morgxn finds beauty in his own wreckage on ‘MERIDIAN: vol 2’, his second EP of 2021 and a poignant, powerful reckoning with trauma, turmoil, pain, and inner strength.
Stream: “THE WAY IT WAS” – morgxn
The only thing true about this year is that it wrecked me, but somewhere in the wreckage were these songs, like clues holding space for me and holding me together.
One of the magical things about being human is that out of pain, we can so often find and create beauty. Perhaps it’s an innate part of our will not just to live, but to thrive; perseverance is intrinsic to the human condition, and ten times out of ten, we somehow find ways of bringing meaning, depth, and wonder to the darkest of states and the worst parts of being. “You can feel broken and still be ok,” as morgxn sings. “You can feel hopeful, and still need some space. You can feel all this, and not know what to say; you see this burden is not yours to take.” The indie pop artist from Nashville finds beauty in his own wreckage on MERIDIAN: vol 2, his second EP of 2021 and a poignant, powerful reckoning with trauma, turmoil, pain, and inner strength.
i’m so i’m so scared
my heads spinning in space
my world gets so quiet
but when the silence is broken
it’s kind of nice for a moment
even when we had every chance to fall
we used to make believe
like we had it all
i just wanna go back to the start
when the night was alive
and it felt like a sign
the way it was before
every dream that we had we could have it
nothing’s ever set in stone
i believed it so deep it would happen
the way that it was when it was enough
that it used to be fun like the way that it was
– “THE WAY IT WAS,” morgxn
Released November 11, 2021, MERIDIAN: vol 2 is a raw series of cathartic outpourings and poignant upheavals.
The follow-up to last April’s five-track MERIDIAN: vol 1 EP, vol 2 introduces five more gut-wrenching songs to morgxn’s stirring indie pop repertoire. Active for several years now, Morgan Isaac Karr has long written about pain, heartache, redemption, and reckoning; since 2016’s debut single “love you with the lights on,” morgxn’s releases have explored love, passion, depression, anxiety, fears and hopes, dreams and desires, and much more. The songs on MERIDIAN delve into particularly tender depths, finding the artist coming to terms with a present state of brokenness and fracture. The record is a roller-coaster of emotional experience, charted through equally exhilarating and emotionally charged music.
“This project might be the most ‘for me’ thing I’ve ever made, because when everything stopped [in 2020] I found myself coming back to these songs not as a way to just ‘work’, but to find meaning and keep going,” morgxn says. “Making this project was more about reminding myself that there is hope in hopelessness – possibility in impossibility, and that when everything falls apart there is purpose in the rubble. How things change, how we change because of it, and how we keep moving – these themes are all present in these songs.”
“I really think this record was what happened when I didn’t try to make a record, for better or worse. Maybe my next project will be more focused or intentional; this one was my survival mode: My “getting through this time” record. It’s both a charting of and a pathway through this time.”
i built this city and i built these walls
i built my heart like i’m afraid to fall
i’m cautious, so cautious
there’s so many reasons that i wanna cry
it’s in my hands, i gotta start the fire
i’m nauseous, so nauseous
don’t tie a string around my neck to keep me grounded
i got my head up in the clouds i think i found it
levitate, let it break
let your fever start to race
don’t think about it
– “DON’T THINK ABOUT IT,” morgxn
As big as morgxn’s songs can sound at times – and certainly there is a vibrance and vastness to tracks like “BROKEN PEOPLE” (featuring the illustrious Phoebe Ryan) and the buoyant, dynamically catchy “DON’T THINK ABOUT IT” – these songs come from a low space – one of feeling small, hurt, and in need of healing both inside and out.
“The record is built on change,” morgxn explains. “Part 1 was really the leaving of my last label, and part 2 was finding my way through this pandemic and the feelings that came from the very scary and very real unknown. My vision for the record was really to express myself without the pressure of how it will do or how it will do for someone else. It was meant to be, and is like a time capsule of a very chaotic and cathartic time.”
Understanding morgxn’s choice of title – MERIDIAN – helps to appreciate the experiences and emotions packed into these two extended players.
“MERIDIAN has several meanings, but the one I’m most curious about is how it’s like a map of energy points in the body,” he says. “These songs served as energy markers for me, raising their hand and helping me to stay connected as I navigated the depths of this [past] year. At their core, these meridians map isolated sections of a whole, but together they really start to speak. The only thing true about this year is that it wrecked me, but somewhere in the wreckage were these songs, like clues holding space for me and holding me together.”
