Music review | Dan + Shay debut album gives Myrtle Beach a summer soundtrack

04/02/2014 11:50 AM

04/02/2014 11:52 AM

Myrtle Beach’s summer soundtrack is here, just in time for spring break, and it’s fitting that the soundtrack comes from new country duo Dan + Shay.

The duo’s first single, “19 You + Me,” references Myrtle Beach and the video for the single was filmed in Myrtle Beach. Plus, the boys are headed back to the beach on April 15 for a free concert. It’s almost like Myrtle Beach is “where it all began” for Dan + Shay.

I’m strangely OK with it.

Granted, several times listening to the debut album, “Where It All Began,” I caught myself thinking I was listening to Rascal Flatts, especially during the harmonies of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. But only sometimes. (And if I’m being completely honest, I can stomach Dan + Shay way more than I can stomach listening to Rascal Flatts.)

Overall, it’s a pop-heavy country album that will probably churn out a few popular singles, with the catchiness of “19 You + Me” setting a good precedent. I wouldn’t be surprised if single No. 3 is “Stop Drop + Roll.” It’s the definition of catchy and is sure to light up radios coast to coast this summer.

The second single is “What You Do To Me,” and I dare you not to sing along to the chorus.

The whole album is a nice mix of ballads and faster songs that complement each other. It is definitely meant to be played in a car with the windows down, or turned up on the beach.

Smyers and Mooney haven’t been together that long, only meeting each other in 2012, but you wouldn’t know it just by listening to their harmonies. They sound like they’ve grown up singing together.

And while country male duos aren’t wildly original (Brooks and Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich), Dan + Shay are a bit different, just because they are so light, breezy and ... comfortable, for lack of a better word.

I think what I enjoy most about the album is that it’s not trying to be something it isn’t. It’s not pure country, which works because only half of Dan + Shay is from the south. It’s not pure pop, either, and it blends the two in a way that isn’t over the top nor annoying as long as you go into it knowing what you’re going to get out of it.

Here’s what you’re going to get out of it: lots of toe tapping, lots of visions of sand and sun, and the temptation to roll your windows down and the music up.

I do have a small bone to pick with the singing/songwriting duo, though. In “19 You + Me,” they reference Myrtle Beach, but then refer to the girl in the song as “California beautiful.” Come on, guys, she couldn’t have been “Carolina beautiful?”

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