Hero (Maren Morris album)

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Hero
Maren Morris - Hero album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 3, 2016 (2016-06-03)
Recorded2015–16
Genre
Length37:49
LabelColumbia Nashville
Producer
Maren Morris chronology
Maren Morris EP
(2015)
Hero
(2016)
Girl
(2019)
Singles from Hero
  1. "My Church"
    Released: January 19, 2016
  2. "80s Mercedes"
    Released: June 27, 2016
  3. "I Could Use a Love Song"
    Released: March 27, 2017
  4. "Rich"
    Released: February 12, 2018

Hero is the major label debut studio album by American singer Maren Morris, released on June 3, 2016, through Columbia Nashville. It marks Morris' first release on a major label and her fourth overall. The album debuted and peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 chart[2] and was nominated for Best Country Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.[3] It received mostly positive reviews from music critics and is considered by many publications as one of 2016's best albums.[4]

Background[edit]

In August 2015, Morris self-released five songs as a self-titled extended play, Maren Morris, on Spotify.[5] The songs garnered 2.5 million streams on Spotify in a month, with three songs appearing in Spotify's US and Global "Viral 50" chart. The success of Morris' EP attracted the interest of major labels and she eventually signed to Columbia Nashville in September 2015.[6] The label then re-released the 5-song EP on November 6, 2015, with "My Church" as the lead single.[7]

"My Church" would become a success on the chart, reaching number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart. The success of "My Church" was followed by the release of the Morris' first major label album release, Hero.[7] The songs from the EP are included in this album release with the exception of "Company You Keep". The additional songs in the album were co-written with Chris DeStefano, Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, and others.[8] Morris has writing credits on all the songs in the album.

Release and promotion[edit]

The album's lead single, "My Church", was released on January 19, 2016. The album's second single, "80s Mercedes", was released to country radio on June 27, 2016. The album's third single, "I Could Use a Love Song" was released to country radio on March 27, 2017.[9] "Rich" was released February 12, 2018 as the album's fourth single.[10]

Morris embarked on the Hero Tour in 2017, in support of her album.[11]

A deluxe edition of the album was released on March 17, 2017. It features the songs "Bummin' Cigarettes", "Space" and "Company You Keep".[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
PopMatters7/10[13]
Spin7/10[14]

Hero was well received by most music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic praised Morris' inventiveness and how she "skillfully slides between styles, blurring distinctions between genre and eras". Erlewine felt that the album "belongs to the digital era but it's the songs – smart, sharp, and hooky – that make this a great modern pop album, regardless of genre."[1] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times considered the album an outstanding country music debut, and "perhaps the canniest country record in recent memory." Caramanica thought Morris an "astute synthesizer" of various styles, and found the album to be "both utterly of its moment and also savvy enough to indicate how the future might sound." He also noted the profanity in some of the songs that Morris used "fluently, casually, and effectively, which is to say, you hardly notice at all as she's breaking what may be country's last remaining taboo."[15] Sounds Like Nashville referred to Morris’ songwriting talent, powerful vocals and eclectic music style that made Hero one of the most unique and enjoyable releases of 2016.[16]

Accolades[edit]

