Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: October 2nd 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Better Than We Found It
I reckon if I had a crystal ball and peered into the future, to see which artist would be on almost everyone’s playlists, and who’s songs would be on the lips of everyone who can sing or at least try to; it’d have to be Maren Morris. Frankly, I hadn’t heard much of Maren prior to hearing “The Middle” last year (first as a Cimorelli cover, then later on the original when the jewellery store opposite our café started playing the song on heavy rotation!), but last year (or was it early this year?) when I finally found out about her fame and her highly successful debut album Hero, not to mention her country/gospel infused debut single “My Church”; I realised that Maren was one of the artists that I needed to listen to, just to answer some questions my curiosity had- was she as good or better than “The Middle”, which was pretty popular but outside of her ‘genre’ of country?
Again, Maren wasn’t a Christian artist, although she has recorded a number of deep and meaningful tracks, and some could be viewed as Christian or spiritual when looking from a different point of view; but the philosophy of me listening to only Christian music went out of the window a couple of years ago, and particularly this year when Jon started on his new blog post about Most Influential Artists of all Time. Seeing as Jon didn’t include artists that were new and up and coming on his list, and he had a lot on his plate as it stood; I decided that because influential artists can rise up quite quickly over time, there needed to be a category of future influential artists. Maren, because of quite a lot of her relatable melodies and honest material, needed to be one of those artists, and that was how I stumbled across Maren’s brand-new album GIRL.
Maren Morris is one of the first artists I wrote about that wasn’t a Christian artist- which prompted me to delve deep and examine the preconceptions I had about Christian music in general and whether God only spoke through Christian music- or was he able to speak through all kinds of music, no matter the faith or lack thereof of the artist? If you want to know the history of how I connected with Maren’s music and her heartfelt songs which speak volumes- you can read the blog post from April 2019, as well as my review of GIRL– and let me tell you that though at the point of me writing the blog, I wasn’t a hard-core fan; I guess I kinda am now- and that’s all because of Maren’s latest single “Better Than We Found It”.
I wanted to write something to address exactly how I feel right now, and this came together pretty quickly. It’s a protest song. It’s the most American thing to protest, and protest songs have been so embedded in American culture: Bob Dylan, Nina Simone. I think the world right now is sort of in a perpetual mourning period, and I wanted to have a song that had weight but also had hope.
I still have hope for this country and for the future of it, and as a new mother I wanted to promise my son that I’m going to do everything in my power to leave this world better than the one I came into and the one I see right now.
With this song on the surface and seemingly being an emotional plea for Americans to vote in this upcoming election, the pseudo-political tune is essentially deeper than that, as Maren sings to all of us and encourages us all to be the kind of person and the change we long to see in the world- to leave the world better than we found it. A soft acoustic guitar ballad at heart, the track has themes similar to Danny Gokey’s “Better Than I Found It” and Britt Nicole’s “Be The Change”, as Maren passionately reiterates the questions she has and the things she doesn’t understand- ‘…when time turns this moment to dust, I just hope that I’m proud of the woman I was, when lines of tomorrow are drawn, can I live with the side that I chose to be on? Will we sit on our hands, do nothin’ about it? Or will we leave this world better than we found it?…’ With such substance and meat on this song, and enough to do a bible study about it (in my opinion), I’ll leave you with something I wrote about Maren a while ago in my blog series that I reckon still stands true right now. Maren Morris is an artist unashamed of her identity- and with this in-your-face song, she isn’t holding anything back. So go ahead, listen to this song, and be blessed. And yes, if it bothers you, and if the track ruffles some feathers- well maybe we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what we stand for and who we want others to see ourselves as. And let us all be the change we want to world to see. Well done Maren, I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for you next!
So I’ll leave you guys now, for you to check out Maren’s discography, so that you can be amazed just like I was, at how crazy good these tracks are. Maren has had a short career thus far, and though I reckon she will be more influential as the years and years progress, in terms of lives changed because of her songs, accolades, social media followers, and in terms of just being a brilliant role model to young kids, especially to young women, who are told to act in a certain way in music- but Maren is defying those preconceived ideas right now; right now she is in the time of her life- headlining her own tour and releasing an album that doesn’t really fit the mould of a country album, but who really cares anyway? Maren Morris is coming right at us, guys, so let’s be ready for this exquisite young songwriter who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it!
RIYL: Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, Maddie & Tae