Morgan Wallen to release 36-track album, ‘One Thing at a Time’4 min read
Morgan Wallen returns with his first full-length album since his previous release broke some all-time chart records… and first since he became arguably one of the biggest, as well as the most polarizing figures in music today. The country superstar is following up “One Thing at a Time” with 2021’s best-selling “Dangerous: The Double Album” — a misnomer title if ever there was one, as he drops 36 songs on fans on March 3 (counting being done) with a handful that have already been released as singles or teaser tracks).
Wallen said in an announcement statement that the new collection “brings together the musical influences that have shaped me as an artist — country, alternative and hip-hop.” If that last clause sounds preposterously ambitious, some would consider that the singer already had a No. 1 single on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart with “Broadway Girls,” her collaboration with Lil Dirk due in December 2021, and headlined at the same time. When he went on black comedian Drewsky’s show and discussed his dream of collaborating with Kendrick Lamar.
The new set isn’t overloaded with features, with only two tracks co-billing the artist — “Man Made a Bar,” which features Eric Church, “In the Bible,” which spotlights frequent collaborator and hitmaker Hardy, and “Cowgirls,” which features a guest turn by re-used co-writer Ernest Wallen co-wrote 14 of the 36 tracks. Other notable Nashville names represented in dozens of writing credits include Miranda Lambert, Ashley Gorley, Nicole Galion, Jessie Alexander, Travis Denning and Ryan Hurd. Joey Moi returns as producer for the entire set.
The release was not subtitled “The Triple Album”, although it effectively counted as one, its 36 tracks representing an increase over the 30 even featured on “Dangerous”, which was considered highly unusual for the country market at the time. Usually hip-hop artists go into double-digits with their song count, either because of skits or other interstitial material or (conventional wisdom has it) they’re out to run their stream count. But in country, where albums typically still stay in the 10-to-15-track range, Jack Bryan stepped up with his 2022 breakthrough album “American Heartbreak,” which surpassed the “dangerous” count of 30 by including 34 songs. With the decay factor of the CD no longer imposing a limit on album length, Wallen increased his subsequent album total to 36, effectively telling Brian to “hold my bear.”
While Wallen probably doesn’t need a heavy track list to debut and stay at No. 1 for weeks, the album’s sheer volume could stand him a better chance of breaking more streaming records upon release.
Wallen is getting a head start on getting fans excited about the new project by releasing three songs from the upcoming project tonight, “Last Night,” “Everything I Love” and “I Wrote the Book.”
“This record represents the last few years of my life, the highs and the lows,” Wallen added in his statement. “There are 36 songs on this album because we were just exploring new lyrics, music and production ideas and these are the songs that felt right to me.”
Billboard noted that “Dangerous: The Double Album”, released in January 2021, set the record for the most months spent in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart. It continues to break its own record every week, now counting at 104 weeks.
there Wallen’s streaming and sales success had no noticeable commercial impact during the chart run from a scandal ignited by his use of the N-word, although it muddied his name in mainstream media and broadcasting circles. Wallen disappeared from the scene for months after apologizing, but fans continued to stream his music in droves. In most of the non-country media, he’s held at arm’s length, but his acceptance into the mainstream country world, with more No. 1 radio hits and sold-out arena tours, is nearly complete, even as the scandal raises many issues that some in the country realm consider Not settled.
Another thing Bryan has in common with Wallen, another contender for the title of hottest country figure right now, is a complete eschewing of both the interviews and the circuit that any country star needs — Brian built his reputation from scratch. Being a press-shy maverick, and Wallen probably because he doesn’t want to discuss the 2021 scandal. In what could be the biggest debut album of 2023, Wallen can’t lose too much by maintaining what could be a mutually exclusive late-night show or big interview situation and continue to let the numbers do the talking.
Wallen had two No. 1 songs in country in 2022 — “Wasted On You,” a holdover from his previous album, and “You Proof,” the first single off the new project. Another new song, “Thinking You Should Know,” peaked at No. 6 and is still atop the chart.
Wallen’s US tour, consisting almost exclusively of stadium gigs, such as an appearance at LA’s SoFi Stadium and two nights at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium and Boston’s Fenway Park, runs from April 14 to October 17 before heading to Europe.