Awards and nominations
Year Association Category Result
2016 CMA Awards[17] Album of the Year Nominated
CMA Awards New Artist of the Year Won
2017 Grammy Awards[3] Best Country Album Nominated
ACM Awards[18] Album of the Year Nominated
Year-end lists
Publication Rank List
AllMusic N/A Best Albums of 2016[19]
American Songwriter 40 Top 50 Albums of 2016[20]
AOL 7 Best Albums of 2016[21]
Billboard 9 50 Best Albums of 2016[22]
Entertainment Weekly 5 The Best Country Albums of 2016[23]
Noisey 44 The 100 Best Albums of 2016[24]
NPR 36 50 Best Albums of 2016[25]
People 10 The 10 Best Albums of 2016[26]
Rolling Stone 1 40 Best Country Albums of 2016[27]
13 50 Best Albums of 2016[28]
SPIN 47 The 50 Best Albums of 2016[29]
Stereogum 12 The 20 Best Country Albums of 2016[30]
Variety 7 The 10 Best Albums of 2016[31]
Wired N/A Best Albums of 2016[32]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Hero debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart with 45,000 equivalent album units; the album sold 37,000 copies in pure sales, with the remainder of its unit total reflecting the album's streaming and track equivalent album units.[2] It also debuted at number one on the Top Country Albums chart.[33] In June 2017 the album was certified Gold by the RIAA for 500,000 units consumed in the US.[34] As of February 2019, the album has sold 308,700 copies in the United States.[35]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)ProducersLength
1."Sugar"
3:09
2."Rich"
  • Morris
  • Jessie Jo Dillon
  • Veltz
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:28
3."My Church"
  • Morris
  • busbee
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:17
4."I Could Use a Love Song"
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:15
5."80s Mercedes"
  • Morris
  • busbee
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:31
6."Drunk Girls Don't Cry"
3:32
7."How It's Done"
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:25
8."Just Another Thing"
  • busbee
  • Morris
2:58
9."I Wish I Was"
  • Morris
  • Hemby
  • Ryan Hurd
  • Hill
  • Morris
4:00
10."Second Wind"
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:19
11."Once"
  • Morris
  • busbee
  • busbee
  • Morris
3:53
Total length:37:49

Notes

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from liner notes.[36]

Musicians

  • Rich Brinsfield – bass guitar
  • busbeepercussion, programming, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Eric Darken – percussion
  • Johnny Duke – electric guitar
  • Fred Eltringham – drums
  • Ian Fitchuk – drums, programming, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, acoustic guitar, whistling, background vocals
  • Joe Fox – electric guitar
  • Natalie Hemby – background vocals
  • Brad Hill – programming, crowd noise, background vocals
  • Ryan Hurd – background vocals
  • Mason Levy – programming
  • Hayley McLean – electric guitar
  • Carl Miner – acoustic guitar, banjo, bouzouki
  • Heather Morgan – background vocals
  • Maren Morris – lead vocals, background vocals
  • John Osborne – electric guitar
  • Aaron Sterling – drums, percussion
  • Dave Thomson – background vocals
  • Mark Trussell – electric guitar
  • Brett Tyler – programming, bass guitar, keyboards, electric guitar, background vocals
  • Laura Veltz – background vocals
  • Derek Wells – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin

Choir singers

  • The McCrary Sisters (Regina McCrary, Deborah McCrary, Alfreda McCrary, Allen McCrary, Beverly McCrary)

Technical

  • Austin Atwood – digital editing
  • Adam Ayan – mastering
  • Jeff Balding – recording, engineer
  • busbee – producer (all tracks except 9, 12, 14), recording, mixing
  • Dave Clauss – recording, mixing
  • Eric Darken – recording
  • Zach DeWall – assistant engineer
  • Ian Fitchuk – producer (track 12), recording
  • Kenley Flynn – production assistant (track 14 only)
  • Brad Hill – production (tracks 6, 9, 13), recording
  • Scott Johnson – production assistant
  • Jordan Lehning – digital editing
  • Amanda Miller – assistant engineer
  • Maren Morris – producer
  • Ernesto Olivera – assistant, drum recording assistant
  • Juan Sevilla – assistant engineer
  • Aaron Sterling – recording
  • Morgan Stratton – drum recording assistant
  • Brett Tyler – producer (track 14), recording
  • Derek Wells – recording
  • Brian David Willis – digital editing

