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‘I Guess’ by Morgan Wallen - Lyrics & Meaning

February 19, 2024 11:39 am GMT

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Morgan Wallen - ‘I Guess’

Snippet Release Date: January 12th, 2024

Official Release Date: TBC*

*Expected to appear on Morgan Wallen's fourth studio album in 2024

The Background:

Shortly after teasing - and then deleting - an unreleased Post Malone collaboration, ‘I Had Some Help’, in December 2023, Morgan Wallen took to his socials once again to share a snippet of a comparatively stripped-back, introspective offering, ‘I Guess’.

Although it's yet to be given an official release date, the brief clip quickly went viral on TikTok, with fans dubbing it Morgan Wallen's ‘Narcissist’ song, due to the protagonist's conflicted depiction of who's to blame for the breakdown of a relationship.

With Morgan Wallen confirming he'll be recording his hotly anticipated One Thing At A Time follow-up at the end of February, listeners have been clamouring for the ‘Last Night’ hitmaker to include ‘I Guess’ on the forthcoming album.

Given the fact that the snippet has been met with a unanimously positive response - in a similar fashion to Morgan's teaser for his Dangerous stand-out, ‘7 Summers’ - it seems likely the country megastar will drop ‘I Guess’ as a lead single from the new album.

The Sound:

It remains unclear whether the version Morgan Wallen teased on Instagram was an acoustic demo, or whether this was the finished product. Morgan's signature drawl meanders pensively over an ethereal, wistful guitar melody, with the ‘Everything I Love’ singer-songwriter showcasing how deftly he can navigate the emotional ebbs and flows of a track through his evocative vocal delivery.

It's evident that one of Morgan Wallen's contemporaries, Parker McCollum, is hoping he releases the version of ‘I Guess’ he teased on his socials, without any additional production. Parker commented, “Release that exactly how it is. So good”.

The Meaning:

“You say I'll never change
Just to go around town with some gasoline
Just tryin' to burn a flame
Gon' burn the whole place down
And how do you explain, ever fallin' in love with a guy like me in the first place?
Turn around say that I'm the worst thing”

Morgan Wallen begins with a familiar characterisation, as he paints a picture of a rebellious, rowdy troublemaker who spends his Friday nights out drinking with his buddies.

He builds up this persona through the eyes of his ex-partner, as Morgan utilises an array of fire-themed imagery to convey how she constantly depicts him as a selfish boyfriend.

He uses the metaphor of a flame to highlight how fiery and tempestuous their relationship was, with the transition from ‘gasoline’ to ’flame’ to ‘burn the whole place down’ showcasing this progression in intensity between the two past lovers.

The way Morgan Wallen describes himself in the words of his ex feels reminiscent of songs such as ‘7 Summers’, where he assumes the role of the bad-boy partner (“Yeah, I bet your daddy's so proud / Of how his little girl turned out / Think she dodged a bullet / Of a good ol' boy like me”). It's a theme he also explores on the anthemic HARDY collaboration, ‘He Went To Jared’, where he leans into the raucous, rough-around-the-edges identity that others fit him into.

Unlike those songs, on ‘I Guess’, instead of embracing this bad-boy aesthetic, Morgan Wallen turns his ex's words around on her, asking her why she ever fell for him initially.

“I guess I'm the problem
And you're ‘Miss Never Do No Wrong’
If I'm so awful, then why'd you stick around this long?
And if it's the whiskey, then why you keep on pullin' it off the shelf?
You hate that when you look at me, you halfway see yourself
And it got me thinkin'
If I'm the problem, then you might be the reason”

This leads into the sinuous hook, during which Morgan sarcastically describes his ex as ‘Miss Never Do No Wrong’, implying that, despite all the complaints raised about his behaviour, it seems she wasn't too spotless herself during their relationship.

It's these pivotal lines that have sparked debate across TikTok, with fans speculating as to who the real ‘narcissist’ is in the relationship. On the one hand, Morgan clearly suggests the ex had some destructive traits of her own, yet on the flip side of this, he outlines that the reason she feels the need to criticise him is because she sees some of her own characteristics when she looks at him.

Therefore, even though the song's protagonist is pointing the finger at a narcissistic ex who refuses to acknowledge her own contributions to the break-up, he still accepts that he is by no means flawless, as he admits to there being a likeness between them.

The key, closing lyric - ‘If I'm the problem, then you might be the reason’ - is somewhat enigmatic, which has helped to stoke the discussion surrounding the song.

On the surface, it appears Morgan is blaming his ex for his own destructive habits - implying that her behaviour led to him feeling the need to go out and drink more, for instance.

The issue with this, as fans have pointed out, is that it feels like Morgan is trying to shift the feeling of guilt and the responsibility for the break-down in the relationship, by suggesting his negative actions were committed out of necessity because of how difficult it was to live with her. Although this is a valid interpretation, it feels somewhat misplaced, as it seems more likely that Morgan is instead trying to make his ex see how she too had a role to play in the break-up, rather than diminishing his own responsibility for what happened. Throughout the snippet so far, Morgan never really suggests he shouldn't take any of the blame, rather, he just wants his previous partner to share this accountability with him.

What has Morgan Wallen said about ‘I Guess’?

Morgan Wallen has not yet delved into the inspiration behind the song or his plans for the ‘I Guess’ rollout. However, fans have had plenty to say about the fascinating topics it explores, with TikTok users debating whether the protagonist is the narcissist in the story, or whether that title belongs to the woman he's singing to.

For the full lyrics so far to Morgan Wallen's ‘I Guess’, see below:

“You say I'll never change
Just to go around town with some gasoline
Just tryin' to burn a flame
Gon' burn the whole place down
And how do you explain, ever fallin' in love with a guy like me in the first place?
Turn around say that I'm the worst thing

I guess I'm the problem
And you must never do no wrong
If I'm so awful, then why'd you stick around this long?
And if it's the whiskey, then why you keep on pullin' it off the shelf?
You hate that when you look at me, you halfway see yourself
And it got me thinkin'
If I'm the problem, then you might be the reason”

For more on Morgan Wallen, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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