The more the media props up an artist, the harder it is to like them. The authenticity starts to fade from the artist and it starts to feel like I’m being pitched a product rather than an artist with something genuine to say. I was a big defender of Maren Morris and her debut album HERO, as traditionalists threw unnecessary barbs and attacks at an album I found to be a fresh take on country pop. I’ve enjoyed Morris’ willingness to be blunt and honest in the face of uncalled for criticism.
But then something annoying has happened over the last year or so: the media started wrapping their tentacles around her so much, that I’ve essentially become fatigued on anything Maren Morris. She can’t take a dump without the media being there to document it and praise her. I don’t know for sure how much she’s had a role in this because well I don’t know her. But the country media has always had their darlings and recent years have been no exception (cough Brothers Osborne cough). And I know artists stoke this behind the scenes. So forgive me when I say Morris’ new single “GIRL” feels like catnip served right up to the media machine.
I don’t think you could better craft a more PR-friendly, headline-friendly, commercial PSA sounding song if you tried. Don’t get me wrong, the sentiment this song is signaling for is great. Inspiring women to be more confident and keep their head up in the face of hurdles, along with dismissing harmful comparisons of women is a message we should all get behind. But this song fails to actually deliver this message. It stays stuck in first gear the entire time and never says anything meaningful in regards to this important message. Maybe it sounds better in the context of the album, but as a single I’m just bored and left saying, “This is it?”. The production of this song does it no favors either, as it’s vanilla and banal.
Maren Morris can do better than “GIRL.” The media can do better at covering this song. This feels like the story of country music in recent memory: You can do better. Stop settling for half-baked mediocrity.
Songwriters: Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons & Greg Kurstin