I have to admit, no one can take a topic and make it sound as boring as possible quite like Morgan Wallen.
I’m going to level with you: I still have absolutely no idea what people see or hear in Wallen. String Thirty-Five has a thorough analysis of how Wallen drives engagement through social media, but how or why his music connects with listeners in the first place remains an open question. His last single “Whiskey Glasses” was a lifeless, whiny lament that nonetheless hit #1 on Billboard’s airplay chart and cracked the Top 20 on the Hot 100, and much like “Up Down” (which remains the most-viewed review in the blog’s history), my “Whiskey Glasses” review is already at #4 on my all-time list. (For what it’s worth, Luke Combs holds both the #2 and #3 slots. …Wait, what’s Jake Owen doing at #5?!) Now, Wallen is back with “Chasin’ You,” the fourth single from his If I Know Me album, and it’s the same old story: Although it’s a more-measured and more-active take on life after love, it’s no more compelling or memorable than anything else he’s released.
The production here is a bit too restrained and paint-by-numbers for its own good, and only really succeeds in lulling the listener to sleep. The drums may be real and the guitars may sound more like amped-up acoustic axes instead of electric ones (there’s a keyboard/organ floating around in the background as well), but there’s absolutely zero atmosphere established or energy created. The quiet, simplistic arrangement (not even the guitar solo moves the needle) and the slower tempo makes this thing plod even worse than “Whiskey Glasses,” and while the frequent minor chords and darker instrument tones reflect the narrator’s melancholy and suit the writing well, they make the song feel less catchy and captivating, and only make the audience think about all the other songs they’d rather be listening to. Wallen’s had some surprising success thus far, but he’s really pushing his luck with this snorefest.
Similarly, as a vocalist Wallen has the incredible ability to make me care less about any topic he chooses to cover. His range and flow are as tolerable and uninteresting as they’ve ever been, but it’s his utter lack of charisma that continues to trip him up. The good news is that he doesn’t sound nearly as whiny or petulant as he did on “Whiskey Glasses,” but while I don’t actively dislike the narrator this time around, I don’t find them to be believable or sympathetic either. The dude kinda-sorta feels bad about losing his partner way back when, but Wallen’s delivery is so limp and weak that it obscures his true feelings on the matter (is this just a nostalgic reflection, or is this breakup still bothering him?), and certainly doesn’t convince the audience to share in his feelings. (Give this to any other singer in the genre, and it would probably sound better than it does here.) Frankly, Wallen doesn’t make me care one iota about the narrator’s pain, and I just wish he’d stop talking about it.
The story here falls somewhere between Eric Church’s “Round Here Buzz” and Combs’s “She Got The Best Of Me”: The narrator lost a partner who had big dreams of a better life in the big city, and has been chasing…well, to be honest I’m not exactly sure what this guy is chasing. Is it the women herself, or is it the young-love thrill the pair captured way back when? He namechecks the latter (“chasing that freedom, chasing that feeling”) and mentions that he’s sleeping with lots of different people in the women’s absence, but the song itself seems sort of pointless if it’s not the former (he seems to be using it to reach out to his old flame specifically). On the plus side, I often ding narrators for sitting back and whining about problems instead of going out and trying to solve them, so this person deserves a little credit for at least going “as far as get Guitar Town” and trying to use his music to continue the search. Beyond that, however, this is the “same old lost-love story” with the same old sepia-colored images and activities and a groan-inducing”chasin’ you” hook that goes exactly where you expect it to, and when you combine it with a bland sound and Wallen’s off-putting delivery, you get a 3:25 song that overstays its welcome by at least three minutes.
“Chasin’ You” is nothing more than unappetizing radio filler, and while that actually constitutes an improvement for Morgan Wallen, it’s not enough to make this song worth listening to. With boring, generic production, a boring, generic story, and flaccid vocals that can only dream of being boring and generic, I can only recommend this track as a non-habit-forming sleep aid. Social media may be the new path to stardom in country music, but at some point a lack of quality content will catch up to you.
Rating: 5/10. Chase this one off of your playlist.