Behind the Meaning of Morgan Wallen’s Hit Song, “You Proof”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Morgan Wallen is currently enjoying a six-week run at the top of the country charts with “You Proof.” The mid-tempo hit finds Wallen at the bar trying to find something strong enough to drown out his ex-fueled sorrows. The song’s success not only attests to Wallen’s ability to pen himself a chart-topper but also pushed him one step further into pop crossover success.

“We’re having our Garth Brooks moment, our Taylor Swift emergent moment,” Seth England, the chief executive of Big Loud, recently said in an interview, “of just an artist so big, everyone is getting used to it. Pop is short for popular culture, and he just is popular culture.”

If you’ve tuned into country radio in the past month, odds are you’ve heard Wallen’s voice ring out over the speakers singing, I’ve been throwin’ down the whiskey / I oughta get my money back. Let’s go through the origins and the meaning behind “You Proof” below.

Origins

“You Proof” is the first teaser of what is presumably the follow-up effort to his lauded second album, Dangerous: The Double Album. Wallen wrote this song with frequent collaborators Ashley Gorley, Ernest K. Smith, and Charlie Handsome.

Smith contributed 11 tracks to Wallen’s record-breaking album, Dangerous. Gorley also penned three tracks on Dangerous, including the single “Sand In My Boots.” Handsome, the song’s producer, primarily works with R&B acts but has dipped his toe into country music previously on Kane Brown’s “Be Like That” and Florida Georgia Line’s “I Love My Country.”

Meaning Behind The Lyrics

Nothing the bartender has in store is doing it for Wallen. The country star is haunted by the memory of an ex-lover and heads to his local dive to do some liquid therapy. The shots have been startin’ up a buzz. He’s throwing back doubles. Nothing is quite doing the trick. The whiskey might be 100 proof but nothing is quite as strong as the memory of her.

Yeah, I’ve been throwin’ down the whiskey
I oughta get my money back
And someone said it drowns a memory
Ah, but it ain’t doing jack
Yeah, I’ve been sippin’, I’ve been buzzin’
Shootin’ doubles like it’s nothin’
Ah, but nothin’ makes you go away

I need something you proof
Somethin’ stronger than I’m used to
Yeah, I’ve been pourin’ ninety to a hundred
Feel like nothing’s gonna cut it, that’s the hard truth
Yeah, I need something you proof
Oh, I need something you proof

Music Video

Wallen surprised his fans by sharing the accompanying video for “You Proof” earlier this month. “Label sent me the link to ‘You Proof’ video. They wanna wait til Monday to drop… but I don’t. here’s the link,” he wrote on social media alongside an unlisted YouTube link.

The Justin Clough-directed clip was filmed in Humphreys County, Tennessee, and features Wallen alongside actress/DJ Charly Jordan. The visual starts with Wallen arriving at a convenience store as his imagination takes over and his past lover takes the wheel and drives the duo through town. Later he jumps from the car and pulls himself out of the dream state and back into reality. Check it out below.

Photo by John Shearer / EBMedia

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