“Who’s gonna care if I don’t?” Maren Morris asks in her sharp-eyed new ballad “Better Than We Found It.” “Who’s gonna change if I won’t?”
Morris released the song on Friday in solidarity with the summer of Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place across the country. Directed by Gabrielle Woodland, the accompanying video intersperses footage of protests alongside intimate profiles of Nashville locals who have experienced discrimination, harassment, and police brutality. Among them are teenage Mariachi singer Gustavo Flores, who, according to the video, came to the U.S. under the Dream Act and is in danger of being deported to Mexico, and the family members of Daniel Hambrick, a black man who was killed by a Nashville police officer in 2018. The video concludes with Morris reading a heartfelt letter to her and husband Ryan Hurd’s newborn son.
Produced by pop A-lister Greg Kurstin, the song was written by Morris alongside Jessie Jo Dillon, Jimmy Robbins, and Laura Veltz.
“I wanted to write something to address exactly how I feel right now, and this came together pretty quickly,” Morris said of the ballad. “It’s a protest song. It’s the most American thing to protest and protest songs have been so embedded in American culture: Bob Dylan, Nina Simone. I think the world right now is sort of in a perpetual mourning period and I wanted to have a song that had weight but also had hope. I still have hope for this country and for the future of it, and as a new mother I wanted to promise my son that I’m going to do everything in my power to leave this world better than the one I came into and the one I see right now.”
“Better Than We Found It” serves as a companion piece of sorts to “Dear Hate,” a duet with Vince Gill that Morris wrote after the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting and released just days after the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre in Las Vegas, which occurred three years ago this past Thursday.
A portion of proceeds from “Better Than We Found It” will benefit the Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nonprofit that aims to protect and advance the health and wellness of black women and girls.