Do you ever wonder what would have happened if Tyler Hubbard had embarked on a solo career instead of teaming up with Brian Kelley and forming Florida-Georgia Line? If Morgan Wallen is any indication, the result would have been kind of boring.
Wallen is a Voice alumnus whose bio states that “the last song he performed during his run, a cover of Florida Georgia Line’s “Stay,” helped him steer him toward his creative destiny.” Truer words were never spoken: Nearly everything out Wallen’s debut single “The Way I Talk,” from the production to the vocals, just screams “FGL knockoff.” The one exception, however, is where FGL was in-your-face and polarizing, Wallen is more inoffensive and…well, bland.
FGL’s longtime producer Joey Moi also produced this single, and it shows: The production here is basically a slightly-slower version of “Cruise,” right down to the guitar tones and the flow of the beat. The guitar riffs are simpler here, and the energy level is toned down to better fit the song’s subject matter, but the result is that the song isn’t the earworm that “Cruise” was, and it gives off (for lack of a better term) a tired, almost sleepy vibe, which is not a good thing for a debut single to do.
Vocally, Wallen is a decent singer with some decent range and decent flow, but the only thing that stands out about him is that he sounds like a carbon copy of FGL’s Hubbard. While FGL’s path to success is certainly one worth following, in this case it keeps Wallen from developing his own identity as a vocalist. Unlike Hubbard, however, Wallen’s delivery is restrained to the point of feeling halfhearted, which keeps him from landing his punches and making the song stick in the listener’s mind. You won’t cringe when you hear Wallen sing (unlike you don’t like Hubbard), but you probably won’t remember him when he’s done either.
As for the lyrics…honestly, the song doesn’t seem to have a lot to say. It’s a thinly-veiled attempt to glorify the rural/”country” way of life (note the references to beer, college football, and not swearing in front of your elders, as well as the line “I just live the way I talk”) through the prism of the singer’s accent, but the images are so generic and the attitude is so restrained that it doesn’t leave any impression at all on the listener. Combine this with Wallen’s tepid delivery and Moi’s tired-sounding production, and you’re left with a debut that’s more sleep aid than single.
Overall, “The Way I Talk” is a snoozefest of a song that blatantly attempts to copy more-successful artists without demonstrating Wallen’s own strengths as a singer, which is about as poor a choice for a debut single as you can make. I have no problem with the way Wallen talks, but I wish he’d find something more unique and interesting to talk about.
Rating: 5/10. You won’t notice if you hear it, and you won’t miss anything if you don’t.