Monday, September 9th, 2019

Maren Morris – The Bones

Maren makes a pop play…


Katie Gill: Honestly, if it weren’t for that backing, I’d file this away as yet another attempt by Nashville to chase after pop music’s clout. But that minimalist guitar and that strong piano in the chorus set this apart from generic radio filler. Morris is having fun with this: the song builds up, layering piano, hand-claps, those ubiquitous country music snaps, building everything up to what should be a crescendo… but then she undercuts it, going back to that minimalist guitar. The song is still pretty hilariously trend-chasing and I suspect an EDM remix of this will make it’s way to #MostRequestedLive with Romeo at some point. But it honestly works wonders just the way it is.

Thomas Inskeep: The lyrics of “The Bones” are quite fine, but boy do I wish the song sounded a bit more country and a bit less low-key EDM. There’s a joke to be made about this song’s bones here, but I’m not gonna be the one to make it.

Joshua Lu: The central metaphor doesn’t feel fully fleshed out — why are there bones in this house? (Admittedly, “The Drywall” doesn’t have the same ring to it.) Maren Morris’s protean pipes save the song though, and she knows exactly when to mellow down into a lullaby and when to burst through with conviction. She feels at once both vulnerable and self-assured, her voice a warm embrace on a stormy night.

Michael Hong: Across Girl, Maren Morris jumped through various country and pop-adjacent styles, but “The Bones” remains a relatively low-key affair, and it’s all the better for it. Whether’s it’s the literal solid structure of the house that keeps it from blowing over or the relationship that withstands any challenge, it’s the foundation that keeps everything together and stops it from falling apart. Morris emphasizes this point by stripping the track to only its bare structure, her voice afloat over a looser guitar than “Girl” and finger snaps that slightly echo like they’re from the middle of a bare-bones building. Even on that final chorus when she ad-libs and emphasizes her raspier side, it’s still about that solid foundation. “The Bones,” as bare as it may be, stands out on an album of bright moments simply for its solid and sturdy songwriting.

Alfred Soto: Sheryl Crow and The Highwomen — she’s aiming for everywoman. The boom-clap precision of the beats, the multitracked vocal, and lyrical bromides position her as bumper music for a Christian talk show.

Katherine St Asaph: The problem is not that Maren Morris has gone pop. The problem is that the kind of pop she’s gone is Rachel Platten covering “Wolves.” I would really like to root for Morris musically as well as personally, but no matter how many new roads her career takes her down, she always manages to find the middle.

Josh Buck: I listened to the song for most of the summer, and it just hit me that the opening riff the song is built around reminds me vaguely of “Eastside” by Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid. I think Khalid is a good comparison to Morris’ work here. She has a stellar voice and has shown off some clever lyricism, but she seems to figuring herself out. Right now that seems to mean pleasing-enough, radio-friendly fluff. It doesn’t exactly play to her strengths in terms of voice or writing, but it’s an enjoyable enough listen, built around a delightfully down-home lyrical conceit. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The lyrical sentiment would’ve been more convincing if Morris saved the melismastic vocals for the chorus alone. What we get is singing that constantly points to how inspirational “The Bones” is meant to be. The instrumentation — from the staid piano chords to the “tasteful” inclusion of strings to the drums fit for stadium-sized Kumbaya — leaves one wishing for something less anthemic; it sounds more corporatized than anything else.

Stephen Eisermann: A lovely lyric on a familiar track that feels a little too lived-in by Maren, as if by the time she recorded this track she’d sung the song already thousands of times. “The Bones” isn’t bad by any means, it’s just nothing new; and with an artist of Maren’s caliber, I just want more. 

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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One Response to “Maren Morris – The Bones”

  1. Wow, the song averages today were almost identical (5, 5, 5.12)

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