For Maren Morris, like millions of other mommies with infants, being up around midnight is nothing unusual. At the stroke of midnight this morning, October 2, however, the country music songstress did something she hopes will be more meaningful and culturally lasting to her legacy and her infant son, Hayes. Morris released her latest song, “Better Than We Found It,” at exactly midnight, and the anthem for social change is already making waves, as CBS News confirmed.
The ballad confronts the driving forces behind the Black Lives Matter movement, the fearful limbo for those living under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Act, and the tragic loss of life when police weapons become the only arbiters. The most powerful theme in the song comes in the final moments. Maren Morris lovingly speaks as a mother to her “kind and curious” son, pledging to be “better” and to leave a better world to her dearest treasure.
Maren Morris offers her ‘classic’ protest song for these troubled times
The opening moments of the video for “Better Than We Found It” put the people most involved in the tumultuous choices of today’s society at the forefront. Gustavo and his brother, Valiente, relate the love they have for the country that has been their home for nearly all their lives. At the same time, the boys live in constant fear of being deported. Jade and Emma Rose are sisters who choose to be youth activists in the Black Lives Matter cause. The family of Daniel Hambrick, a young man in Nashville shot by a police officer in 2018, is still seeking justice. Maren Morris serves as their troubadour.
“A stick is a stick, a song is a song, but who’s gonna care if I don’t,” Maren Morris questions in verse. “Who’s gonna change if I won’t?” Life comes down to a question of “Can I live with the side that I chose to be on?” for the songwriter. Morris is not out for expediency. “Will my son be proud of the woman I was?” she rhetorically asks. She powerfully reflects that no parent wants the current pain and chaos to be the legacy of a lifetime.
Maren Morris simply refers to “Better Than We Found It” as a “classic” style protest song. Her son, his generation, and generations to come are likely to call it a timeless classic.
More country stars are taking a stand like Maren Morris
Maren Morris doesn’t have to worry about being on her platform alone in calling for social change. Mickey Guyton sang from her own personal perspective on “Black Like Me.” Maren and Mickey have a mutual admiration society, and Morris’ social media applause after Guyton’s stunning ACM Awards performance of “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” says it all about the sisterhood between the Arlington, Texas artists.
Dolly Parton was among the first outspoken country music stars to voice support for Black Lives Matter. She put it as directly as possible in her question, “Do we think our little white a@@es are the only ones that matter? No!” back in August.
Chris Stapleton got some blowback for his remarks on “CBS This Morning” last month when the Grammy-winning superstar commented that “the country I thought I was living in…was a myth.”
Maren Morris reminds Stapleton and any other artists who boldly take social stances that Johnny Cash and his daughter, Rosanne, Willie Nelson, and many more country music contemporaries are fondly portrayed in the history books of the genre because they refused the mantra to “Shut up and sing.”
“It’s not about politics,” nor partisanship. “It’s about being on the right side of history,” Morris contends. The words of naysayers “go like water off a duck’s back,” reassures the doting mom.
A message from the heart of Maren to her son
“You were born the year the world stopped turning,” Maren Morris reads from her letter to her son at the close of the video. It is abundantly clear that Hayes keeps the world turning for his mother, as she squeaks his toy giraffe.
“You have been my precious silver lining through all of these dark past few months,” Morris radiates. The Grammy-winning parent battled postpartum depression following her son’s birth and only recently described finding the light at the end of the tunnel. The pressure of desperately wanting to “do everything right” and the pandemic all played into the difficult time for Maren Morris.
“I have to do better. I will do better– for you,” Maren Morris pledges to her son. “Our education must grow alongside our empathy,” she continues, vowing to rekindle a childlike sense of the good in the world.
“I will spend the rest of my waking days making this world, which you find so fascinating, better than I found it,” mama Morris concludes.
No one has to be a protester or a politician to feel the same yearning that Maren Morris feels for the future and for her child, and we all can play some part in making a better world a reality.
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