Few singer-songwriters have enjoyed the cross-genre success that Morgan Wallen has in the past five years.
Over the course of three albums, he’s cemented himself as one of the most - if not the most - popular artists of his generation.
Despite the ensuing backlash after a video surfaced of Morgan Wallen using racial slurs, Dangerous went on to be 2021’s biggest selling album in any genre, and has since become the only album in history to spend 100 weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200.
Here are The Best Morgan Wallen Songs according to Holler:
You could make a pretty good case for this whole list being made up of just songs from Dangerous, but that would mean missing some earlier gems like this one from If I Know Me.
It deftly sets up one side of Wallen's persona, once memorably described as “Bruce Springsteen meets Larry The Cable Guy”.
It’s conversational but incisive, old and new all at the same time, a recurring trademark.
A cross-genre collaboration that nobody saw coming. Lil Durk, one of rap’s most prominent new voices, recruited Morgan Wallen for a ferocious, angst-ridden hook and verse on this unlikely duet. It went on to become Lil Durk’s first ever No. 1 as a lead artist.
Wallen’s gritty, rough-around-the-edges vocals filter through the track like an angry snarl, as he laments being messed around by another ‘Broadway Girl’.
The only thing wrong with the song is the grammatical nightmare of a lyric that somehow made its way into the chorus: “There's two things that you're gonna find out / They don't love you, and they only love you right now”.
This doesn’t initially stand out as the most immediately enthralling track from Wallen’s impressive discography, but the biting, incandescent anthem remains one of his most streamed songs of all time.
Underpinned by another hip hop beat, ‘Wasted On You’ again shows that lightning seems to strike whenever Morgan Wallen and Ernest enter a writing room together, with Josh Thompson and Ryan Vojtesak also being credited for helping to craft this explosive track.
In the early 2010s, rappers such as Future started looking to old nursery rhymes as a means of generating uniquely catchy hooks, and it seems Wallen and his co-writing team have done the same for ‘Neon Star (Country Boy Lullaby)’.
Armed with a simple yet infectious drum sample, the uptempo track injects a welcome sense of levity into the heartbroken vein that runs throughout much of One Thing At A Time.
Sports metaphors have regularly found their way into Morgan Wallen’s discography, but none are as compelling as his so-close-and-yet-so-far tale of the Atlanta Braves’ title-chasing season in 1998.
It’s packed with appealingly subtle baseball analogies, as Wallen compares the way they fell at the final hurdle to a doomed romance (“But just like that season / Girl, you and me didn't end with a ring on a hand / We got close but close doesn't cut it / Had a good run to end up with nothin'”).
Remember the car that got you through life, from A to B and everything in between? You know, the car with all the memories attached? Come and get it, it's for sale.
Although country music has no shortage of truck songs, ‘Silverado For Sale’ somehow manages to sound like a gleaming, freshly buffed ride, with Wallen’s delicate, drawn-in delivery showcasing his vocal versatility.
One of Morgan Wallen’s very first sports-themed tracks, ‘Had Me by Halftime’ is a sweet, romantic tale of two Tennessee Volunteers fans hitting it off during a chance meeting ahead of the game.
‘Had Me by Halftime’ is an underrated classic in Wallen’s discography, and evocatively transports you to a place where the Autumn leaves are fluttering down, the smell of freshly cut turf lingers in the air and everyone is on the edge of their seat, eagerly waiting for the chance to celebrate the opening touchdown. For the sequel to ‘Had Me by Halftime’, see One Thing At A Time’s ‘Tennessee Fan’.
‘Dying Man’ is to One Thing At A Time what ‘Livin’ The Dream’ was to Dangerous. Given the sense of confidence that Morgan Wallen exudes on many of his songs, this makes his more introspective, vulnerable numbers all the more captivating.
Despite seemingly singing to his partner on ‘Dying Man’, during his album release concert Wallen revealed that the track was actually cut with his song 'Indigo' in mind (“I never believed in angels / 'Til one believed in me that night / Turned my off track into a straight line / Before I turned into a headline”).
