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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Morgan Wallen’s album ‘One Thing at a Time’ captures dynamic emotions and pays homage to family

Wallen’s album cover showcases him standing outside of his grandma’s house.

With his new album “One Thing at a Time,” American country singer Morgan Wallen has achieved groundbreaking commercial success. His songs have remained at the top of the Billboard charts for 8 weeks since the album’s release on March 3. 

“One Thing at a Time” is his second consecutive U.S. No. 1 album, marking the biggest week of 2023 for album units earned and overall the biggest week for any country album since “Red (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift in November 2021.

With his songs reaching wider audiences, Wallen’s music has emotionally resonated with listeners around the world. In an interview with Music Mayhem Magazine, Wallen said he intended for the album to express the emotional highs and lows he’s experienced over the past few years of his life, with many songs inspired by “the good, the bad, the love and the heartbreak.” 

This is seen with the wide emotional range of music produced in the album, from solemn songs about his son like “Dying Man” to upbeat tracks about his love life like “Everything I Love.” These songs display a unique lyrical dissonance; “Dying Man” uses a sorrowful tone as Wallen reflects on how he shifted away from destructive habits after the birth of his son while “Everything I Love” portrays Wallen’s heartbreak through an upbeat melody.

Opening with the poignant track “Born With A Beer In My Hand,” Wallen’s distinctive musical motifs and captivating vocal melodies immediately seize the attention of his audience. The song recounts Wallen’s youthful recklessness and unwavering dedication to his country roots, despite the hurdles he has encountered along the way. 

A standout track on the album, “Last Night,” resonates deeply with its listeners and is destined to grace summer playlists for years to come. Wallen masterfully reflects on a conversation with his former partner, encapsulating his raw longing in an introspection of their final night together. Through heartfelt melodies and vivid storytelling, Wallen invites listeners to immerse themselves in his personal experiences, fostering a profound connection that lingers long after the song ends.

As the album unfolds, a whirlwind of emotions sweeps through each subsequent track. While subject matter varies greatly between songs, the unexpected range of emotions showcased throughout the album is expertly woven together, creating a cohesive and harmonious collection. Wallen’s artistry has been proven through the popularity of this album and his previous album Dangerous,” making him one of the most listened to country artists of all time.

In addition to capturing his own emotional rollercoaster and personal experiences, Wallen’s album also pays homage to family members like his mother and grandma who have supported him throughout his career and helped him get where he is today. As such, the album cover itself depicts Wallen standing outside his grandmother’s house in Sneedville, Tennessee. Wallen, in the same interview with Music Mayhem Magazine, talked about the special bond he shares with her and how he wanted to honor her with the new album. 

Along with his grandma, his mother played a large role in shaping Wallen, 30, and supporting his career. He offers his heartfelt gratitude to her in his song “Thought You Should Know,” co-written by Wallen alongside Miranda Lambert and Nicolle Galyon. The song features Wallen making a phone call to his mom where he gives her an update of the emotional turmoil going on in his life:

“What’s going on mama? / Something’s just dawned on me / I ain’t been home in some months / Been chasing songs and women / Making some bad decisions / God knows I’m drinking too much / Yeah, I know you’ve been worrying ‘bout me / You’ve been losing sleep since ’93,” Wallen sings as he addresses his mother. 

Family members, on top of being inspiration for the album’s content, have also directly helped with the album’s production: Three of the songs in his album — “Devil Don’t Know,” “Keith Witley” and “F150-50” were written by his cousin Jarid Mullins. Each of these tracks produced by Mullins details Wallen reminiscing on his past love interests. 

The album also features other prominent artists in the country music industry, such as HARDY, ERNEST and Eric Church. Wallen has also embarked on a 63-day world tour produced by Live Nation Concerts in America and Frontier Touring in Australia and New Zealand. 

Despite Wallen’s impressive success with “One Thing at a Time,” he has faced backlash over the past year due to the circulation of a video from February 2021 where he used a racial slur after a drunken party with friends. Since then, he was removed from radio playlists and awards shows, and has faced criticism from fans and fellow artists. Wallen sincerely apologized for his actions and entered rehab, taking time to reflect and work on himself.

Wallen’s resilience and dedication to his music have clearly paid off, as “One Thing at a Time” continues to dominate the charts and his world tour draws in fans from around the world. Despite the challenges he has faced, Wallen remains a beloved figure in the country music industry, and his success shows no signs of slowing down.

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