By Emma Duncan and Chloe Coleman--Eagle Staff Writers
If just one album wasn’t enough, Morgan Wallen gave listeners 15 more songs to jam to on Jan. 8, 2021.
To begin the second part of this country double feature, listeners hear “Still Goin Down”, a song about staying true to your roots no matter what people say about you. If fans couldn’t already tell, Wallen is quite the country boy, and “Still Goin Down” definitely proves that when he sings “For some folks a back road gets old, But for me, it just can't”. This song can put anyone in a dancing mood, especially Wallen himself, who hasn’t been afraid to do a little partying during the pandemic.
“Rednecks, Red Letters, Red Dirt” is another song about Wallen’s country background. Even though he’s spent most of his time in the spotlight, whether that be in the studio, at award shows, or at parties, Wallen will always miss “what (he) grew up with”. That being, “Rednecks, red letters, red dirt, One light, one bar, one church, Where the Lord gets thanked and the shine gets drank, While an out back brush pile burns”. This track is significantly softer than its predecessor, but is still capable of becoming a big hit due to the relatable lyrics and catchy tune.
17 songs in, and the moment fans had been waiting on for months finally arrived: the “oohs” of title track “Dangerous” were beginning to play. This highly anticipated song was worth the wait, as its upbeat sound and fast paced lyrics catch the attention of a wide range of listeners. However, the acoustic version of this song, posted to Wallen’s Instagram page, is preferred by many due to it’s “real” country vibe.
To me, “Dangerous” was a little overproduced, and sounded too much like a poppy rap track you would hear at a club. This definitely sets the song apart from the rest of the album, but only because it doesn’t sound like it belongs in a country album. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter whether someone prefers “pop” country, “real” country, pop, or a little bit of rap doesn’t matter, as music lovers of any genre are going to be singing along to “Dangerous” in no time.
Keeping to his rock-country habits, Wallen continues Dangerous: The Double Album with “Beer Don't”. Similar to the sound of fellow superstar Luke Combs, this song features a heavy drum, bass, and rock guitar presence.
“Beer Don’t” is an abstract song, as many lyrics, including “Map dot, southern rock, buckshot, stop sign, Grizz pack, mantle rack, channel cat, trot line” are harder to explain; however, the chorus clearly explains Wallen’s feelings about alcohol, the best places to drink it, and what it does. Even though it isn’t the best option, it’s clear beer is always there for Wallen, unlike people, when he sings “just remember when you think the world hates ya Beer don’t.” This song was truly made for Wallen, as it combines southern boy attitude with party flair.
The fun continues with “Blame It on Me”, a 2 minute 43 second dance party featuring guitars, drums, and a feel-good attitude. Wallen lists different scenarios that he probably caused in a girl’s life after their fling, such as “If them school boys ain’t got no luck ‘cause you start turning your nose up At them downtown lights ‘cause they ain’t your kind of view”. When he moves into the chorus, it’s evident he had an imprint on said mystery girl, causing her to only want to be with country boys. With lyrics that bring smiles to faces, music causing people to get up and dance, and a singer who melts the hearts of hundreds of girls, “Blame It on Me” was made for late night dancing.
Speaking of the Morgan Wallen fangirl army, “Somethin' Country”, a song where Wallen wants to ride off into the southern sunset with a pretty girl from a bar, is most likely their favorite song. In the chorus, Wallen wants to “ditch this hole in the wall, Mix some sticks with a fifth of homemade alcohol, (and) Disappear somewhere with a lower population”. That means he wants to leave the bright lights and go to the country for a night under the stars, which is almost every country girl’s idea of a dream date, making this song an obvious hit.
Bars have been a recurring topic in Dangerous: The Double Album, so it’s no surprise “This Bar” was included as the 22nd track of this album. This song is a lot simpler than other tracks, as no one instrument overpowers the rest of the band, giving a breath of fresh air to this loud and crazy double album. Released on Dec. 30, 2019, “This Bar” tells the story of Wallen’s first time in a bar.
Now, whether or not this was truly his “first time” at a bar is questionable, but for legal reasons, he had never experienced this kind of night before his 21st birthday. In the song, Wallen shares that while he had both good and bad experiences in this place, he wouldn’t trade it for the world, as “(he) found (himself) in this bar”.
Wallen’s young but successful musical career seems to be nothing short of perfect, but personally, he hasn't been shy of controversy, as he faced criticism for partying at bars without a mask during the pandemic. His partying behavior can be seen throughout the album, but especially in songs like “Country *** ****”.
This song, like “Rednecks, Red Letters, Red Dirt,” is about Wallen being done with everyday city life, as Wallen sings, “Ain’t much country *** left in these old blue jeans”. Wallen wants to go where he fits in: a small Tennessee town full of childhood friends with a place to fish and time to relax. The music of this track keeps to his feelings, as it sounds much more “downhome and country” than other songs.
