My last four song reviews have all fallen in the 4-6 range, and I’m getting kind of sick of listening to “meh” songs. I’d like to analyze something that actually moves the needle for a change, and thankfully our good friend Mr. Morgan delivers with “Missing.”
I really enjoyed Morgan’s debut album Vinyl, but I wasn’t as high on his first single “I Met A Girl” as many other people. However, I rated “Missing” as a top-three song (and perhaps the best song) on Vinyl, and Warner Bros. Music once again proves it knows exactly what it’s doing by bringing out this song as the follow-up single.
Production-wise, this is the kind of 90s-era neotraditional sound that always worms its way into my heart, with plenty of fiddle and steel guitar to go around. The song has a nice bounce to it and moves along at a relaxing pace, giving it a light, optimistic feel that induces the listener to tap their toes along with the beat. (Frankly, after the bruising, ultra-negative circus that was the 2016 election season, the country could use a song like this on the radio.)
What makes the song stand out is the subject matter, as the narrator describes their desire to get away from it all for a while. Sure, we’ve heard similar songs like this, but there’s always a specific dream or destination involved (for example, escaping to a tropical island in [insert almost any song from Kenny Chesney’s discography here]). “Missing,” on the other hand, simply celebrates the act of getting away, regardless of the when, where, and how. Its vagueness about the topic allows it to apply to almost any person in almost any situation (and in my case, brings to mind several people I know who have a habit of just disappearing for weeks at a time). Unlike a lot of other songs in this area, the song is also self-aware, understanding that this escape from reality is only temporary and resolving to accept responsibility when they return for whatever’s happened in the meantime.
Morgan himself delivers a great vocal performance, and absolutely owns the song with a smooth delivery that stays comfortably in the sweet spot of his range. His major success here is that he is able to transfer some of the light-hearted energy from the song to the listener, brightening the outlook of anyone within earshot. (Seriously, if any song could put Prozac out of business, this would be the one.)
No, “Missing” isn’t an all-time classic on the level of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” but it’s exactly the relaxing ode to escapism that a lot of people, myself included, need to hear right now. Here’s hoping that this song translates into continued radio success for Morgan, and that his star continues to rise.
Rating: 9/10. A must-have for any country music fan.