Song Review: Dan + Shay, “All To Myself”

I can’t believe it! Against all odds, Dan + Shay have managed to make themselves sound even more generic!

As much as I find Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney’s style to be unoriginal, unemotional, and incredibly boring, I seem to be in the minority: With mediocre songs like “Tequila” and “Speechless” cracking the Top 25 of the Hot 100 (to say nothing of the country charts), the duo has perhaps the most momentum of any act outside the Luke Combs/Kane Brown orbit. Following the old adage “Don’t kill the golden goose,” the pair returns to the radio with “All To Myself,” the third single from their current self-titled album, and not only does the feel like the same darn song they’re always singing, but it has a more-overt “Metro-Bro” feel to it, making it one of their worst and most uninspiring songs yet.

You know it’s one of those songs the moment it opens with a slick electric guitar riff and a snap-track percussion line (in fact, it’s almost the exact same setup Old Dominion uses on “Written On The Sand,” which seems weird considering that’s a melancholy song). Despite the inclusion of a Spanish acoustic guitar and eventually a real drum set, and an attempt to make the mix brighter on the chorus, it never manages to shake that sleazy feel, and doesn’t even come close to the sexy vibe it’s shooting for. It’s got a little energy on the chorus, and the bridge solo from the acoustic guitar is a nice touch, but overall it’s too dark, too sketchy, and too generic to really make its mark on the listener. Seriously, this thing sounds like every awful Metro-Bro retread from the last two years, which is fine if you’re trying to blend out, but not if you’re looking to stand out.

After doing something a little different on “Speechless,” Mooney reverts to his usual Gary LeVox impression on this track, but the result isn’t any more interesting than before. The song keeps Mooney is his lower range for most of the time, and not only does he get a little breathy on the lowest valleys, but until the track lets him put a little emotion and power behind his words of the chorus (and only then at short, specific moments), he comes across as detached and uninvested in the whole thing. Just like on “Speechless,” Mooney sounds like he’s totally in love as the narrator, but I don’t feel one iota of romance from his delivery. (Also, where the heck is Smyers during all this? Brian Kelley is more noticeable on an FGL track than Smyers is here.) Instead of coming across as slick and straightlaced as the production, I would have liked Mooney’s performance to feel a bit more raw and emotional, and seen him get more opportunities to dial up some volume and power on the vocals. As it is, however, it’s just another run-of-the-mill Dan + (mostly) Shay performance, and just like the rest of their discography, I’m just not feeling it.

It the lyrics that mark the biggest departure from the duo’s recent material, and not in a good way: Instead of the awestruck, thank-their-lucky-stars narrator from Dan + Shay’s wedding fare (“Speechless,” “From The Ground Up”), this dude here has got one thing on his mind, opening the track by ogling the other person’s lower half and declaring that he wants them “all to myself” for some good ol’ fashioned hay rolling. Never mind how the other person feels about the whole thing, this meathead’s so horny he wants to drag them into bed right this very moment. (When they say their feelings “might be selfish,” my reaction is “Gee, ya think?”) It’s supposed to sound all sexy and romantic, but it falls far short of that mark: It’s just a list of things the narrator’s “jealous” of (the moon for staring, the song for being on their lips), and a play-by-play description of exactly what they’ll do between the sheets. Whoever wrote this junk was apparently not familiar with the concept of foreplay, because instead of setting the mood like a good sex jam, it skips right to the end to the story (“and they banged happily ever after”) and leaves the audience wondering “Is that all you’ve got?”

Country artists have a terrible track record when it comes to these sorts of sultry numbers, and “All To Myself” is yet another failure to add to the list. The production is generic and unimaginative, the lyrics are ham-handed and boorish, and Dan + Shay couldn’t have mailed in a performance better if they worked for UPS. Sadly, there’s a lot of money in mediocrity these days, and as long as the pair can keep cashing checks with lots of zeros, we’re going to keep hearing stuff like this on the airwaves. When a quality song like Kacey Musgraves’s “Rainbow” gets passed over for yet another sexless sex jam, it makes you wonder why you’re listening to the radio at all.

Rating: 4/10. They should’ve kept this song all to themselves.