Another of Wallen’s many beat-driven, genre-blending tracks, ‘Last Night’ has become one of the most popular tracks from One Thing At A Time. Shortly after its release, it set up camp atop the Billboard Hot 100, keeping the likes of Drake and Miley Cyrus at bay for weeks on end.
While the subject matter stays close to his well-trodden path of heartbreak and alcohol-dressed wounds, the outward-looking sonic blueprint of ‘Last Night’ emphasises why Wallen’s country hip hop fusion succeeds where the likes of Zac Brown, Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean have fallen flat.
A touching homage to one of Morgan Wallen’s idols, ‘Keith Whitley’ is littered with satisfying easter egg references to the classic country legend’s wealth of hits, from ‘I’m No Stranger to the Rain’ to ‘I Never Go Around Mirrors’ (“There ain't a mirror in this house anymore / 'Cause it kills me to see the guy that let you leave / And walk right out the door”).
As well as expressing Wallen’s heartbreak at a failed relationship, this One Thing At A Time deep cut also closes with a heartwarming tribute to Whitley, who died at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning (“The things I love got a way of gettin' gone too soon / Kinda like good whiskey, Keith Whitley and you”).
Revolving around another witty punchline, ‘Had It’ captures the plush, cushioned texture that Wallen spreads throughout One Thing At A Time.
Although the lyrics are bittersweet, Wallen’s honeyed vocals fuse seamlessly with the warm, rose-tinted feel of the accompanying guitar to create an unassuming stand-out from the album.
While many identified drinking as the core theme of One Thing At A Time, equally as prominent is Wallen’s religious imagery. ‘Devil Don’t Know’ epitomises this, as he - somewhat melodramatically, admittedly - likens the pain of his lost love to that of the burning furnace of hell.
Although the listener is left feeling unconvinced that “Fire and brimstone ain't got nothin' on / Seein' you with someone else”, the lyrical extravagance pivots around a knock-out blow of a hook that leaves you floored.
Here’s the one that sets up another key element of Wallen’s success – the very lack of it.
The ‘Morgan Wallen’ we get in songs like these is a sad and remorseful character; always losing the girl and feeling the pain of heartbreak. It's this deeply-felt and visceral emotion that makes his victories – if they come – feel more like triumphs.
This is one of those triumphs, but expressed in a tone of disbelief that makes it all the more resonant and believable.
Like virtually all the songs on this list, it’s portrayed through a series of vivid images drawn unambiguously from experience, but with that little sting in the tale that gives them life.
Although not one of Morgan Wallen’s most lyrically ornate or sonically complex songs, ‘You Proof’ has blossomed into one of the biggest hits of the past few years, and recently became the longest-running Billboard Country Airplay Chart No. 1 ever.
Wallen’s fiery vocals snake along a slick, energising beat, as he laments the fact that his ‘Whiskey Glasses’ no longer seem to be working like they used to (“Someone said it drowns a memory / Ah, but it ain't doing jack”).
One of Wallen's 2022 singles – co-written with Miranda Lambert, not someone to suffer fools gladly – is an emotional sucker punch phone call to his mother, with a lyric that reads just like a transcript.
It's a much, much harder trick to pull off than it looks, or sounds.
Another of those iconic Dangerous songs, originally recorded by its writer Jason Isbell on 2013's Southeastern.
Not as abrasively passionate as the Isbell version, the understated longing in Wallen's vocal more than compensates. This cover opened up the song to an entirely new audience, and revealed to many what has become Wallen’s most lethal weapon - his charismatic, drawled vocals.
The controversial context within which Dangerous arrived intensified the poignance of ‘Livin’ The Dream’.
For the first time, Wallen opens up about his struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, as he seeks to cleanse the lens through which the world has been seeing him (“Oh, there’s a stranger in the mirror / Oh, but according to the pictures / I’m a rockstar, in and out of cop cars / Livin’ out a suitcase, trashing hotel bars”).
It’s the personal precursor to One Thing At A Time’s emotional finale, ‘Dying Man’, which offers a hopeful resolution to ‘Livin’ The Dream’.
It’s a ringtone, it’s a pop tune, it’s the feeling in your stomach when you see that person walk through the door. Most of all, it’s demonstrably real.