“I feel like if you know a song of mine or are recommended an Instagram post – it’s like sharing a single limb of a complete statue. It’s a bit hard to get the full picture. I feel this myself as a listener of and appreciator of art. how can one song say everything. This project feels like a full snapshot. I think it’s varied. Chaotic. And truly me. I think it’s honest and ambitious. I think it’s me, and yet I also feel as though I’m already moving beyond it. It’s hard to put this into words, but I held onto this music like a bit too much. It feels nice to let it go. It also feels like letting it go is the only way to move on from it, and then the cycle continues… of newness. Of unknown. Of exploration… or change.”
morgxn cites the song “BURDEN” as one of his current favorites, and its line “you can feel hopeful and still need some space” as his definitive favorite lyric from the new EP. A collaboration with indie rock duo Now, Now, “BURDEN” radiates a heavy, smoldering heat as the band’s Cacie Dalager joins morgxn in a bittersweet, yet ultimately cleansing release. It’s a smoky sonic slow-burn; the kind of visceral catharsis that leaves you winded and shaken, but also refreshed and relieved.
too many people in this world
try to get something from somebody
they all think that they know what it might take
too many roads too many signs
i feel it cross inside my mind
i don’t know that i am sure of anything
you can feel broken
and still be ok
you can feel hopeful
and still need some space
you can feel all this
and not know what to say
you see this burden
is not yours to take
“BURDEN” is an easy favorite for a number of reasons, but ultimately it’s just one of five incredibly vulnerable, emotional overhauls that speak to us on the same evocative level that they spoke to morgxn for so long. “You are not in survival mode anymore,” the artist sings (really to himself) in the larger-than-life “CITADEL.” “You are not living at the end of your rope; you are not someone with nowhere to go, and nothing to hold. How do i move when i’m standing in place? why do i run when there’s nothing to chase?” It’s just one more cinematic exploration of his personal transformation that comes to life on each of these five tracks that promise to move us, inspire us, and hopefully give us a bit of inner peace and relief.
“I can’t pretend I’m in the business of knowing what people will like or feel,” morgxn shares about his EP. “I am really relieved to let it go. A million tiny fears felt like I would never get here, so the fact that I let it shift, let it break, let it change – let it go… I’m glad to have let it go.”
“I’m also in the middle of a new story myself,” he adds. “I hope people find a song or two or twelve that help you wind though your own personal chapters. That is the greatest gift – that a song can help you through something. They all helped me, which is why I kept working on them. I hope you hear my heart but mostly I hope you hear yours. I hope the music is comforting or arresting depending on where you’re listening from. I hope it lives on as it lived in me for long enough.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside morgxn’s MERIDIAN: vol 2 EP with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his latest release!
Stream: ‘MERIDIAN: vol 2’ – morgxn
:: Inside MERIDIAN: vol 2 ::
phoebe and i met when i went on tour with her and had always wanted to create together. we are calling this genre ‘nightcore’ because it feels like a late night freak out. the fact that we are broken people is not that we are mistakes – getting older, failing, falling down. we are whole because we are broken.
DON’T THINK ABOUT IT
this song was produced by queer female super producer superstar jennifer decilveo. there’s a line at the end of the song “there’s a wall around the world, let down your guard.. and levitate” – i know we aren’t there yet as i write this but i know we will be set free soon. my whole life i’ve delt with body shaming and being policed for every move, every step. even within the queer community that has had so much progress – i don’t fit a standard of beauty seen by most magazines. but at some point the pain of staying trapped becomes greater than the fear of setting yourself free. so you create your own community. create your own rhythm. and levitate.
one cold winter night this idea just popped into my head and i quickly recorded it and sent it to brad from the band now, now. i’m such a fan of theirs. i wrote a lot of songs about how we hold hurt – how we carry the weight – but this song is my attempt to express that sometimes letting go is the only way to grow.
this song haunted me after the capitol riots. biden said “an attack on the citadel of american democracy”. when i wrote this song it was an admission that my own life was falling apart. and that if i was going to get through i had to admit i was scared and didn’t know what was going to happen. produced by scott chesak (panic! at the disco) and jenny owens youngs
THE WAY IT WAS
there’s a lot of talk about going back to the way things were after this but i don’t think there’s a way to go back to that. what this song is for me is to go back to when i first had a dream – to sing. to share. to be alive. that’s something i lost this year i’d like to get back. this was the final addition to the project and i think holds a special place in my hear that i made it with my touring family who i miss so much and can’t wait to get back to that part of life
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📸 © Ariel Lask art © Ariel Lask
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