Upon hitting the market in 2016 Obsessed was instantly one of the top country/pop albums of the last decade. Blending themes of summer time and love, the album had something for all types of country/pop fans. Two years later the dynamic duo of Dan + Shay have brought forth another magical creation full of soul and gorgeous harmonies.
This self-titled album release is “country”, but its content provides listeners with much more. The album itself is more easy-listening than the last, blending pop, soul and country.
“Tequila”, a pre-released pop tune, makes strong use of acoustic guitars and soft background vocals. It is definitely odd that the alcohol stabilizes the memory of a girl in a “sorority t-shirt”. Nevertheless, the rhythm is smooth and the choruses each carry something unique.
Two specific songs in the soul department are well deserving of recognition. “Keeping Score” (featuring Kelly Clarkson) has magical harmonies that broadway stages could only dream of. Its message, “I know I’m only human/ Don’t know how many sunsets I got left”, reminds audiences to stay in the present and cherish who we have in our lives. Tambourines and keyboard underscores set steady beats in the verses and enable the three artists to catapult up the vocal scale in the choruses. “Speechless” is another soulful track blending jazzy snaps with steel and electric guitars. Dan and Shay spend the verses matching notes on different octaves and the choruses with Jersey Boys-like harmonizing.
With its energetic, drum-heavy tracks like “Alone Together” and “Make or Break” the duo gets listeners to crank up the volume and rock out on any road trip or dance floor. These tracks are significantly different from the rest of the songs on the album. They give it some edge and energy that ran rampant throughout their last album, but ran dry in this one.
While there aren’t any songs below the Dan + Shay standard, some of the tracks sound too similar. Specifically, “Stupid Love” and “No Such Thing” both have synthesized beginnings with similar beats and harmonies. Now I know what you may be thinking. Yes, I did say that there are three different genres mixed into this album. But, three genres that are in proximity with each other can sound very repetitive. A majority of the 11 songs have similar energy levels, instrument usages and harmonies. On the faster tracks, we hear the dominance of the drums. For the smoother songs, it’s the steel/acoustic guitars with breathy vocals.
It would have been nice to hear a bit more diversity among the songs. Nonetheless, this album is perfect for virtually any kind of environment.
Country I Warner Music Nashville