Review – Dan + Shay’s “How Not To”


Dan + Shay is a duo I haven’t exactly clamored for in my reviews and comments regarding their music. Upon their arrival they just didn’t look or sound like a country duo. Their carefully curated looks combined with their slick, pop leaning music didn’t really fit the country mold. But upon the release of their sophomore album Obsessed, I’ve sort of turned a corner on these two. Maybe it’s because they don’t sound exactly like Rascal Flatts anymore, making some slight tweaks that have went a ways in improving their music. I think their newest single and third off Obsessed, “How Not To,” demonstrates this. Adding hints of steel guitar throughout the song, most notably in the intro is a nice little touch. While the production and instrumentation still leans more pop, this is pop country I can at the very least not dislike. In fact it’s kind of decent. The song itself is about a man who is coming off a breakup and can’t shake the memory of his ex off his mind. He just doesn’t know how to go on without her and struggles with this desperate wanting. The duo keeps it simple and it works really good. Not to mention the hook of the song is catchy and will stick with you. And hey this actually has some tempo! This immediately makes this song stand out amongst the rest of the snooze fest that is country radio right now. Dan + Shay’s vocals are still too slick for my liking, but that’s just something that isn’t going to change and part of their sound. While I still wouldn’t exactly say I’m a fan of this duo, for pop country these guys are alright. I’ll take songs like “How Not To” over the majority of singles sent to country radio. Dan + Shay won’t be winning over the traditional crowd anytime soon, but they’re carving out a nice spot amongst pop country fans.

Grade: 6/10


Recommend? – Yes, for pop country fans. No, for traditionalists.

Note: The music video is a compelling look at overcoming addiction. It’s fantastic and recommended to all. Great work by all of those involved in it and definitely could prove to be a worthy candidate of best country music video of the year at the award shows.


Written by Adam Hambrick, Paul DiGiovanni and Kevin Bard

13 thoughts on “Review – Dan + Shay’s “How Not To”

  1. Amanda January 23, 2017 / 11:03 am

    I love traditional country, but I also like my fair share of pop country. This isn’t bad at all. I agree with you, Josh. 6 out of 10 for me.


    • seak05 January 23, 2017 / 11:13 am

      agree, also, regardless of your type of country leanings, everyone should see the video once.


      • Amanda January 23, 2017 / 1:13 pm

        The video is pretty damn cool! I like it.


  2. Kevin Davis January 23, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    I agree. This is upping the standards of pop-country, which admittedly means not singing about “blowing up my phone.” I applauded “From the Ground Up” for its lyrical depth, albeit with a heavy dose of sentimentality (not always a bad thing). So, I might have to give these guys a chance. Mostly when I’m in a pop-country mood, I listen to Juice Newton!


  3. OlaR January 23, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    “Adding hints of steel guitar throughout the song, most notably in the intro is a nice little touch.”

    Hints of steel guitar in a country song? Impressing!
    (Un)-Popular Opinion: two guys too bad (or untalented) for pop music make it big in Nashville. “How Not To” is soap-opera-pop for soccer moms. (1/10)


    • Raymond January 23, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Hey Olar, you should at the very least check out the music video.

      As many people have said it’s very great!


  4. jess January 23, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    originally thought this was a lame song, video changed my mind. With the video, agree- 6/10


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