We’re coming off a summer of reactionary country hits, and Maren Morris isn’t having it. Morris, a huge country star, has lately become a passionate voice for liberal causes. This past summer, she performed at the massive Love Rising benefit in response to the anti-LBGTQ laws that were passed in Tennessee, and she’s been beefing with the likes of Tucker Carlson and Jason Aldean’s loudly transphobic influencer wife Brittany. Now, Morris has released a couple of new songs that metaphorically but specifically address her issues with the country industry, as it looks right now.
Maren Morris’ new tracks “The Tree” and “Get The Hell Out Of Here” are both breakup songs, with the implied message that she’s breaking up with Nashville. “The Tree” is a triumphant kiss-off written by country pros Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, and Robbins co-produced it with Greg Kurstin. On that one, Morris sings about moving out of the shadows and into the sun: “I hung around longer than anyone should/ You’ve broken my heart more than anyone could.”
“Get The Hell Out Of Here” is quieter, but it’s just as angry. Maren Morris co-wrote that one with Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, and Robbins co-produced it with Jack Antonoff. Once again, Morris sings about leaving, “I do the best I can/ But the more I hang around here the less I give a damn/ So to all the doubts and demons that I held so dear/ Go on, get the hell out of here.” The two songs come packaged together as an EP called The Bridge, with cover art that seems to show Morris hitchhiking out of town, and they mark her departure from Columbia Records’ Nashville division. Both songs have videos that play together as a continuous story, with Morris burning down a toy version of the mythic small town that Jason Aldean sang about.
Below, watch those videos and read what Morris says about the songs.
In a press release that studiously avoids naming any names, Maren Morris says:
The Bridge; a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent conditions.
These two songs are incredibly key to my next step because they express a very righteously angry and liberating phase of my life these last couple of years but also how my navigation is finally pointing towards the future, whatever that may be or sound like. Honoring where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved in country music, but also freely moving forward.
“The Tree” is about a toxic “family tree” burning itself to the ground. Halfway through, I realize it’s burning itself down without any of my help. This song evokes the pain of exhausting all your love and time for this person or “entity” but realizing it’s just a draining, transactional relationship that isn’t nourishing in any healthy way. By the end of the song, I give myself permission to face the sun, plant new seeds where it’s safer to grow, and realize that sometimes there IS greener grass elsewhere.
“Get The Hell Out Of Here” is the part two to the tree burning. Being quite literally burned out, this is a story of me feeling pulled in every direction, needing everyone else’s understanding and acceptance but my own and how self-destructive that ultimately became. I relinquish control of trying to change everyone’s mind or bad behavior and focus on my own power going forward. Doing the right thing can feel lonely at times, but there are more friends than foes, so I finally quit making myself one of them.
“I thought I’d like to burn it to the ground and start over,” Maren Morris also tells LA Times about country music. “But it’s burning itself down without my help.”
The Bridge is out now on Columbia.