Maren Morris is finally calling it quits on the country music scene.
The pop country artist released a two-track EP today titled The Bridge, and both songs put her feelings all out on the table with direct lyrics (and even more direct videos) leaving little to the imagination.
The EP is also released under Columbia Records, signaling her official departure from the Columbia Nashville country music subsidiary she has been on for her previous albums.
The songs highlight two parts of a story, with accompanying music videos. She says:
“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.”
Maren also took to Instagram to vividly outline the meaning of the two songs.
The first, titled “The Tree” is essentially voices Maren’s exit from the country music community, which according to an interview with The Los Angeles Times, she:
“I thought I’d like to burn it to the ground and start over… but it’s burning itself down without my help.”
The music video features this quaint little town with various signs that read “Go Woke, Go Broke,” “I Believe In God & Guns,” as well as a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag… an obvious shot at Jason Aldean and his “Try That In A Small Town” notion of small town life.
Maren explains the song as follows:
“I wrote this on the 10 year anniversary of my moving to Nashville. It’s 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.”
Of course, that “entity” she speaks of is country music.
Of the second song, titled “Get The Hell Out Here,” she says:
This is the aftermath of 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 faith 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.”
This is nothing new from Morris, who hasn’t been afraid to speak out against country music in the past few years. She also hasn’t been afraid to speak for the entire genre either, apologizing on its behalf, on a number of different occasions.
Morris also hasn’t been afraid to speak out against her country music peers over the years as well, most recently making headlines for her feud with Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany. The battle started over an Instagram caption Brittany posted, which Morris considered transphobic.
The two women got into a wild social media battle, creating merch out of each other’s statements (and creating a significant revenue from both sets of merch.
While Morris has been vocal about her issues with the Nashville country music scene, The Bridge, is her finally walking across it… leaving country music behind her.
Morris noted the following in a Los Angeles Times interview when asked about her association with the Nashville country scene:
“The further you get into the country music business, that’s when you start to see the cracks. And once you see it, you can’t un-see it. So you start doing everything you can with the little power you have to make things better…
If you truly love this type of music and you start to see problems arise, it needs to be criticized. Anything this popular should be scrutinized if we want to see progress.
But I’ve kind of said everything I can say. I always thought I’d have to do middle fingers in the air jumping out of an airplane, but I’m trying to mature here and realize I can just walk away from the parts of this that no longer make me happy.”
She blames Donald Trump for empowering a new branch of racist and misogynistic “hyper masculine” country music:
“After the Trump years, people’s biases were on full display. It just revealed who people really were and that they were proud to be misogynistic and racist and homophobic and transphobic.
All these things were being celebrated, and it was weirdly dovetailing with this hyper-masculine branch of country music. I call it butt rock.”
She adds that she feels betrayed by country music, and this new chapter of music is the result of that:
“These songs are obviously the result of that… the aftermath of walking away from something that was really important to you and the betrayal that you felt very righteously.
But also knowing there’s a thread of hope as you get to the other side.”