Album Review: ‘Girl’
By Danielle Carson
Maren Morris’ most recent album, “Girl,” defies all of the same aspects that made her country in her previous (and most successful) album, “Hero.” However, “Girl” endeavors to show Morris’ more creative and upbeat side.
She told Cindy Watts from Harald Mail Media that “Girl” is her “grown-up” album, picking up where “Hero” left off with her variation of instrumentation and style, the lyrical depth (or lack thereof) and what she chose to write about in this new record.
Maren Morris has been paving the way for women in the country music industry and also for the standard of what country music is now.
Instead of sticking with classic country instrumentation, with plenty of acoustic guitar, bass guitar and, of course, the violin or steel guitar tossed in the solos, she plays with more technology in the new album.
“The Bones,” one of the last tracks on the album, immediately has a James Bay resemblance; the solitary instrument in the beginning transitions to more of a pop beat and climatic emphasis in the choruses with electronic piano.
Her pop influences are prevalent all throughout the album because of the tempo and beat patterns and also the lyrical choice.
It’s no question that Morris has enough lyrical talent to pass around, as seen in several other albums and collaborations with other artists, such as the award-winning chart topper “The Middle” with Zedd.
However, the depth seems to be lost in her newest album, but for a good cause.
Not only was this album a new start for her peaking career, but also it was part of a spark of a recent movement in the country industry in which women are starting to gain a voice. In songs such as “Flavor,” instead of putting a clever and witty twist to the lyrics, she comes right out with the way she is and intends to be, with lyrics such as “I’m cooking up my own flavor / even if it ain’t your style / You only see one layer / Original could take a little while.”
Her use of play-on-words still has its appearance throughout the album; in “Flavor,” she writes “Yeah I’m a lady / I make my dough.”
Her subject matter definitely changed from her last album, “Hero”, when she chose to write more about coming out of heartbreak and prophesized success, most likely influenced by her recent marriage and several awards in country and pop music.
Of course, cultural influences and societal movements inspired songs like “Flavor,” “All My Favorite People” and the title track of the album, “Girl.”
Her love life songs are no doubt positive and almost never speak of heartbreak in the tracks “The Feels,” “Make Out with Me,” “Gold Love,” “RSVP,” “Good Woman” and “Shade.”
The biggest differences between “Hero” and “Girl” dealt with the consistency of style and lyrical depth throughout the two.
In fact, Morris admitted to several media outlets that “Hero” was a kind “trial album” to test and see what she enjoyed best and what her fans enjoyed most.
“Hero” is filled with pop, classic country, modern country / pop and even a little “beach country” with a Jake Owen tone in the songs “Company You Keep” and “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry.”
The length between the albums is also a major difference; “Hero” only had five tracks, which could qualify it as an Entertainer Press Kit (EPK) rather than a full album.
“Girl,” however, had a disc full with fourteen tracks.
Considering all of these differences, I believe Morris is a conscientious writer with enough talent to spread between genres but enough awareness of the impact her music and career has on the world to make aesthetic choices that better fit her fans and, in turn, herself.
I rate this album four out of five stars.