Album Review: Dan + Shay - “Dan + Shay”

With simple artwork and simple storytelling, "Dan + Shay" is the record Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have been building to and truly represents who they are as a duo.

All you have to do to know if Dan + Shay are about the music is to look at the artwork for the album (below). White background, black lettering. No glossy photos. No busy text or even a wordy title or even an album title. In many ways, it looks like the “white label” review copies labels used to send out and/or give to tastemakers. This album is Dan + Shay. This is who they are and six years into their career together (since the release of “19, You & Me” and the album Where It All Began).

If you look at the list of strong vocalists in modern country music, Shay Mooney would be near the very top (if not on the top). Joined by Dan Smyers, the producer/musician half of this duo, Dan+Shay HAVE landed on who they are as a duo in 2018. Driven by simple piano, “Tequila” builds as it goes along with Shay singing lyrics which talk about the way Tequila brings back memories of days gone by. The song has worked out to be the their breakout hit with mainstream pop audiences. There’s only one song on the record not written by one or both of Dan + Shay and that’s the soulful throwback ballad “What Keeps You Up At Night.”

Standouts on the album include “Keeping Score,” a song they recorded with Kelly Clarkson. This song, which isn’t a traditional duet, is nonetheless a brilliantly written song in which the couple within the narration which is all about the less quantifiable things and all about experiences with the one(s) you love. “Speechless” is the without a doubt the best song on a strong project. Shay’s vocals in the verses are tender and oozing with romantic charisma while the chorus proclaims why he’s so in love with the woman of his dream.
The midtempo vibes of “Stupid Love,” the traditional country feel of the romantic “My Side Of The Fence,” the modern production touches of "All To Myself" and “No such Thing” also showcase the diversity of Dan+Shay as a duo and an album while “Alone Together,” is a smash hit summertime hit waiting to happen.

If there was ever an album released in country music that is going to take any artist to the A-list of the entire music world, it will be this, Dan+Shay’s self-titled third album.