Vocalists and songwriters Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney work so well together, they seem like they’re brothers. Bigger Houses is their fifth studio album that is still the iconic country pop from the two that you’d recognize. But this time, it’s about relationships from bad to good and great, sound advice and philosophy in 12 tracks, while the music has more choruses and somehow feels even more like a joint effort.
If you took a boy band and made the boys into two men with life experience for maturity but with more instruments for refinement, you’d have Dan + Shay.
“Save Me the Trouble” is the second song on the album. It’s perfect for playing anywhere – at any country venue, on the radio, or at home. Dan Smyers and Scott Hendricks produced this lead single and both wrote the song, while Shay Mooney sang it. In his young-spirited tenor voice, Shay makes an addictive chorus with “Why don’t you save me the trouble? Keep those pretty blue eyes to yourself/Why don’t you save me the trouble? Give that heartache to somebody else.” The lyrics are about a woman who loves and leaves and how he’s not willing to be with her anymore. He’s done and doesn’t want to go through the pain she puts men through, and we get it. It’s deep-feeing without being angry, sad but poppy and even triumphant in its straightforwardness. This is the hard line an unserious woman cannot cross, and Dan adds his baritone voice to the chorus for a deeper feel.
“What took you so long? Where you been all my life? What road were you on that led your heart to mine/Who were you before you were in my arms? Baby, I gotta know” is part of “What Took You So Long” about halfway through. It’s a song about wanting to know who and what a woman was before they met and fell in love. That’s proof of how much he’s into her – he wants to know what she was doing before she eventually came to him.
The last song, “Bigger Houses,” makes you assume that’s literally what it’s about from the title. Actually, it’s the opposite. The lyrics are about the dissatisfaction that comes from materialism and being a workaholic to stack money and afford an even bigger house. “There’s always gonna be a higher high/You could chase for the rest of your life/Greener grass in the yard next door/[...] You’re never gonna fill an empty cup if what you got’s still not enough.” The guitar is especially catchy with a simple, steady rhythm with the chorus, ”The thing about happiness I’ve found is/It don’t live in bigger houses.”
Bigger Houses by Dan + Shay is a beautiful album from the duo with plenty of sweet-hitting songs. Although it’s country pop and there are times when it’s a little more country, a little more poppy, it’s also got elements of progressive rock and a few instrumentals that with the choruses make the lyrics really linger. It’s inspired by a range of emotions in relation to the ups and downs of being with someone else. If you already enjoy Dan + Shay, love country pop, or want to explore beyond traditional country music, you should give it a listen.
Reviewed by Camille Perkins