On a Wednesday evening sometime in 2017, Morgan Wright was walking back to her car after going to see a concert. The concert was in Sacramento, California, where the singer-songwriter and producer had relocated after growing up in Central Coast and discovering a love for blending poetry and coffee-shop blues.
At first, she mistook the gunfire for firecrackers. Morgalily, as she is professionally known, explains in an Instagram video on the topic, “I turned around, and there were people shooting at each other. I ran as fast as I could.”
“I was able to deal with it, by writing a song about it. That is one of the coolest things about songwriting; it can really be a gateway for therapy, and for the things that you’re dealing with.” After writing the original song three years ago, Morgalily felt 2020 was the time to develop, produce, and finally release it.
The result - 'Crossfire’ - doesn’t stop at being therapy for its writer alone. Situated in a reflective space somewhere between indie rock, blues, and contemporary pop, the track breathes a striking air of prettiness and pain. Morgalily competently wields an expansive palette of alternative pop genres in her production, and the picture comes together cohesively. Piano echoes over nicely nuanced drums, while tasteful shots of synth flit across the surface like bullets, bringing a clever disturbance to an otherwise picturesque sonic landscape.
Some space is also generously left in the instrumental sections, which gives the song room to breathe, and lends a reflective power to these moments. Verses are punctuated with refreshing touches of acoustic guitar.
As for Morgalily’s vocals, they are those of an accomplished vocalist, with a sweetness and endearing nakedness to them. The choruses and sequences of this song are draped generously in smooth hooks.
The verses discuss the artist’s experiences of a traumatic night. “In the rain” she “slips down on wet cement” and feels “fear of being caught”. Yet Morgalily’s delivery here sounds assured to the point of being unaffected. She sounds calm, but describes panic. It would be interesting to hear Morgalily explore the latent emotive power in her lyrics, with a corresponding emotion in her performance.
At the same time, perhaps here lies her purpose – to find a path through personal pain and hardship, to reach a place where she can face them serenely. In any case, the vocals on this track remain authentic in their sound, absolute in their precision, and certainly capable of entrancing.
Morgalily has managed to weave together a range of disparate genres much like the trauma of a painful event, bringing sense and even sweetness out of them. This is a deceptively smart song, with a depth which goes beyond its sweetly soft piano strokes and gentle drums. Those who take the time to explore what Morgalily has created here may even find, like her, that it is possible to experience beauty in the midst of darkness.