How Morgan Wallen’s ‘Whiskey Glasses’ became one of the year’s most unexpected hits

11/13/2019

Poor me,” Morgan Wallen wails on the opening line of “Whiskey Glasses,” stretching out the two-word phrase before he repeats it again with a completely different meaning — “Pour me another drink.”

It’s the kind of first lyric that grabs you right away and contains a clever twist, the ideal scenario for any country song. And for “Whiskey Glasses,” one of this year’s most unexpected hits, it has worked out quite well.

Not only has the upbeat breakup anthem gone platinum and earned 125 million streams on Spotify, it landed 26-year-old Wallen his second No. 1 hit: “Whiskey Glasses” topped the country radio charts for three weeks this summer, a rarity in a genre that quickly cycles through the songs at the top of the chart.

“There were a lot of cool things about the song that drew me to it pretty much immediately,” said Wallen, who is nominated for best new artist at Wednesday’s Country Music Association Awards. “The way it has blown up has been really crazy to see.”

“Whiskey Glasses” was written by Kevin Kadish — best known for co-writing some of Meghan Trainor’s biggest hits (“All About That Bass,” “Lips Are Movin”) and Jason Mraz’s “Wordplay” — and Ben Burgess, who has written for country stars from Dierks Bentley to Jake Owen. While a seemingly unlikely pair, Burgess theorized that’s why “Whiskey Glasses” worked. He dubbed himself, Kadish and Wallen “a crazy trifecta of wild dudes that are all uniquely different in our own way.”

Back in 2015, Burgess walked into a songwriting session with an idea for a song title typed into his phone: “Whiskey Glasses.” He didn’t know what it meant exactly, but Kadish was immediately intrigued. After all, there were lots of songs about beer goggles. Why not write one about whiskey glasses?

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