If country music is three chords and the truth, as that old saying goes, the chords are the easy part. Maren Morris knows that, anyway, on her new single, “Circles Around This Town.” “I drove circles around this town / Tryin’ to write circles around this town,” she sings in the chorus. “Tryin’ to say somethin’ with meaning / Somethin’ worth singing about.” The song reflects on the beginning of her career, when she left Texas for Nashville (in a car with a busted air conditioner, she sings) to become a songwriter and, eventually, one of the biggest stars currently in country music. “Couple hundred songs, and the ones that finally worked / Was the one about a car and the one about a church,” she sings, referencing her 2016 debut single “My Church” and follow-up “80s Mercedes.” The song’s music video finds Morris’s character contemplating the leap to go to Nashville, prompted by a TV infomercial and a message in a bowl of cereal, among other signs along the way. In a press release, Morris added that she recreated her teen bedroom for the video. “‘Circles Around This Town’ is my story, so I felt like I truly got to relive my journey from Texas to Nashville again,” she said.
The song comes ahead of anticipation for a new album from Morris, who last released her sophomore effort, Girl, in 2019 (and teased something for 2022 on Instagram in December). Since then, she co-formed country supergroup the Highwomen and earned multiple CMA and ACM Awards for her Girl single “Bones.” In 2021, she released collaborations with everyone from Taylor Swift on the Fearless (Taylor’s Version) vault cut “You All Over Me” to her husband Ryan Hurd on his song “Chasing After You.”