Fourteen brand new, fresh songs from Maren Morris that we get to listen to on repeat and memorize each word as we all did when the took the country world by storm with her first album, Hero. There was a lot of high expectations for her sophomore album, due to the debut track, also titled “GIRL.” It’s no fluke that the title is in all caps. Every time Maren gets to the chorus she punches the word. It’s a show stopping girl power anthem, that country music never knew it needed.
The best thing about Maren is not only her talent — both her singing and songwriting — but her ability to blend the genres without making people think she’s gone to the pop world. “All My Favorite People” featuring Brothers Osborne easily can pass as a backroad, beer drinking on a Friday night jam. It’s fun to hear Maren have fun in a song. On the other side, we see a more soulful, R&B rhythm in “Make Out With Me.”
In fact, we have more love songs on this album, inspired by her marriage to Ryan Hurd who also co-wrote a number of songs with Maren. “To Hell & Back,” a love song written with her new husband in mind, tells a story of meeting someone who doesn’t feel the need to change you, but accepts you whole heartedly. (Really hoping they turn this into a duet.) Further proof that Maren is in a different place personally than when she was writing for Hero, is “The Bones” — a metaphor for a strong and enduring relationship.
Maren did sing the huge hit “The Middle” so it’s no secret that she’s capable of holding her own in a less than traditional country song, as she does in “RSVP.” The song delivers fun beats, that again shows more of an R&B feel. I was expecting Ne-Yo to jump in at any moment. “Flavor” is perhaps the best middle finger raising song I’ve heard. Unapologetically herself, Maren is “cooking up her own flavor” and any haters out there either need to accept it or listen to something else.
Back to the love songs. It’s a testament to Maren’s creativity and songwriting ability that she can write multiple songs with similar themes, but all in distinctly unique ways. And unlike on Hero, these are optimistic love songs. For example, “Great Ones” is such a confident song about love standing the test of time, making it through all the highs and lows that life brings. From “Good Woman,” reminding her partner that he will always have her support; to “Gold Love” which has the opposite story about her partner gets her through the tough times even if her “diamonds run of shine.”
While “Shade” is the final song, don’t think it doesn’t pack a punch. By the time we hit the second course, the guitars take off — as do Maren’s vocals. “The Feels” is a fun and flirty song that works great that works great with just a single guitar and then turns into the full band by the chorus.
With the help of Brandi Carlile, Maren takes you to church with “Common.” Their voices together is something to hear, not something that can be explained. “What’s your time machine, Springsteen, or Teenage Dream?” is how Maren begins “A Song for Everything.” A simple melody with lasting lyrics, this is when Maren Morris is at her best; taking a well-known truth and spinning it into a song that instantly becomes relatable to anyone who hears it.
I could go on and on. Trust me I could. But it’s probably better if you let the album speak for itself.