Song of the Day #3,926: ‘To Hell & Back’ – Maren Morris

Maren Morris is having a moment. The Nashville singer is coming off of the top five smash ‘The Middle’ (with producer/DJ Zedd) and just dropped ‘GIRL,’ her second full-length album to high sales and critical acclaim.

I didn’t spend a lot of time with Morris’ debut album, Hero, though I liked it well enough. I’m enjoying Girl a lot more.

Morris lives a bit in the shadow of Kacey Musgraves. In my write-up of Hero I mentioned that I didn’t hear enough to set her apart from Musgraves at the time. And now this album comes out after Musgraves has nabbed an Album of the Year Grammy and dominated much of the musical conversation.

I regret looking at Morris through that lens back then. Why shouldn’t there be room for two pop savvy, millennial, female country artists? I recently heard an NPR segment on the difficulty faced by female performers trying to get their music played on country radio, where the answer they often hear is “we already have a song by a girl in rotation; we can’t add another.”

And yes, “girl” is how those programmers refer to the fiercely talented women trying to find an audience for their work. Which makes Morris’ album title a bit of subversive commentary on the retro mindset of her genre.

Girl is a country album, no question, but it has enough elements of pop and R&B to give it strong crossover potential. Artists like Morris and, yes, Musgraves, are expanding the definition of country music both musically and thematically in very exciting ways. My favorite songs on this album could be credibly recorded by anyone from Bonnie Raitt to Rihanna.

I’m not going to make the mistake I did with Morris’ previous album. I expect to have this Girl in heavy rotation.

[Verse 1]
Smoke was coming off my jacket and you didn’t seem to mind
I left a long trail of ashes and you said, “I like your style”
Now, heartbreak ain’t a competition, but I took it in a landslide
The skeletons I wanted to bury, you liked out in the light

[Chorus]
You didn’t save me
You didn’t think I needed saving
You didn’t change me
You didn’t think I needed changing
My wings are frayed and what’s left of my halo’s black
Lucky for me, your kind of heaven’s been to Hell and back
To Hell and back

[Verse 2]
I wonder how you treasure what anyone would call a flaw
You say a pearl without the pressure wouldn’t be a pearl at all
When my demons come a-callin’, you don’t even bat an eye
I don’t scare you, and I guess that’s why

[Chorus]
You didn’t save me
You didn’t think I needed saving
You didn’t change me
You didn’t think I needed changing
My wings are frayed and what’s left of my halo’s black
Lucky for me, your kind of heaven’s been to Hell and back
To Hell and back

[Bridge]
Smoke was coming off my jacket
And I left a long trail of ashes

[Chorus]
You didn’t save me
You didn’t think I needed saving
You didn’t change me
You didn’t think I needed changing
My wings are frayed and what’s left of my halo’s black
Lucky for me, your kind of heaven’s been to Hell and back
Lucky for me, your kind of heaven’s been to Hell and back
To Hell and back
To Hell and back

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,926: ‘To Hell & Back’ – Maren Morris

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    “The Middle” was definitely catchy stuck in your mind stuff. Sounds like this is a record worth checking out.

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