As mentioned above, Wallen loves to fish. He is constantly posting pictures of him out on the water, and even sang about taking a girl fishing in “Whatcha Know 'Bout That”, a song from his freshman album “If I Know Me”. Similar to that song from April of 2019, “Whatcha Think of Country Now” is also on the rock side of country and has practically the same meaning.
In this track, Wallen is out with a girl from the city and wants to impress her with his southern background. In the chorus he sings “Halfway down your first country mile, You called your mama said, "It's gonna be a while, ha, Didn't think way out was your style, But now you know what it's about, Whatcha think of country now” which signifies he was successful. Like a majority of Dangerous: The Double Album, this song is perfect to sing at the top of your with friends while dancing the night away.
If Wallen wasn’t having enough fun already, “Me On Whiskey” just adds to his good time. In this song, he’s trying to convince a girl to ditch their dinner plans with him for a more exciting evening by singing, “I guarantee best times tend to be, With you on wine, and me on whiskey”. This song is slower than any other track on the album, adding some romance to this overwhelmingly heartbreak centered album.
As Dangerous: The Double Album isn’t one to keep with trends, this next track, “Need a Boat” ditches the need of neither a girl or alcohol, but instead, the great outdoors. In the chorus Wallen sings, “what I need right now Is some roddin' and some reelin, first catch feeling, Praying to the man for some muddy water healing” to describe his longing for the open water. This song is a complete switch from “Me on Whiskey”, as its tempo is much faster and the music is easier to dance along to.
When moving into the chorus, Wallen sings of the advertisement he dreams of using to attract just the right buyer. Wallen says that “This truck will get the prettiest girl in town Sittin' right beside you when you're ridin' around, It's got a pretty good radio If you wanna get her dancin' down an old dirt road” before singing about a young teenage boy who he hopes to sell this truck to. Out of every song on this album, “Silverado for Sale” is probably the most heartwarming track, making it stand out amongst the loneliness and heartbreak of Dangerous.
Track 28, Diplo and Wallen’s “Heartless (Wallen Album Mix)”, was one of the most popular musical partnerships of 2020, and for more reasons than one. This song is incredibly relatable, has a powerful sound, and features strong vocals from none other than Wallen himself. When he sings “Leave me in the darkness, Never finished what we started, Girl why you gotta be so heartless,” Wallen really gets into the music and becomes one with his lyrics.
“Livin' the Dream” is another song Wallen released early, and doing so seems to have been the right move. “When he released ‘Somebody’s Problem’, ‘Still Goin Down’, and ‘Livin’ the Dream’ in November, all three hit the RS 100, and the double LP broke country records for Apple Music Pre-Adds week after week,” according to Emily Blake from Rolling Stone. Obviously, these three songs are important, but “Livin’ the Dream” holds a special place in Wallen’s and his fans’ hearts alike, as this is the first time we’ve heard about Wallen’s feelings towards being in the spotlight. In this song, he sings about seeing a stranger in the mirror while trying to keep his “rockstar” persona, which is something most all singers feel, but don’t regularly share.
Lastly, listeners hear “Quittin' Time”, a collaboration between Wallen and one of his idols Eric Church. “In the past, Morgan has called Eric the greatest country music artist that’s ever lived”, according to Wes Langeler from Whiskey Riff, so this was obviously a huge moment in his career. While Church doesn’t sing in this track about letting go, his lyrical talent is exceptionally present when Wallen sings the chorus: “Time to pack it in and stay down, Pack it up and walk away now, And give it one more day or call it a season, I can tell by the tears not in your eyes, It's quittin' time”. “Quittin’ Time” is just the right song for anyone needing help coping with a break up, or just wanting to get in their feels with some good music.
There are many words one could use to describe Dangerous. According to Jon Pareles from the New York Times, this album is about “Whiskey. Bourbon. Beer. Tequila. Pickup trucks. Bars with jukeboxes. Boots. Rivers. Starry skies. A small-town Southern drawl. And a lot of girls: in bars, in trucks, in boots, by rivers, under starry skies and very fond of a drawl.”
Personally, I couldn’t agree more, but I would add one other descriptor: Diverse.
Throughout this second album, Wallen transitions between “traditional” country sounds to a more pop or even rock backing track. The heavy use of electric guitars, drums, and bass in songs such as “Warning”, “Still Goin’ Down”, and “Livin’ the Dream” compared to the simpler, slower, acoustic sound of “Somebody’s Problem”, “Cover Me Up”, and “Quittin’ Time” allow for a wide array of listeners.
The tone of this album is also diverse. While a majority of Dangerous relates to reminiscing on past flings and getting over breakups, songs like “Need a Boat” are scattered throughout to add an upbeat mood to this album.
While some wish Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album would have been a straight party for 30 songs, that isn’t what Wallen’s life represents. Just like everyone, he goes through hard times and deep down, just wants to be accepted and loved for who he is. Wallen's comfort and ability to share his feelings is what makes this album what it is, and proves he is in for a dangerously bright future.