Morgan Wallen’s third straight No. 1, this early If I Know Me ballad illuminated the softer, more intricate quality of his songwriting.
‘Chasin’ You’ again demonstrated Wallen’s ear for a hook with chart-topping calibre, and in many people’s minds, it remains the song that first solidified the young Tennessean as a serious contender as a future country star.
With Church having lent Wallen his pen for Dangerous’ ‘Quittin’ Time’, it felt like a collaboration between the two was inevitable. ‘Man Made A Bar’, which was co-written by Larry Fleet, remoulds the Biblical account of creation into an origin story for the invention of neon lights as a remedy for broken hearts.
Again, for many artists, ‘Made Made A Bar’ would be a certified single, but with 35 other One Thing At A Time tracks contending for country radio duty, it’ll be lucky if it gets the chance to become more than a fan-favourite album cut.
It’s no mean feat to work an entire phone number into a song and still make it sound cool. Wallen succeeds on this whiskey-drenched tear-jerker, where he returns to his familiar spot at the lonely end of the bar, staring wistfully into his glass as he wonders where it all went wrong.
Just as a heads-up, unlike Big Sean, who bafflingly included his actual phone number in a song, nothing too exciting happens if you dial Wallen’s ‘865’ digits. But we know you’re probably going to try it anyway.
One of the stand-out lyrical gems on One Thing A Time, ‘F150-50’ combines two country tropes - trucks and heartbreak - and melds them into a sumptuous earworm. Wallen weighs up his chances of seeing his ex’s Ford returning to his driveway (“Heads, it's headlights headed home / Tread left on forgiveness / Tails, it's taillights tailin' off / Floor that Ford, forget this”), before concluding that his outlook is bleak with a punchline that’ll delight pun-lovers everywhere: “Tonight, it’s lookin’ F150-50”.
This might be the quintessential Morgan Wallen song, packed full of lightly drawn but powerfully felt detail and with a genuine dilemma at the heart of it.
She wants to leave, he wants to stay. Who’s the winner?
Well, it would be the quintessential Morgan Wallen song, if it wasn’t for this one.
Here, he dials the tempo down a notch and allies the regretful lyric to one of the most gorgeous melodies in his repertoire.
Long time collaborators Jessi Alexander, Mark Holman and Chase McGill wrote this for Wallen, who burst into tears when he first heard it.
He delivers perhaps the vocal of his career to date on the story of a hell-raising boy seeking forgiveness. Along with the likes of ‘Dying Man’ and ‘Livin’ The Dream’, these ballads find Wallen transforming his often blunt, straight-talking candour into endearing sincerity.
‘Up Down’ remains Wallen’s live show opener - and for good reason. It’s a celebratory whiskey shot of a song, made with equal parts bro-country braggadocio and charming Southern swagger.
For lesser artists, this blockbuster, Florida Georgia Line-assisted chart-topper would have become the defining hit of their career. For Wallen, it struggles to make it into his top ten.
An infectious floor-filler that feels like both the musical and thematic sequel to 2021’s ‘Dangerous’. It finds Morgan Wallen shrugging his shoulders as he lays out the options to his ex (“You say I gotta get over you and get sober too / I got a lot of habits I gotta kick / Weigh out all your options and take your pick”), before delivering the killer titular line, “I hate to tell you, girl / But I’m only quittin’ one thing at a time”).
Currently impacting US pop radio, it showcases a fun new dimension to Wallen’s sound.
There’s a run of hits on Dangerous which are as good as any of the modern country era – melodically strong, lyrically direct but subtle and emotionally wrenching with it.
Ever had that holiday romance which you thought was going to last forever? This one’s for you.
‘Everything I Love’ is well and truly one for the traditionalists.
Inventively interpolating a sample of The Allman Brothers Band's ‘Midnight Rider’, ‘Everything I Love’ finds Morgan Wallen singing jauntily in front of an irresistibly buoyant 90s country backdrop.
It’s a wonderfully twangy heartbreak anthem that serves as a playful wink to everyone who claims Wallen’s sound isn’t country enough.
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