The new version adds some Seventies bongos and layers of acoustic guitar into the mix — a fitting sound for this particular holiday. Musgraves dedicated the song to frontline workers in the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is a lot to feel downhearted about on this Earth Day,” the country singer said in a release. “Everyone and everything feels out of balance. People are suffering and the future is uncertain. In the face of a pandemic that has brought cities to their knees, a song can feel small. A melody can seem insignificant. This is a global moment of acknowledgment and respect for the power of nature and for so many of us — extreme challenges and sadness. But in the midst of all the loss and uncertainty there are signs everywhere of human compassion and renewal. The earth is healing. Bluer skies hang over China and Los Angeles. Clearer water and a positive effect on wildlife is being seen. In spite of all its troubles, it’s still a wild, beautiful world and if you need proof, it’s out there. You just might have to look in a different corner of the sky.”
She continued: “Right now, there are so many brave people that deserve Medals of Honor: the nurses, doctors, grocers, the delivery and truck drivers, cashiers, gas station attendants, the scientists, restaurant workers, the single parents and so many others. I’m just a songwriter, but my hope is that if I bring the light I have in my spirit to the table, maybe it could be a form of energy that lifts someone else’s spirit for a moment. ‘Oh, What a World’ — dedicated to our planetary home and all the quiet heroes this Earth Day: you’re the northern lights in our skies.”
Alongside the song’s release on YouTube, Musgraves has created the Kacey Musgraves Earth Day Fund in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. Donations will support the WWF’s efforts to conserve nature and reduce threats to endangered species.