Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe. All my Songs of the Week are featured on my Top of the Poptastic playlist, along with the rest of my faves from the past year.

In the past few years, we’ve had a few country-rap crossover hits, and many duets between country acts and pop stars, but Maren Morris is one of very few country singers to feature on a dance track. The surprising twist is that The Middle sounds less country than many dance and pop hits that don’t feature country artists, such as Wake Me Up, Timber… even the new Kylie single. Listeners to last week’s New Music Friday who weren’t already aware of Maren wouldn’t guess her musical background. The song is proof that often the only difference between country and pop is which radio stations the song is submitted to, and as streaming services take over the role that radio once played in many people’s lives, the boundary between genres becomes more arbitrary than ever. Genre discussions aside, The Middle is a quality dance-pop song. At first I found it a bit generic, and was disappointed that it didn’t have more of a country feel, but it grew on me with further listens – the chorus really packs a punch. Maren proves here that she may be known for country, but she can sing pop as well as, if not better than, the reigning pop stars of today.