issues. However you take the song, it’s definitely a proper country track with an interesting title and double meaning.
If this album couldn’t get any better, “Wonderin’ Bout The Wind” is one of the best written and poetic songs on the record. The lyrics “When it’s here, it’s here, and when it’s gone, it’s gone” and “By the time I pushed off, she already caught sail”, make a great comparison of how this mystery girl and the wind both come and go unexpectedly. Wallen paints this beautiful but heartbreaking painting in only three minutes and two seconds, leaving many wanting more.
“Your Bartender” tells a story of desperation and heartbreak. It also discusses a dream, a Bible, and a car. What do all of these objects have in common? Well, they are things Wallen wishes he could be in this song in order to regain his ex’s affections. This song is perfect for anyone who has ever messed up in a relationship before, ending up with them losing the person they loved. “Your Bartender” is yet another catchy song on this oh-so-addictive album.
Continuing the emotional and heartbroken mood of Wallen’s previous songs, “Only Thing That’s Gone” features Grammy winner Chris Stapleton. Wallen and Stapleton created an impressive and catchy track. This track is about Wallen reminiscing about his lover who just broke up with him and he uses the expression, “Cause buddy my last drink ain’t the only thing that's gone,” to show that his lover left him. Their voices mesh very well together, and this song is nothing less than a 10/10.
Wallen’s “Cover Me Up,” is actually a cover, as this song belongs to singer Jason Isbell. This song is one of the more emotional tracks of the album, and could bring tears from even the toughest listeners. “Cover Me Up” captures the beauty of a love strengthening over time, no matter the consequences. If even possible, Wallen has added more magic to this track.
A song that was initially released on Aug. 14, 2020, “7 Summers”, makes for the 14th track on this record. This song has the ability to take you back in time to a great summer love, and if you haven’t experienced it before, shows you what you’re looking forward to. “7 Summers” has the vibe of Eric Church’s “Springsteen”, and with Wallen’s modern twist, is a nostalgic, country masterpiece.
The fifteenth track, “More Than My Hometown”, is a good closure to the first half of Dangerous. This small town anthem is the perfect song to listen to when you want to think about your roots. All together, this wrapped up the first half of the album well.
The best way to describe the first part of the album is nostalgic. With tunes like, “7 Summers”, and “Sand in my Boots”, these songs really know how to take you back. Piper Westrom wrote for riffmagazine.com, “Country listeners will eat this up, but the album may connect with others,” and I think this is a perfect explanation for the first half of the album. It combines country and pop in a way that could reach non-country audiences, bringing more listeners into the community.
But this isn’t all that Wallen has to offer. Dangerous is a double album, with fifteen more tracks on the record. Wallen definitely isn’t finished making music, and I’m excited to see what this breakout star has to offer.