Maren Morris is indeed moving away from the country music genre. She has expressed that she is distancing herself from this style because she sees it as a history of racism and misogyny in the country music industry and wants to honestly acknowledge and open doors for more diversity, inclusivity, and progress.
“These two songs are incredibly significant for my next chapter as they express not only a very angry and liberating phase in my life over the past few years but also what my navigation is ultimately pointing toward, whatever that may be or seem like,” Morris said in a statement. She added, “I honor where I am and what I’ve accomplished in country music but also am moving freely into whatever’s next.”
Morris’ video for “The Tree,” a track produced by Kurstin, demonstrates just how daring it is to move forward. In the powerful, symbolic-filled clip, the singer-songwriter is depicted waking up in a desolate, forsaken small town adorned with traditional lawn signs, including declarations like “Don’t Tread On Me,” “Go Vote Go Broke,” and “I Believe In God And Guns,” alongside a nod to the recent hit by country star Jason Aldean, “Try That in a Small Town,” which some critics argue glorifies racism and extremism.
Afterward, Morris, in search of signs of life amidst the city’s symbolism, wanders through tumbleweeds and boarded-up storefronts, attempting to water a potted plant through a watering hole. When the sharp roots of the plant wrap dangerously around her ankles, she concedes defeat and sets it on fire, only to realize – just as she’s about to ignite the tree – that it is already ablaze, with “the roots firmly in its trunk.” The problem. So, she simply walks away as the tree and the city around it burn.
Addressing the rural community, Morris stated, “I’ve filled in the chasmic cup below / and I’m yelling the truth at a liar / 10,000 hours in trying to beat roses / and I already sowed the seeds.”
In her statement, Morris explained, “‘The Tree’ is about burning on the ground of a ‘toxic’ family tree. At the halfway point, I realized it was burning without my help. The song exposes all the love and time you pour into a person or ‘entity’ that is not nourishing you whatsoever, but it also feels like a worn-out, transactional relationship that isn’t feeding you in any healthy way. By the end of the song, I am allowing myself to face the sun, plant new seeds where it is safe, and feel that sometimes somewhere, there is green grass.”
The second video, released on Friday for Antonoff’s-produced “Get the Hell Out of Here,” is the next installment after “The Bridge,” as Morris crosses a bridge and finds solace in a lush garden while fiery specters recede into the distant past and are trapped in ashes in the city. Morris described this track as being about “truly burning it all down” and said, “I can’t draw water from this sinking ship without my help. It’s futile.
Morris had described “Get the Hell Out of Here” as “a song about actually burning the ‘family tree’ that fuels a toxic relationship, that all love and time poured into a person or ‘entity’ not nourishing you at all, but also feeling like a tired, transactional relationship that isn’t feeding you in any healthy way. I let the sun meet me and sow new seeds where it’s safe, and it feels like sometimes somewhere, there’s green grass.”
The video for “Get the Hell Out of Here,” produced by Antonoff, further amplifies the message of burning it all down and Morris focusing on her power to move forward. “Sometimes loneliness can feel more profound than changing anyone’s mind or behavior, so I’ve stopped trying to change anyone and focused on my power to move forward. Doing the right thing can sometimes feel lonely, but there are more allies than enemies, so ultimately, I’ve stopped trying to make one out of myself.”
Morris described “Get the Hell Out of Here”to the Los Angeles Times as “truly burning it all down” and said, “I can’t draw water from this sinking ship without my help. It’s futile. It’s bliss I chose.
Morris’ music videos are the visual images of her development as an artist and her desire to move in a direction consistent with who she is. Morris, unlike most people who see her departure from country roots as controversial, understands that change is a necessity and sets out on an entirely new path to the music business.