Dan + Shay

Dan + Shay

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It's not quite right to say Dan + Shay play it safe on Dan + Shay, their third album, because they're looking to sustain the success they had with 2014's Where It All Began and 2016's Obsessed. Playing it safe has been central to Dan + Shay's identity since "19 You + Me" climbed its way up the charts in 2013. Arriving at the peak of party-hearty bro-country, Where It All Began adhered to traditional country-pop values: the surfaces were sleek and glossy and the focus was entirely on the softly insistent melodies, which were delivered by Dan + Shay without flair. Four years later, the duo haven't changed their modus operandi, nor have they freshened it much. Largely ignoring the wave of R&B sweeping through modern country -- "What Keeps You Up at Night" has a touch of Southern-fried soul, but it's a throwback to the '60s; "No Such Thing" contains a light rhythm loop, along with allusions to sipping gin and juice -- Dan + Shay is another collection of music that's designed to comfort, not provoke. The duo are so sweet and light they can make Rascal Flatts seem like rowdy renegades, but that's the entire reason for Dan + Shay's being: they're making music designed to be the background for every everyday occasion, whether it's a wedding ("Speechless") or whiling away the hours in a waiting room (pretty much the rest of the album). Dan + Shay may not be much more than aural wallpaper but that's all it's intended to be and, on that level, it's well executed: it's so slick and smooth, it doesn't make a single wave.

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