I’m listening to the new Morgan Wallen album. I didn’t have a hankering desire, but after listening to Justin Bieber’s comeback single, “Anyone,” which is a return to form, I went to the Spotify chart, the only one that counts, contrary to the wankers at “Billboard” and their supporters in the major label universe, spreading their disinformation crippling the public with “false facts” while the truth goes unknown. And Morgan Wallen dominates the United States Top 50. He’s got twenty two of the fifty, in fact.
I was on some playlist dominated by hip-hop/pop and there were two country tracks, I thought the Luke Combs one was serviceable, but the Morgan Wallen one was excellent, which is why I decided to check out his new project “Dangerous: The Double Album,” and yes it is, a double, with THIRTY SONGS. In an era of singles this is positively retro, knowing right up front that the majority of the tracks will slip through the cracks of recognition, but he wanted to do what he wanted to do, which is the essence of the rock and roll spirit, the one that broke open the music business before every sad still alive classic rocker sold their publishing. First rule of life, INVEST IN YOURSELF! I’ll leave it at that. Other than to say these companies wouldn’t be paying so much if they didn’t think the songs were worth the money.
So what do I know about Morgan Wallen? He broke Covid rules and got bumped from SNL. Although he did get a return performance, not that I watched, why?
But the buzz finally got to me, I decided to check his music out. In principle I had no interest, guy with a mullet who competed on a TV singing show…then again, he is the first “Voice” contestant to become a star. Needless to say, Wallen didn’t win, because these shows are not about the music and a voice is just part of success and most people thought Wallen would flop anyway, but he didn’t. I listened to the hits, I got why he was successful.
So, I was upgrading my laptop to Big Sur, I’d done my iMac a couple of weeks back, as soon as they had the first update, I always wait until the guinea pigs note all the problems, and once they’re fixed, I dive in. However, Big Sur is a bigger change than I anticipated, I needed a manual, which I got, but that’s another post. And I wanted to finish said manual before I updated my MacBook Pro, if for no other reason than I wanted to continue to be able to compare my old settings with my new ones. And it takes approximately half an hour to download the software and another half hour to install it and during that time I started to deal with the plethora of e-mail while I listened to the new Morgan Wallen album. And I was positively STUNNED, it was LISTENABLE!
Admit it, most stuff you immediately want to take off. I guess this makes me a rocker. Yup, listen to Tim Pierce on that Rick Beato clip. But still, I’ve been burned out on recent country too, it shoots too low, the lyrical tropes, it’s too formula, but somehow this Wallen album was working for me, but I wasn’t paying deep attention, but the fact that I could continue to listen was out of the ordinary.
And then I got stuck on this song “Outlaw,” only number seven of the thirty, but it had hooks, I decided to look up the reviews. THEY HATED IT!
I knew they would. Especially “Rolling Stone.” Then again, the magazine’s price went through the stratosphere and the news went behind a paywall online and it has become marginalized. But the superiority of the magazine remains intact, when it’s not kissing old ass.
And the review talked about all the clichés, it was a joke to the writer. But I was loving listening to it. That’s the first criterion for hit music, it must be LISTENABLE! Which is why you check out highly reviewed work and frown, it might be good on paper, but it’s a lousy listening experience.
And the more I researched, the more negative stuff I found.
But this song “Outlaw,” I decided to play it again.
It’s not about the vocal, it’s not about the lyrics, it’s about the PLAYING! Yup, the guitars. They stick out and embed themselves in your brain.
But it gets better, the chorus is incredibly hooky, in a way that seems lost on Active Rock, with the aforementioned guitarwork included… “Outlaw” has got changes.
“Used to be you’d see my face on wanted posters all over this town”
An overused concept, then again, isn’t “Midnight Rider” a classic? Not that “Outlaw” is “Midnight Rider,” but I make my point.
“For leading lovers on until the dawn, just ridin’ in and rollin’ out”
A player. At least he admits it.
But then comes the pre-chorus, a lost art in today’s rock music:
“I never thought I’d get caught
Yeah, at least that’s what I thought”
And there’s even a bridge!
“I was wild as a West Texas wind
Wild as a cowboy’s ever been”
Pre-chorus, bridge…aren’t these the building blocks the Beatles rode to success?
“‘Til you rolled in like Annie Oakley with them guns blazin’
Bang bang baby, them blue eyes got me like Take me in, lock me up, tell all them boys not to save me”
Sure, you can label the foregoing pedestrian, but it sounds so GOOD! With the descending notes.
“Lightnin’, ain’t trying to fight it
Stole this heart, ain’t that the truth
Guess that makes you an outlaw too
Mmm, yes it does baby”
They’re in it TOGETHER! Wanna get laid tonight? Pay attention to the women tipping their beers, with their faces pointing to the sky as they sing along.
Not that “Outlaw” is wimpy.
Not that it’s “Revolution.”
But sometimes you have to get back to the garden, sometimes you lose the formula and get so far off track that you can’t get back to where you once belonged. And I haven’t listened all the way through, but to the degree I’m in I’m TWO THUMBS UP on “Dangerous: The Double Album.” It’s something I want to play and play again.
And yes, rockers will be bugged by the vocal. But at least Wallen isn’t singing about babies, trucks and church, at least not on this track.
So, you can sit on your high horse, with your experience, believing you know all, but then why aren’t you lighting up the chart? If you’re happy where you are, that’s fine with me, but if you’re jealous…JOIN THE PARTY! Wallen has shown you how to do it. It’s simple, yet not so easily replicated. You want to create magic that reaches listeners, not intermediaries, not critics, at this point even radio isn’t that important. It’s about the relationship between an act and its fans, who are dying to spread the word on anything they believe in.
I’m not sure if I believe in Morgan Wallen, but I’m telling you about it, because I can’t listen to only the oldies, I’m dying for something new, and you just might like it too.