Ever since "Whiskey Glasses" won over country and pop fans alike in 2018, Morgan Wallen's rode quite the wave of momentum.
An everyday people image comparable to that of Luke Combs (and punctuated by a '90s country mullet) mixes with songs written by Hardy, Jessi Alexander and other top-notch Nashville songwriters for one of Music City's most potent concoctions.
In between his exit from season six of The Voice in 2014 and his arrival as one of popular music's newest and brightest stars, Wallen wrote songs recorded by other artists. Wallen co-writes of note include A Thousand Horses' "Preachin' to the Choir" and Jason Aldean's "You Make It Easy."
Florida Georgia Line team-up "Up Down" jumpstarted Wallen's sprint to the top of country music in 2017, setting the stage for these five career-defining cuts from the Sneedville, Tennessee native's growing back catalog.
5. "More Than My Hometown"
Fans of country artists ranging from the late Hal Ketchum to Luke Bryan love a good small town flashback or analogy. Wallen adds something of value to that trend with this selection off Jan. 2021 release Dangerous: The Double Album (Big Loud Records).
4. "Cover Me Up"
This pick might elicit eye-rolls, but Wallen did a fine job covering one of his current favorites, Jason Isbell. Does he sing it better than Isbell? Heck no. But Wallen's version still proves his knack for bringing a story to life, be it a tale penned by an Americana idol or a party song ready-made for country radio.
3. "7 Summers"
This smooth blast of nostalgia bridges the gap between modern, pop-friendly country and solid AM gold. Wallen wrote one of 2020's best musical distractions from the COVID-19 pandemic with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. Bonus points for the song length and short film versions of its music video.
2. "Chasin' You"
"Chasin' You," the other single from 2018 album If I Know Me that's built around a whiskey analogy, further cemented Wallen as a equal to the farm town Casanovas ruling the airwaves.
1. "Whiskey Glasses"
Wallen's recurring Billboard chart success traces back to "Whiskey Glasses" (even if "Up Down" topped the US Country Airplay chart first and the proverbial cream would've risen to the top regardless). The Ben Burgess and Kevin Kadish co-write's undeniable earworm status started a journey that so far has included a CMA Award for New Artist of the Year and an appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Honorable mention picks: "The Way I Talk," "Still Goin' Down," "Livin' the Dream," "Somebody's Problem" and Diplo collaboration "Heartless."