People have so many differing opinions on Morgan Wallen, but one thing’s inarguable: He’s captured something special in the heart of mainstream country music fans.
His new album (double album) Dangerous, is the hottest thing in country music right now, breaking Luke Combs’ streaming records all over the place. And while the songwriting is better than most of what you hear in the mainstream, many of the songs on the new album are just too “pop” sounding for the more traditional country lovers to enjoy. That has been, and will continue to be, the biggest gripe about Morgan with traditional country fans… production.
Enter the Dangerous Session.
The mega-star in the making sat down to record stripped-down versions of some of the album’s biggest hits and, honestly, they’re so much better than some of the the pop-leaning album cuts. Taking the fluff out, removing the trap beats and snap tracks, breaking out the acoustic guitars and just letting Morgan sing is the real show of his talent as an artist and performer.
Does stripping it down to the bare bones make you a country music superstar? Probably not. Does that pop-production expand Morgan’s audience and give him the opportunity for radio hit after radio hit? Definitely.
And Morgan himself even admitted that there is a danger in teasing a demo of a song and the studio version not living up to the fans’ expectations, but either way, I’m not alone in this.
I’m really hoping we get one of my personal favorites from the album, “865,” as he’s been putting out one or two a day for a couple days now, but only time will tell.
In the meantime, here’s a handful of songs to illustrate what we’re talking about:
Full disclosure, this wasn’t my favorite when I first heard it off the album, but that completely changed when the drum loop and synthetic snaps were taken off in favor of this acoustic approach.
“Sand In My Boots”
So far this has been the biggest winner of the non-pre-released songs. Fans quickly compared the story (and kind of the melody) to a modern-day “Anything But Mine,” and while the production on this one isn’t bad, Morgan brings the already nostalgic song to another level with this solo performance on keys.
Wasted on You
This is where the magic of the Dangerous Sessions is exemplified. “Wasted on You” is a straight-up pop song on the album, but here, we get the opposite. I mean, it’s not Tyler Childers, but come on, this performance really shows off Morgan’s voice better than just any other song on the album.
“Still Goin Down”
Morgan admitted that the song is intentionally cliché as all getup, but once again, it’s hard for me to get past thr production and into the catchy melody. When you strip it down to acoustic instruments, I find it way more enjoyable.
And while not part of the Dangerous Sessions, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his acoustic cover of Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up.” It’s DAMN good.