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Devin Dawson’s “Dark Horse” is the Best Debut Album We’ve Ever Heard – Review

After Friday, your ears will be changed forever.

Photo by Jimmy Fontaine

All eyes have been on Devin Dawson ever since the release of his single “All On Me,” and he’s going to turn heads even more with the release of his debut album Dark Horse on Friday (January 19th).

CS Country had the opportunity to listen to the record from start to finish prior to its release, and no lie — it’s the best debut album we’ve heard from any artist.  Linking up with the uber-talented producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Little Big Town, Brothers Osborne) and co-writing all twelve tracks, each song is unique to Dawson’s sound and the production aligns with it perfectly.

Take a read at our track-by-track breakdown of the record below, and keep up with Dawson by following him on Instagram at @zdevin. If you like what you hear on Friday, you can catch Devin on the road with label mate Brett Eldredge for “The Long Way Tour.”

Warner Music Nashville

“Dip”- This song sets the tune for the whole album; it is slyly seductive and has a darker approach to it. The production on this song is perfect for the vibe that Dawson was going for. His prominent vocals, the warped instruments, and strong percussion produced an amazing opening song.

“All On Me”- This single has been out for some time and has made a huge impact on radio and country fans. His sexy voice pulls you in and keeps you along for the ride. The lyrics just run together so smoothly — it is quite enticing.

“Asking For A Friend”- What a heart-wrenching song! The mellow tune is one of our favorites off the album. This is one of those timeless songs that you cannot get enough of; the melody supporting the song is absolutely beautiful. We are obsessed with this tune.

“Second to Last” – Right off the bat you know this is going to be a unique song. We love this song because it is very different from your typical “country” song, as it carries out Dawson’s sexy draw. The darker instruments and forward percussion highlight the tone that he is going for. Can every artist start taking these risks when it comes to production?

“Symptoms”- Just wow. This is without doubt our favorite song off the album! We have listened to this song about a billion times, and each time we listen, we find something new about the song that makes it out of this world. Not only have the lyrics been perfected, but the way Dawson portrays them through his voice tells the perfect story… you can feel his emotions throughout the song. The reverb on his vocals makes the song seem larger than life. This is everything we needed and more from Dawson.

“I Don’t Care Who Sees”- The instrumentals behind this tune are very John Mayer sounding. We love every aspect of this song! It is one of the more upbeat songs off of the album, it breaks up the darker sound that Dawson mainly sticks to.

“Secondhand Hurt”- This song is so relatable to anyone who had to end a relationship because it was simply the best thing to do, but you still loved and cared for them. It portrays the pain behind ending a relationship and questioning one’s decisions.

“Placebo”- We anticipate this song taking over both country and pop radio. “Placebo” is such a clever song that we are keeping on repeat. There is an electronic feel behind the song that makes it different from the average country tune. This song overall is outstanding and has such a cool vibe to it.

“War Paint”- Dawson makes this song feel intense and strong, making it stand out on the album. The lyrics portray a powerful woman standing her ground. This song gets better each time you listen to it.

“I Can’t Trust Myself”- Once again, the production on this tune is outrageously amazing. This song emphasizes Dawson’s broad vocal range. We are in love with this song; it could not get better than this.

“Prison”- This song will take your breath away. This is a statement song that is more rock than country, and Dawson absolutely slays it. The power and intensity behind this song will stop you in your tracks.

“Dark Horse”- The title track is just stunning. Dawson perfected this song, the lyrics portray the personality behind the song and the instrumentals support the powerhouse of a vocalist.

Written by Isabel Baldinger

Isabel is an intern for Celeb Secrets Country. Originally from New Jersey, she is currently living the dream in Nashville while getting her degree in Music Business from Belmont University. If she is not in class or interviewing artists, she is at a concert, at Hotbox, hanging out with friends, traveling, lounging around at Tin Roof, or eating tacos.

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