Two years on from their country pop debut Where It All Began, Dan + Shay have returned to the scene with their second album Obsessed. The album—named both for their obsessive fan base and their obsession with making music—sticks heavily to their debut’s formula, and thankfully this comes across as the album’s main draw. While they’ve played it safe in regards to the composition of each song and its lyrics, they’re still capable of churning out hooks and choruses that aim to keep you listening.
In terms of style styles covered, all of the country pop basics find their place here: All Nighter opens the album on a positive note with its upbeat production and catchy chorus, though the album quickly moves into ballads with their lead single From the Ground Up, where the twang of the guitars and the pop percussion are replaced with sweeping strings and gentle acoustic guitar as they sing about finding true love and making a life together. The likes of Already Ready and Lipstick fill in the halfway point between the two extremes of pop and ballads, giving the album a strong mid-tempo base for its middle section.
Thankfully, the album never stays on one note for too long. There’s a decent mix of each type of song in its early stages, and later on the album receives a few twists that make it even better, starting with Lately. Despite opening with some iconic guitar twang, Lately mixes some R&B elements in to amplify the pop aspect of the album beyond any moment it hits before, making a mellow yet catchy pop ballad that shines through as one of the album’s strongest moments. The only stronger one comes with the closing song, the album’s title track Obsessed. Rather than sounding modern, its ample use of horns and swaying mid-tempo percussion set it up as a throwback track, which also stands out thanks to the strength of the vocals; the chorus harmonies are stellar, and set the track’s style theme perfectly.
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have more than stepped their game up for Obsessed. With a keen eye kept on their fans and what they want, they offered more of the same and improved upon a good thing rather than trying to shake things up and risking losing what they had; the fact Obsessed’s few experimental are so good makes it even better. Whether you’re an existing fan of Dan + Shay or a country pop fan looking for something new, Obsessed is definitely something you should check out.