By Jasmine Lee
In a world that often urges us to reach for the stars, Dan + Shay's highly-anticipated fifth album, “Better Houses,” delivers a poignant reminder that true fulfillment lies not in grandeur, but in cherishing the precious moments and connections that already grace our lives.
The album by Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, professionally known as Dan + Shay, contains 12 tracks and was released on Sep.15. With emotional and personal experiences influencing the lyrics, instrumentals and seamless music-video visuals, Dan + Shay is known for their success in the pop-country genre.
The duo released six songs from the album a month early, including “Save Me The Trouble,” “Heartbreak On The Map,” “Always Gonna Be,” “For the Both of Us” and “Bigger Houses.”
The second song on the album, “Save Me The Trouble,” has already become popular amongst the public. According to Billboard, it was a “blistering performance,” and the track had the most adds (134) for the week on Country Radio, marking the duo's biggest career add day.
This album speaks to a broad audience, touching the hearts of hopeless romantics, those in love and even those experiencing heartbreak. Regardless of your relationship status, it promises to uplift your spirits and offer a fresh perspective on life.
Among my favorite songs on this album are “Save Me The Trouble,” “Always Gonna Be,” “For The Both of Us,” “We Should Get Married” and “Bigger Houses.”
What makes track two, “Save Me The Trouble,” so loveable are the crescendos in the vocals and instrumentals, as well as beautiful harmonies during the chorus, which make this song one of my favorites on the album. In this song, their voices resonate with a potent blend of power and emotion, evoking the very essence of country music.
The fourth track, “Always Gonna Be,” is a song that reads like a heartfelt declaration of love to its audience. The narrator eloquently expresses unwavering affection, drawing parallels between cherished aspects of life and the steadfastness of their love for a significant other. This lyrical promise assures that their feelings will endure, just like the constants in their life.
“For The Both of Us” is a song that will stir up romantic feelings and touch your heart in all the right places. It provides a cinematic experience for the listener as they follow the narrator in conversation with his future father-in-law, promising to treat his daughter well. Mooney takes the lead vocals, his voice gliding over a tender melody adorned with a rich ensemble of strings, piano and drums. Smyers complements with harmonies, adding depth to the sound.
Track 10, “We Should Get Married,” starts off slow-tempoed, but then ignites a contagious energy that will have listeners on their feet, swaying and grooving. The spirited fiddle weaves a nostalgic thread, evoking the vibrant spirit of 90s country and enhancing the song's lively atmosphere.
The album could not have ended on a better note than with track 12 “Bigger Houses.” The song illustrates that true contentment lies within the people and treasures you already possess. The verse “You're never gonna fill an empty cup / If what you got’s still not enough” does a beautiful job of expressing this.
In essence, Mooney and Smyers possess a unique ability to strike a chord with their audience through universally relatable lyrics and their signature pop-country style. Whether you are a long-time fan or a newcomer, this album offers a glimpse into Dan + Shay's timeless sound, making it a musical experience not to be missed.