Wallen fans obsess over highly anticipated 36-song album: Country star’s newest double-album provides a sound for all


Photo by Ali Smith at Key Bank Pavillion July 2022

Ali Smith, Arts and Leisure Editor

Erie, Pa, March 16, 2023 — I can’t believe it’s that time again.

Two years ago in January, I reviewed every single song on Morgan Wallen’s first studio double album “Dangerous: The Double Album.”

I chose to do this in part, due to my obsession, but also because each song on that album deserved to be reviewed.

Since its release, Wallen has become increasingly popular, and after a summer of sold-out shows, he has proven himself as one of the greatest country artists and entertainers of this generation.

Perhaps of all time.

I was able to see him at Star Lake Pavilion this summer on his The Dangerous Tour. It was the greatest show I have ever been to. Surrounded by people who love country music and support Wallen as much as my friends and I do is a heartwarming feeling.

There is nothing quite like a country crowd.

To his newest work, though.

March 3rd, Wallen released his 36-song double album “One Thing at a Time.”

In a post from his Instagram story upon its release, Wallen shared that in this album, he had fun playing with different genres and subgenres of country music, which is evident in listening to his track list.

If I had to label the two sides to Wallen’s newest album, it would be heartbreak country on one hand and sick sounds on the other.

Some songs have been released as singles over the last year in anticipation of his third studio album like “Don’t Think Jesus” and “Thought you Should Know,” which I got to see live over the summer.

Newer singles from his “3 Songs at a Time Sampler” like “Last Night,” a strong beat about a toxic relationship, and “I Wrote the Book,” a song about Wallen’s stray from the Bible, captivated fans and excited them in anticipation of his full-album release.

Wallen is a lyrical genius, and this is best displayed through his sadder songs about the one that got away and his struggle with alcoholism.

No worries, though, we did not lose any songs about whiskey on Wallen’s journey to sobriety; he stayed true to his roots there.

Honorable mentions on this side of his skill set are “Good Girl Gone Missin’” and “Tennessee Numbers.”

Some of Wallen’s saddest songs, however, contain deep lyrics disguised by a happier beat, like the caribbean-summer feel of “Hope That’s True” and the nostalgic “Last Drive Down Main,” which is a star-song on the album.

For those who love the hip-hop influences in Wallen’s music, as seen in hits such as “Heartless” featuring Diplo and “Broadway Girls” featuring Lil Durk, this album does not fall short of hits to add to this side of his resume.

Most popular (so far) is “Thinkin’ Bout Me,” which chronicles a love who has moved on and played hard to get, but that Wallen still thinks has unresolved feelings for their relationship.

Similarly, “180 (Lifestyle)” has a hip-hop style which serves as a sequel to “Broadway Girls,” as Wallen talks about converting a “broadway city girl” into a “red dirt wild child.”

A perfect mix of both the sad-boy country and hip-hop beats is “Sunrise,” which sits thirteenth on the track list.

For features, Wallen invited ERNEST, HARDY and Eric Church to collab with him on his album, although ERNEST and HARDY are always a part of the songwriting process for Wallen’s work.

HARDY’s feature “In the Bible” gives a reminiscent 2016 Florida-Georgia Line true-country feel, which returns Wallen to the start of his fame.

ERNEST’s collab “Cowgirls” dedicates a wild country hip-hop track to Wallen’s biggest fanbase: self-proclaimed cowgirls like me.

I am so looking forward to catching sunrays on the beach to summer-time hits from the album like “Tennessee Fan,” “One Thing at A Time” and “Single Than She Was.”

As if I needed another reason to pray for summer and sunshine.

To end his momentous double-album, Wallen trades his “poor me,” “I will never change for better or worse” tone for a matured outlook.

No really- his second to last track is literally titled “Outlook.”

Here, he discusses changing his mindset from the devil being out to get him and drown him through alcoholism to “my outlook is someones up there looking down and looking out for me” in reference to his renewed faith.

This powerful message leads to the album’s finale “Dying Man,” which Wallen dedicated to his two-and-a-half-year-old son Indigo (Indie).

“Dying Man” forces Wallen to face the reality of the consequences of his fast-paced, whiskey-bound lifestyle, and how his son gave him a reason to live and change for the better.

The song discusses a woman, but at his album-release concert, Wallen revealed his son as his true inspiration.

“Codeine it got Elvis, whiskey it got Hank. I always thought something like that might send me on my way. But you took hold of me, like only a woman can. And gave one good reason to live to a set on dying man.”

This sweet tribute to his son is surely a hopeful way to end Wallen’s album and for all those rooting for his success and sobriety.

If I had to sum up this album’s contribution to country music and Wallen’s rap-sheet in five words, it would be: this man does not miss.