Maren Morris made a big impression with Hero, her 2016 debut. A set of cosmopolitan country songs that flirted with pop without abandoning the Texas native’s rootsy comfort zone, it won her a ton of fans, a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, a Saturday Night Live performance, and more.
Morris made an even bigger impression last year with “The Middle,” her single with electronic producers Zedd and Grey. The song was originally intended for a dozen other singers, most of them from the Top 40 pop realm, but Zedd correctly concluded that Morris brought something special to it. Her howling take on the lyrics was a perfect fit for the track’s mixture of punchy guitars, mammoth synthesizers, and an electronic beat that could almost pass for rock. “The Middle” soared to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, Morris’ best chart placement by far. It was a hit on the radio, it was a hit on streaming services, it was a hit everywhere.
So… is Maren Morris going pop? From the sounds of her new single “Girl,” out today, the answer is no. The song begins with a slow, steady guitar riff and blooms into a good old-fashioned country-rocker. It’s a super poppy version of country, but it’s hardly the sound of Morris abandoning Nashville for Hollywood. As for the lyrics, “Girl” is a gesture of comfort and empowerment. On the chorus, Morris sings, “Hey girl, don’t you hang your head low, don’t you lose your halo/ Everyone’s gonna be OK, baby girl.”
“Girl” is out now via Sony.