Album Review: Dan + Shay’s ‘Obsessed’
“Our fans know we live on social media both when we’re in and out of the studio, and we started noticing the hashtag #obsessed being tagged in all our fans’ posts when we first revealed our single ‘From the Ground Up,'” Shay Mooney explains. “So when it came time to pick a title for this album, it seemed pretty appropriate that we’re even more obsessed with making music for our fans than they are to hear it.”
Current single “From the Ground Up” anchors the album and Dan + Shay say it’s the most honest song on their release. Inspired by both Mooney and Smyers’ grandparents, who have been married for 65 years, “From the Ground Up” plays out like a romantic film. The song, co-written by Mooney, Smyers and Chris DeStefano, paints the picture of a couple hoping to build their lives and love like their grandparents’ long lasting marriage before them. Dan + Shay’s beautiful harmonies alongside a soaring string arrangement makes their single one of the standout moments on Obsessed.
Another highlight is the title track which is a throwback song that showcases sultry vocals and an impressive horn section. Unlike anything heard from Dan + Shay before, it’s a welcomed change to the band’s pop-country leaning sound. Music legend Jim Horn, who has been featured on recordings by Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Elton John and the Beatles, among others, assists on both baritone and alto saxophone while the percussion, trumpet and trombone accompaniment only add to the distinct track.
Songs like album opener “All Nighter” and “Road Trippin'” make Obsessed the perfect summer soundtrack while “How Not To” and “Lipstick” show the duo’s depth as songwriters and artists. Dan + Shay wrote “Lipstick” with Nicolle Galyon and it is one of the album’s more poignant moments. A unique storyline, “Lipstick” is about a girl getting ready to go out on a date. Post breakup, she is still heartbroken after saying goodbye to an ex and throughout the song she is giving herself a pep talk before putting herself back out there. “Even though she knows that it ain’t gonna fix it, she’s putting on her lipstick,” they sing.
Meanwhile “How Not To,” one of two tracks not written by the duo, is a memorable ballad about a man trying to forget about an ex while failing terribly. Everything he does has him thinking of her and the striking piano and soaring electric guitar help to further translate the poignancy of the song. It’s a relatable track we’ve all been through and Dan + Shay get this emotion across impeccably.
While sadness is featured throughout some tracks on Obsessed, “Already Ready” is a welcomed diversion as Mooney’s impressive rapid fire singing is showcased for the first time. The sexy song details a guy going to a party with his girl and as soon as they get there he’s ready to go, hoping to spend more alone time with his lucky lady.
Overall, Obsessed is a standout release that showcases Dan + Shay’s staying power as two of the most promising songwriters and performers in the genre. Their ability to translate the emotion in a song they didn’t write like “How Not To” is the sign of a true artist. Meanwhile, surprise moments like “Already Ready” and “Obsessed” demonstrate the duo’s versatility and ability to leap out of their comfort zone to try something new.