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Gold 40,000^
United States (RIAA)[49] Gold 308,700[35]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Maren Morris: Hero". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (June 2, 2016). "Drake's 'Views' Album No. 1 for Sixth Week on Billboard 200, Paul Simon Debuts at No. 3". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Grammy Awards 2017: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  4. ^ "Maren Morris - Hero - Albumoftheyear.org". Albumoftheyear.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  5. ^ "Maren Morris". Twitter.
  6. ^ Jessica Nicholson (September 10, 2015). "Sony Music Nashville Signs Singer-Songwriter Maren Morris". Music Row.
  7. ^ a b Leahey, Andrew (March 14, 2016). "Maren Morris Plots 'Hero' Album Release". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ Annie Reuter (March 14, 2016). "Maren Morris Announces Her Major Label Debut, 'Hero'". Taste of Country.
  9. ^ "Future Release for Country Radio Stations". All Access Media Group. Archived from the original on March 21, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Single Releases : MusicRow". MusicRow. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Maren Morris Announces Headlining Hero Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  12. ^ "Maren Morris To Release Expanded Version of 'HERO' Album". Sounds Like Nashville. March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  13. ^ Cohen, Ben (September 8, 2016). "Maren Morris - Hero". PopMatters. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  14. ^ McKenna, Brittney (June 10, 2016). "SPIN Country Report: Robert Ellis Is Trying to Break Your Heart, Margo Price Fills Your Old Jukebox". Spin. Buzzmedia. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  15. ^ Jon Caramanica (June 1, 2016). "Review: Why 'Hero' Is an Outstanding Country Music Debut". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "16 Best Country Albums of 2016". Sounds Like Nashville. December 9, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  17. ^ Watts, Cindy (August 31, 2016). "Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris leaders in 2016 CMA Awards nominations". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  18. ^ Hautman, Nicholas (April 2, 2017). "ACM Awards 2017: Complete List of Nominees and Winners". Us Weekly. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  19. ^ AllMusic staff. "AllMusic Best Albums of 2016". AllMusic. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  20. ^ American Songwriter Staff (December 1, 2016). "Top 50 Albums Of 2016". American Songwriter. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  21. ^ AOL.com staff (December 13, 2016). "Best Albums of 2016". AOL. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  22. ^ Billboard staff (December 12, 2016). "50 Best Albums of 2016". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  23. ^ Madison Vain (December 14, 2016). "The Best Country Albums of 2016". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  24. ^ Noisey staff (December 7, 2016). "The 100 Best Albums of 2016". Noisey. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  25. ^ NPR staff. "50 Best Albums of 2016". NPR. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  26. ^ Jeff Nelson (December 13, 2016). "The 10 Best Albums of 2016". People. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  27. ^ Rolling Stone staff (December 6, 2016). "40 Best Country Albums of 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  28. ^ Rolling Stone staff (November 28, 2016). "50 Best Albums of 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  29. ^ SPIN staff (December 12, 2016). "The 50 Best Albums of 2016". SPIN. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  30. ^ Stephen Deusner (December 16, 2016). "The 20 Best Country Albums of 2016". Stereogum. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  31. ^ Andrew Barker (December 20, 2016). "The 10 Best Albums of 2016". Variety. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  32. ^ Wired staff (December 6, 2016). "Best Albums of 2016". Wired. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  33. ^ "Maren Morris - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  34. ^ Cantor, Brian (June 13, 2017). "Maren Morris' "HERO" Earns Gold Certification In United States". Headline Planet. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  35. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (February 20, 2019). "Top 10 Country Albums Chart: February 20, 2019". Roughstock. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  36. ^ Hero (CD insert). Maren Morris. Columbia Records. 2016. 88985-32645-2.
  37. ^ Ryan, Gavin (June 11, 2016). "ARIA Albums: Jimmy Barnes 'Soul Searchin' Is His 11th No 1 Album". Noise11. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  38. ^ "Issue 1372". ARIA Report. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  39. ^ "Maren Morris Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  41. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  42. ^ "Maren Morris Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  43. ^ "Maren Morris Chart History (Top Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  44. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2016". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  45. ^ "Top Country Albums – Year-End 2016". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  46. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  47. ^ "Top Country Albums – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  48. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Maren Morris – Hero". Music Canada. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  49. ^ "American album certifications – Maren Morris – Hero". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 13, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.