Before fans knew Morgan Wallen as a country music heartthrob, he was just a small-town guy with a thick southern drawl.
All that would change for Morgan Wallen when he released his debut single, “The Way I Talk,” in 2016. He quickly proved he was more than just a pretty face when he showed off his smart songwriting abilities and powerful vocals in the track. Even though Morgan Wallen only uses three notes for the entire three-and-a-half-minute song, the chorus makes it irresistible not to sing along.
Morgan Wallen’s Intuitive Process Behind the Hit
Morgan Wallen’s ability to thoughtfully incorporate compact instrumentals is a commonly underappreciated part of his music. But for artists everywhere, it’s become a typical formula used to create hits.
For example, Merle Haggard’s famously loved “Mama Tried” isn’t the same without the unique guitar intro. Additionally, Shania Twain also uses this strategy on “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” which quickly captures the listener’s ear. Little Big Town’s incorporation of a mandolin hook on “Pontoon” makes it so you can’t stop listening.
Conceived by songwriter Chase McGill, the guitar lick that opens the catchy track remains constant throughout the song even as Wallen sings each verse. Paired with Wallen’s voice, the instrumentals do a stellar job adding to the song’s impact.
Co-writer Ben Hayslip says, “Anybody in Nashville can play those licks, but you kind of write it off as too simple. With Chase, he recognizes, ‘This is not too simple. This is catchy. This is easy for people to process in their brain riding down the road.’ I love that about him. I love it about that song.”
While the instrumentals play a role in the song’s success, the concept of personal pride is also highly prevalent. A person’s character and upbringing are all touched on in the track. Don’t let the catchy chorus fool you; the song’s gravity lies in its ability to convey messages about family, loyalty, love of God, and self-acceptance.
“Even though the majority of the writers on the song didn’t know me, it seems like they wrote it for me,” says Morgan Wallen. It’s about “the things that I’m proud of and the way that I live, and it was just a perfect match to me.”