Every once in a while, someone comes along and changes an industry. To me, Morgan Wallen is one of those people. Beyond his raw talent for singing and creating country music, there’s something about him that makes him so likeable. Unfortunately, he is just as well known for his music as he is for his controversial actions. Below, I’ve detailed my perspective on this rising country star.
I first heard of Morgan Wallen on a Youtube ad. Apparently that night he was debuting a live version of his new single Sand in My Boots. I had never heard of this guy before, so I ignored it just the same as any other ad. Fast forward to later that night. I was scrolling through Youtube trending, and there he was. As soon as he started singing, I was impressed. By the end of the song, I was a fan.
After this encounter, I looked up his catalog. Luckily for me, the song I just heard was part of a double album he had just released called Dangerous. After I listened to a few songs, I found there was a trend: hit, hit, hit, hit. Even the commenters proclaimed this guy didn’t make a bad song, and I agreed.
The Dangerous Sessions
With the new release of his album, he also shot some videos of him singing the songs live. He called these The Dangerous Sessions. In my opinion, a lot of these versions of songs are better than the radio version. The rawness of his voice really comes though, and gives the music another level of emotion that is rarely seen anymore.
My favorite Morgan Wallen songs
For the next 2 weeks, I was obsessed. My day would start with Sand in My Boots (The Dangerous Sessions), followed by (in no particular order) 7 Summers, Chasin’ You, Warning, Somebody’s Problem, Wasted on You, finishing with Cover Me Up. Then, it would circle back around. To be fair, this isn’t the first time; I have definitely been obsessed with musicians or a specific song before. However, he had so many songs I could listen to on repeat, it was something I never really experienced. At this point, I’m loving this guy.
Yes, I basically listed the entire album. That’s because all the songs are just that good.
- Talkin’ Tennessee
- Livin’ the Dream
- Quittin’ Time
- Warning (The Dangerous Sessions)
- Somebody’s Problem (The Dangerous Sessions)
- More Than My Hometown
- This Bar
His personal life
Since I was just being introduced to him, I didn’t really know about his personal life. I learned about his first controversy, which was when he got arrested in May 2020. This didn’t phase me; celebrities get arrested all the time. I then saw his SNL controversy unfold, which also didn’t bother me. It seemed like a bad business move, but I didn’t hate the guy for it. Everyone in the public eye is bound to make mistakes.
The third strike was his n-word scandal. At first, I was heartbroken. Part of the magic of Morgan Wallen’s music is how personal it feels. There’s so much emotion in each song, and it feels like he really means every word he sings. All of these great songs to sing along to, and I come to find out this guy might be a stereotypical country racist. As this was the first artist in a long time that I actually liked a lot of his stuff, it really made me sad.
Once I watched the clip and found out for myself that he actually said it, I instantly stopped playing his music. All the music I downloaded of his was deleted off my phone, and the next few days were silent. As soon as I would catch myself singing some of his lyrics, I would force myself to stop. I knew I couldn’t sing or hear those songs, because his words had a different weight behind them now.
After reflecting on the situation for a few more weeks and coming to peace with the situation, I let it go. I am certainly not excusing his behavior, as there is no way to defend it. However, he’s always seemed like such a genuine guy. Because of that, I truly believed what he said in his apology. My personal boycott ended, and I allowed myself to add his music back into my rotation. I was thankful my obsession was gone, but it felt like the end of an era. It’s always a magical feeling singing along to songs that you feel on a deeper level.
Even with his controversies, I still think Morgan Wallen is a once-in-a-generation talent. Besides his unique voice, he puts so much feeling into his music that many people just can’t. He seems like one of those people where fame became overwhelming, and his mistakes were magnified on a level he didn’t anticipate. I wish him all the best, and am excited to see his growth in the years to come.
In early August 2021, Justin Bieber posted an Instagram story that brought Morgan’s name back up. Justin screenshotted the cover of ‘Sand In My Boots (The Dangerous Sessions)’ with the caption “Love this album”. Not long after, he received comments about Morgan being a racist and the fact that he was dropped by labels and radio labels because of it. This sparked the inevitable apology from Justin, saying he doesn’t promote or tolerate racism. This article by Rolling Stone explains the story in detail.
Included in Justin’s apology was the following paragraph about his own past:
My thoughts on the situation
To me, I think it is extremely unfortunate that people have labeled Morgan Wallen a ‘racist’. Obviously what he said in the past wasn’t a wise move, but he doesn’t come off as racist to me, at all. Not only that, but the fact that Justin turned on him so quickly just makes me think Justin doesn’t want to get ‘cancelled’. Like the Instagram Justin posted states, he did more or less the same thing in his youth. Why can he apologize but Morgan is a racist? I don’t think Justin handled the situation properly, as it makes Morgan look even worse that Justin Bieber also condemned him.
I find it amusing that I agree so much with Justin’s original “love this album” comment, especially the song he chose. Overall, my original stance on Morgan Wallen still stands. He still is one of the best musicians of my generation, and I think he made a couple mistakes. I sincerely wish him the best, and hope he is strong enough to look past the drama.