“The Bones” is a perfect pop song, with more country-flavoured lyrics layered on top of groovy, innovative melodies. An interesting trend that I’ve noticed is Morris’s tendency to cop out of a bridge on those collaborations with Kurstin. I never thought of a strong, developed bridge as being part of country song-writing, but apparently to Morris it is. I guess in a pop song, a bridge doesn’t really matter. Her voice sounds strong and comfortable, and the chorus is infectious. If Morris decides to actually jump headfirst into pop music, this should be her first solo single to pop radio.
While “All My Favorite People” is the best song on the record, the most interesting one, especially if you’re looking at just the lyrics, is her collaboration with Brandi Carlile. Coming from a country music background, Morris has been careful when approaching politics in her song, but she doesn’t shy away altogether. The result is a song like this that’s just vague enough that causal listeners may miss the meaning, but it’s obvious to people who care enough to really listen. It feels like a pop remake of a 60’s protest song for peace, with the hook, “We’ve got way too much in common / so what’s the point in fighting.” And Carlile is just a goddess, so her vocals on this song add a soulful, authentic layer on top of Morris’s more pop-oriented and processed vocals.
Speaking of those mediocre tracks, a lot of them sound like Kehlani cuts that didn’t make the record, done with a little bit more rootsy instrumentation. Specifically, “RSVP” sounds like it accidentally made it on the record. Morris can do this kind of music well, but I think for these to be truly impressive she needs to go fully into this type of music. These tracks are scattered around the more acoustic tracks and full pop songs, in a way that they easily get lost. “Flavor” sounds like a future Top 40 hit, with a Maren Morris spin, but the “just gonna do me / you don’t have to listen” seems like a weird call out of the definite criticism that this record was going to have. Halfway through the record, she plops a song that pointedly attacks the people who will criticize the genre of the album. It’s smart, but the song feels tired. The record itself is enough; she didn’t have to spell it out so plainly. “A Song for Everything” approaches being a really good song, but I think the title kills it for me. If she had been more subtle in the idea of music being woven throughout our lives, I think this song would have been really successful. But “A Song For Everything” feels a little Radio Disney Country.
Read at vibbidi.net.