Dan + Shay: Bigger Houses Album Review

Dan + Shay’s brand new album, Bigger Houses is out now, September 15th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the new music below.

Ten years since “19 You + Me” skyrocketed them to stardom, Dan + Shay are back with their most impressive release to date. While Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, have admitted to nearly breaking up after their 2021 tour left them both bitter and burnt out, the pair managed to rekindle their love of music, and the result is their fifth studio LP, Bigger Houses.

All but one of the album’s twelve tracks were co-written by either (or both) Dan + Shay, with co-writers including Adam Doleac, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley, ERNEST, Lori McKenna, and more. Due to this, the album is true to the singer-songwriters’ roots, with the majority of tracks falling into the late 90’s/ early ‘00s type of harmonic country that was a trademark of groups like Lonestar, Emerson Drive, and Rascal Flatts.

“Some of our records have been more pop- or hip-hop/R&B-infused,” Smyers shares, “But on this record, I wanted to make tracks that we could hop up at any bar anywhere with our live band and play the songs as they were recorded. Ultimately, this music, this whole album, is something that I’ll be able to look back on in a decade or two and be really proud of the way it turned out.”

Fiddle and slide guitar is prevalent on Bigger Houses, but never in a way that seems disingenuous. In fact, “We Should Get Married” may be one of the duo’s most true country songs, a tongue-in-cheek proposal that sashays away from their reputation as balladeers and instead takes them through a swinging, two stepper. “We should get married // Take it out to Vegas // Find a little chapel // Hire us an Elvis,” They muse, tongues firmly planted in cheek.

Likewise, “Neon Cowgirl” and “Heartbreak on the Map” continue to show the duo’s 90’s influence, channeling their inner Brooks and Dunn on “Cowgirl,” an encouragement anthem to a heartbroken girl in a bar. “Neon cowgirl, don’t you cry, don’t you know you were born to shine// Rain stops falling and hearts unbreak,” They croon “So let that cowboy ride away // It won’t be like this forever // Ain’t no storm that you can’t weather // Neon cowgirl, don’t you cry.”

Clever lyricism is a predominant theme on Bigger Houses, as Mooney and Smyers manage to put new stamps on old tropes. For example, on the summery album opener “Breakin’ Up with a Broken Heart,” the pair is moving on from a heartbreak, while “Missing Someone” puts them in the position of rebound lovers. “Save Me the Trouble” finds them imploring a girl not to let them fall in love, in order to avoid a broken heart. The track builds to a powerful bridge, Mooney’s vocals soaring into the stratosphere.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a song that I am this one,” says Smyers of “Save Me the Trouble.” “We wanted to have something that was a real moment, and when we started writing this, it felt like it could be something big. I wanted every section to build, and even in the second chorus, when you’re like, ‘Okay, there’s no way it could possibly get any crazier,’ then Shay takes off even further.”

“From the Both of Us” is an especially beautiful and poignant moment that’s sure to be played at weddings for the rest of eternity. On the heart-swelling ballad, they promise a father to love his daughter forever. “I’m in love with your daughter // And I’ve been since the first time I saw her // I’ll ask her the question // If you give your blessing,” They harmonize. “When she takes my hand you can trust // I’ll love her enough for the both of us.”

Love and fate weave their way through songs like “Always Gonna Be,” “Then Again,” and “What Took You So Long.” While “Always Gonna Be” is a celebration of the things in life that are just meant to be, “Then Again” is like a modern day “Unanswered Prayers.” “There’s a few things I might’ve changed if God put me in charge,” Mooney muses. “Then again I would’ve never met you.”

The album’s closer and title track, “Bigger Houses” is an especially poignant moment, notably when considering that the duo almost hung up their microphones. On the stark ballad, they celebrate that life isn’t all about having the best things, and while the grass may appear greener elsewhere, that’s not what’s important.

“There’s always gonna be a higher high // You could chase for the rest of your life // Greener grass in the yard next doo r// Or a shined up Chevy little newer than yours // You’re never gonna fill an empty cup // If what you got’s still not enough // The thing about happiness I’ve found is It don’t live in bigger houses”

On Bigger Houses, Dan + Shay take listeners on a nostalgic country journey, chock full of clever lyrics, country instrumentation, and their patented harmonies and soaring vocals.

Bigger Houses Track List:

  1. Breakin’ Up With a Broken Heart – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley
  2. Save Me The Trouble – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Ashley Gorley, Jordan Minton, Jordan Reynolds
  3. Heartbreak On The Map – Dan Smyers, Jimmy Robbins, Ernest Keith Smith
  4. Always Gonna Be – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Ashley Gorley, Jordan Minton, Jordan Reynolds
  5. For The Both of Us – Dan Smyers, Andy Albert, Jordan Reynolds
  6. Then Again – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Andy Albert, Lori McKenna, Jordan Reynolds
  7. Heaven + Back – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Thompson
  8. What Took You So Long – Dan Smyers, Jordan Minton, Jordan Reynolds, Jimmy Robbins
  9. Missing Someone – Trannie Anderson, Adam Doleac, Dylan Guthro, Gordie Sampson
  10. We Should Get Married – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Andy Albert
  11. Neon Cowgirl – Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Zach Crowell, Jessie Jo Dillon, Ashley Gorley
  12. Bigger Houses – Dan Smyers, Andy Albert, Jordan Minton, Jordan Reynolds

Country Swag Picks:

  1. We Should Get Married
  2. Always Gonna Be
  3. For the Both of Us
  4. Heartbreak on the Map

Dan + Shay’s new album, ‘Bigger Houses’ is out now on all streaming platforms.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Dan + Shay announcements and releases

For dates and more, visit the duo’s website here.

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Bigger Houses is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.