The young country singer Morgan Wallen leans into Shakira’s words from when he was on The Voice: “As manly as it gets.”
The album, produced by a team including Dave Cohen, Charlie Handsome, and Joey Moi, and released by labels Big Loud and Republic, is the second studio album from the singer. It features a whopping 30 tracks, marketed as a “double album” and comprises approximately 97 minutes. The album was released Jan. 8, 2021 and debuted at #1 on the Country Albums charts on the Billboard 200. In its first week, it sold approximately 265,000 units.
Wallen has really grown into his persona as the young country boy of the month. He, like many young aspiring country singers, may come and go but Wallen’s album may actually stand the test of time. His predecessors, the likes of Hunter Hayes and those types, are no longer in the public vogue of course. Wallen has a particular charm that leads me to think he may stick around longer than they did.
The Tennessee native takes the clichés of Nashville’s Music Row and breathes some new life into them. In country music, we all know the tired tropes of “my wife left me, and she took the truck and the dog,” or “my husband cheated on me, so I took the truck and the dog.” Wallen aims for a softer side of country music with songs like “865” and “Whiskey’d My Way.” Even with the intimacy of these songs, they work just as well to a crowd of thousands which is their real staying power. The production value from Joey Moi is what makes each track really shine. That being said, Wallen does have the obligatory “I love my truck so much” song in the form of “Silverado for Sale.” However, it brings a fresh set of ears to the old truck ballad.
As a singer-songwriter, Wallen does a good job of making you feel the poetry in his lyrics. He brings facets from his own life into the lyrical content which is something that can be very difficult to do convincingly. Waller leans into wordplay much like any non-musical poet. This is only assisted by the various lush piano portions on the album. He also displays the wit common with poets like Shakespeare making for some comical instances of wordsmithing.
Wallen blends elements not usually found in country music with the more traditional guitar and reel style of playing. He utilizes elements from the glam rock of the ‘80s including brazen synths and booming drum solos, especially in the album’s title track. The influences of other more widely popular artists are clear.
Wallen plays to the intimate desires of his listeners. He is beginning to master the tricks of the songwriting masters like Taylor Swift. It requires a certain level of vulnerability that Wallen is quickly discovering in his own artistic adventure. “Dangerous: The Double Album” receives a B-plus rating.