Morgan Wallen isn't hedging his bets as he asks country radio to play his new single. "Sand in My Boots" is arguably the best songwriting on Dangerous: The Double Album album. Think of it as him going all in before the turn.

While Wallen has been serving up melancholy melodies since "Up Down" peaked in mid-2018 — "Whiskey Glasses," "Chasin' You," "More Than My Hometown" and "7 Summers" were released to radio in succession —  he has not quite delivered a sting like this Ashley Gorley, Josh Osborne and Michael Hardy co-write. "Sand in My Boots" relies on a believable conversation that starts with two people meeting in the first verse and ends with the singer being ghosted at the bridge. There's much more dialogue than you'll ever find on country radio playlists, something that's a testament to the trio of writers.

Less dialogue — or a cheaper conversation — would create a pretty mediocre experience, but with Wallen's vocal performance, he casts a slow-burning heartbreaker that's as effective and original as Keith Urban's "'Til Summer Comes Around." However, it's worth mentioning that that song — a favorite of both music critics and Urban's fans — moved up the charts slowed and stalled inside the Top 5.

"Sand in My Boots" is very much a canary in the coal mine for Wallen. If it's met with resistance from radio programmers and listeners — an unwillingness to embrace a comeback from this artist, who was effectively banned after he was taped using a racist slur earlier this year — then he's not likely to ever climb to No. 1 again. This song is truly his best chance.

Did You Know?: The last radio single Wallen didn't help write was "Whiskey Glasses."

Morgan Wallen's "Sand in My Boots" Lyrics:

She asked me where I was from / I said, 'Somewhere you never been to / Little town outside of Knoxville / Hidden by some Dogwood trees' / She tried talkin' with my accent / We held hands and waded into / That blue water / She left her flip-flops by my Red Wings on the beach.

Chorus:
Yeah, but now I'm dodging potholes in my sunburnt Silverado / Like a heart-broke desperado, headed right back to my roots / Somethin' bout the way she kissed me tells me she'd love Eastern Tennessee / Yeah, but all I brought back with me was some sand in my boots.

I said, 'Let's go shoot tequila / So we walked back to that beach bar / She said, 'Don't cowboy's drink whiskey? / So we drank bottom shelf / She said, 'Damn, that sky looks perfect / I said, 'Girl you've never seen stars like the ones back home' / And she said, 'Maybe I should see them for myself'

Repeat Chorus

I said, 'Meet me in the mornin’' / And she told me I was crazy / Yeah, but I still thought that maybe she'd show up

Repeat Chorus

Yeah, but all I brought back with me was some sand in my boots.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list.

Our team has sourced fans to create 10 superlatives for this mid-year version of the year-end songs list. Best Country Tearjerker? Best Country Baby-Maker? Best Country Breakup Song of 2021? Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Chris Bandi and more help make up this portion of the Top Country Songs list, while hitmakers like Thomas Rhett and Little Big Town lead the 10 best songs portion.

Did your favorite song of 2021 make this list? To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Breland and Triston Marez crack the Top 10. Let us know your favorite song of 2021 at Twitter or email, at staff@tasteofcountry.com.