Dan + Shay : Bigger Houses Review
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts through the room as I slide my headphones over my ears, gearing up for a melodious journey with Dan + Shay’s new album, Bigger Houses. As the crackling anticipation hangs in the air, I can’t help but ponder: Can an artist—especially a duo like Dan + Shay, who almost called it quits—navigate the labyrinth of reinvention without losing their essence?
With a decade of artistry in the rearview mirror, Dan + Shay are seasoned wanderers in the landscape of country-pop. They’ve been to the Grammys, friends; they’ve serenaded love and lamented heartbreak. Their influences—think Keith Urban with a sprinkle of Rascal Flatts—have painted their sonic palette with vibrant hues. But the question that whispers from the shadows of their previous works like Where It All Began, and Good Things is, can they metamorphose without alienating their core sound?
The album in question, Bigger Houses, unravels as expected, interwoven with threads of pop, electronica, and R&B, while maintaining patches of their more traditional country roots. It’s like finding an old photograph in a book you’ve just opened; the past and the present mingling in a delicate balance. Can we talk about how they’ve managed to craft songs that are both time capsules and telescopes peering into the future?
Let’s not dilly-dally, dive with me into the standout tracks, shall we?
Imagine you’re walking into a country bar; the air is thick with nostalgia and yearning. “Save Me The Trouble” is the song that would be playing. With a standout line like “Oh, we’re already playing with fire / Said that you had to go about an hour ago / Baby, you’re such a beautiful liar,” the song is a rich journey through the duo’s vocal performance and delightful hooks. These hooks not only serve as earworms but also as snapshots of the emotional spectrum that Dan + Shay excel at, a point that’s consistent across tracks like “Heartbreak On The Map,” “Heaven + Back,” and “Always Gonna Be.”
Starting off with a contemplative piano, “We Should Get Married” soon catapults us into a honky-tonk universe of jubilant rhythms and infectious hooks. It’s like taking that leap of faith in love—first hesitant, then all-in. The song pulls off an intricate balancing act, oscillating between moods, while the band performs complex fills that act like joyous exclamations in a grand narrative. A fundamental change adds a dynamic shift, as if raising a toast to the eternal rollercoaster that is love.
The album explores diverse themes—from romance and heartbreak to appreciating the small moments in life. This variety keeps the album fresh, even though it sometimes leads to inconsistencies. The writing is generally solid, echoing what the band already does best. The duo’s roots in country music are present, but the elements of pop are more fluid than ever in this album and are brought to the fore. Despite this evolution, the core elements that I’ve come to love about the band are still recognizable. The production, mix, and instrumentals are generally good, although there’s room for improvement.
Here’s what’s captivating: the album embraces you, taking you on an emotional sojourn where you explore the valleys and peaks of relationships and personal growth. And ah, those harmonies! Dan + Shay possess that uncanny ability to have their voices melt into each other like two colors on a canvas, producing an enchanting yet soul-stirring blend. Bigger Houses delivers the emotional punch Dan + Shay are known for. Whether it’s the romantic overtones, themes of heartbreak, or songs that make you reflect on life, the album offers a variety of emotional narratives.
To say that Bigger Houses is a pivotal chapter in Dan + Shay’s narrative wouldn’t be an exaggeration. This album reflects their journey as musicians and human beings navigating life’s twisty paths. If you’ve been sleeping on this duo, consider this album your wake-up call. It’s a must-listen for longtime fans and newcomers alike, encapsulating the essence of what makes Dan + Shay a remarkable act in the pop-country scene.
Dan + Shay
September 15, 2023
Warner Music Nashville LLC