Maren Morris' New Album Made Me Ugly Cry—But That's What She Wanted

By | March 9, 2019

Maren Morris’s new album GIRL is really, really good. That’s it. That’s the whole article.

Okay, obviously that’s not the whole article. But I’m too choked up over her new song “To Hell and Back” to talk about this GD thing without bawling my eyes out. Which is weird, because I’m definitely not a crier. Anyway, I hopped out of my feels for long enough to head to YouTube Space New York for Maren’s album launch to watch her perform and talk all about GIRL.

FYI, I mentioned that I feel like a wuss for crying every time I hear “To Hell and Back” and after a very enthusiastic “Yay!” Maren said that it’s totally fine, because she remembers crying when she wrote it. So, take that, random lady who judged me on the subway last week.


Maren performing “Girl” at the YouTube Music & Maren Morris Fan Experience.

Mike Coppola

Before we totally dive into the pastel-hued, dreamy universe that is GIRL, it’s probably important to address new Maren fans who landed here from “The Middle,” her hugely successful (read: Grammy award-winning) EDM collaboration with Zedd and Grey. You know, the bop that came out in the beginning of January 2018 and is still playing literally everywhere you go.

“If you liked ‘The Middle,’ it’s the same girl singing,” Maren jokes. “I don’t know. They’re completely different. But it is the same singer.”

But the bottom line is, if you’re looking for mainstream EDM, that’s not what you’ll find here. GIRL certainly feels like country, but the kind of country that inspires those tired (yeah, I said it!) memes about people who claim not to like country, but still lose their shit when they hear the opening “bum bum ba dum dum bum bum” of a certain Shania Twain song. But GIRL feels like a lot of other things, too.

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It will also make you feel a lot of things, to the point where you’ll be too distracted to have another arbitrary debate about genre. Which is kind of Maren’s end game, here. She grew up on Britney, Christina, Mandy Moore and the Spice Girls. But also J.Lo, Aaliyah and Toni Braxton…and anything her mom listened to, like The Cardigans.

“I mean, just anything that was catchy,” she says. Obviously, she doesn’t want to be stuck in a box.

Okay, so…this ALBUM! It made me laugh, cry and crave summer. It left me feeling like a hot mess, but that’s not to say it’s not pretty perfectly organized. Maren explains that the first and second parts of the album are “two halves of a whole.”

“The first part of the record is very introspective. It’s more about my opinion on the world and myself and music,” she says.

“It could really be the soundtrack to anything.”

The first half is the brutally honest stuff that Maren’s fans have always loved her for. On “Flavor,” she sings “Shut up and sing? Well hell no, I won’t,” which is totally her mantra. Although the song is unapologetically a self-described “mess straight out of scratch,” it’s the sunny-sounding stage-setter for all of her music.

The second half of the album is kind of uncharted territory, and by that I mean, it’s the mushy gushy ish. “This is the half of the album where I’m really speaking to my partner and embracing love, and I think the sexuality part of my life,” says Maren. (That partner, BTW is regulation hottie musician Ryan Hurd, who Maren married last spring.)

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So, if you’re looking for flirty lyrics you can use to caption the Instagram your group chat just green-lit, head for “RSVP” or “Make Out With Me.” If you’re looking for something romantic as hell, but surprisingly not sappy, hit up “To Hell and Back” or “Good Woman.” Oh, and, I’d just like to take a moment to predict that “The Bones” is about to be the song you hear at every reception this wedding season.

Although the inspiration for the album is deeply personal for Maren, it’s all super relatable in an “is Maren Morris the FBI agent staring at me through the webcam on my laptop?” kind of way.

“It could really be the soundtrack to anything. You having a bad day and needing to hear something empowering, or, it could be you having a great day and needing to hear something empowering,” she says.

Welp, I’m currently bopping my head around to “RSVP,” and even though I’m pretty sure “it’s an open invitation to an all-night situation if I’m where you want to be,” is supposed to be a sexy line, I’m having a rly gr8 time humming it at the container of dumplings I’m eating at my desk as I write this. There really is a Maren Morris song for everything.

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