“We think we delivered our best album of our career so far,” Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers tells Apple Music of Good Things, which follows the pop-country duo’s 2018 smash self-titled third album. That may sound like a bold statement, but Smyers and bandmate Shay Mooney certainly deliver the hits on Good Things, which features massive singles like “Glad You Exist,” “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” and the Justin Bieber-assisted pop crossover “10,000 Hours,” which won the duo a Grammy at the 2021 ceremony and shattered streaming records upon its release. While the COVID-19 pandemic halted touring, the time off gave Smyers and Mooney an unexpected amount of time to round out the LP. “We were able to dive in like we would on our first album and just spend every waking minute of the day,” Smyers says, “really, really refining it and making it the best that we possibly could.”
Fans of the duo’s infectious, hook-laden take on commercial country will have plenty to dig in to on Good Things, thanks both to Smyers’ production and musicianship (he plays many of the instruments across the LP) and Mooney’s inimitable voice. The title track boasts a sneakily complex arrangement, with layer upon layer of harmony vocals making for a massive earworm of a chorus. “Lying” sonically channels Mooney’s roots singing in church. And “Body Language,” a catchy, clever co-write with pop superstar Shawn Mendes, is sure to be another crossover success for the duo. Below, Mooney and Smyers walk Apple Music through several key tracks on Good Things.
“Good Things” Dan Smyers: “‘Good Things’ was actually the first song that we ever wrote on Zoom, which is crazy to say. We wrote that on Zoom with a couple of friends of ours, Ashley Gorley, Jason Evigan, and Ross Copperman. It brought us back to the old days of when we moved to Nashville, writing with just an acoustic guitar. Somebody has a title or a concept and you start writing down words and coming up with melodies, rather than what it's evolved to where there's a fully produced track that happens first. Nothing against that, we love doing that too, but it just brought us back to basics and allowed us to really focus on the words and the narrative of the song.”
“Body Language” Shay Mooney: “We actually wrote that with our friend Shawn Mendes. You might've heard of him. He's a very, very talented human being, one of the best-looking guys around, I would have to say. Shawn is one of the most talented people on planet Earth. He is absolutely involved and he's very hands-on with the process of writing. We got in there with just an acoustic guitar. Dan always has these cool, quirky titles in his phone where he'll say them halfway through the write sometimes and we're like, ‘That's amazing, dude. Why didn't you say that at the beginning?’”
“Lying” Smyers: “‘Lying’ is one of the most fun songs on the album. Shay grew up singing in the church, so a lot of that gospel influence is definitely very present in that song. We had our friends Andy Albert and Jordan Reynolds out on the road with us. We were playing at a festival or a county fair somewhere in the Midwest, and we had this little trailer. I don't even know if it had power outlets, it was just this trailer sitting out there in the middle of the dirt, and we pulled up the laptop and Jordan played this little riff, this piano thing. And then we started to freestyle that chorus. It just poured out of us really quickly and we were like, ‘This is something.’”
“Glad You Exist” Mooney: “That song was very special from the beginning. We actually wrote this before COVID had hit. We had written the song and Dan had that title—it was something that he was saying in everyday life. It's a tough sentiment to write with a title like that. And it's hard to write those songs sometimes because it's very universal. It's ambiguous and people can relate to it in their own way, which is very special when you can pull that off. And we just wanted to spread some love and positivity. A lot of people don't necessarily have the right words to say, and sometimes a song is just what they need when they need that encouragement.”
“10,000 Hours” (with Justin Bieber) Smyers: “That was the first song that came out off the album, which, with the success of that song, it really set us off on the right foot. It propelled everything for us and expanded our music into places that we'd never been to before, and we're very grateful for that. That song came about when we were hanging out in Nashville and I had the title on my phone, ‘10,000 Hours.’ We were trying to figure out how we could make that into a love song. How can you relate that to somebody or to a relationship? And it was about learning someone, learning about your significant other. They say it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something or to learn a new skill. And the song is just about wanting to know more, or wanting to learn everything there is to know about your significant other or somebody that you care about.”
“I Should Probably Go to Bed” Mooney: “This was around the same time that we wrote ‘Glad You Exist.’ We were in LA right before the Grammys and we had had this little riff and this idea of ‘I should probably go to bed,’ and we didn't finish it. Then, 2020—the pandemic struck and we got three shows in and the rug was pulled out from under everybody. Dan and I quarantined for what felt like a year and a half and it was probably three or so months. We didn't get to see each other for that whole entire time. We got back together and we had that moment of just like, ‘Man, I'm very thankful for you. Let's sit down and just let's jam out for a second.’ Dan sat down on the piano and he started playing the ‘I Should Probably Go to Bed’ riff and it was just like, ‘Whoa, man, this song is really cool.’”