Morgan Johnston - Heaven Knows
No genre quite tackles real human emotions like Country music and Morgan Johnston's latest "Heaven Knows" is a prime example of it. From the simple yet affecting cover through to the lyrics, this achieves that golden combination of being both deeply personal yet at the same time being so universal that each listener can identify with it and empathise with the feelings being expressed - it may even help them make sense of an overwhelming tragedy in some small way.
Morgan's writing always seems to have something unique about it whether it be the angle she approaches a subject from or a distinctive quirky line - in this song it just may be the different ways that the phrase "Heaven Knows" is used throughout the song. The opening almost lures the listener in easily as Morgan outlines what a Sunday in October is meant for, over a gentle guitar and synth backing.
"Heaven knows October Sundays are meant for watching football games
Made for hitting Sundays service and then giving life a break"
There's wistful quality to the vocals - you can really visualise her thinking back to happier times. It contrasts with the next lines that bring us into the sharp focus of where she is at now
"Not for crying asking "Why?" - or for saying last goodbyes"
The chorus when it comes is like the part of a funeral where everyone tells their recollections about the person who has passed - and Morgan uses this perfectly to paint a picture of who she is singing about - there's real feeling conveyed in the words "Give him back" where the slight crack in delivery says everything perfectly.
"Heaven knows he's up there right now - with his boots and tool belts on
Fixing up the pearly gates whether they needed it or not
Joking with the man upstairs
Helping someone new unpack
There ain't a chance in hell they'll give him back -
Now that heaven knows what heaven has"
The second verse acts a further chance to highlight just what a special person has passed
Maybe those kids up there needed the worlds best baseball coach
Or God knew his Mama missed him and it was time that he came home"
There is a slight dilemma where Morgan is faced with doubts
"They say his will is perfect and it's all part of his plan - there's something that I'm missing cos I still don't understand"
yet at the same time ponders the risk of her not making it to see him in the afterlife
"As I pave forward start cleaning up my act - cos I got to get to heaven now I know what heaven has"
The final chorus is delivered at first, almost where we began with Morgan plaintively singing over the simplest of backing, before the big production once again kicks in. It's another great step forward for this promising of artists.