The sparse, plaintive ballad finds Van Etten crooning a soulful tune — "There's too much to take / There's too much at stake / And I want you to be yourself / Around me" — over the steady plunk of a piano, the low sigh of background vocals and a mournful, omnipresent synth-like moan.Proceeds from "Not Myself" will benefit the efforts of the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. The track is available on most digital retailers and can be purchased on Van Etten's Bandcamp for $1, with a pay-what-you-want option for those wishing to donate more.
"Hate, violence, and intolerance has always upset me, but I haven't been this overwhelmed with sadness and disbelief in a long time," Van Etten wrote of the Pulse shooting. "The victims were only trying to be themselves and be comfortable and safe in their surroundings. That safety was violated out of fear and with a gun … In the memory of those trying to be safe and be themselves, I hope we can all come together to help prevent another massacre like this and end gun violence."
"Not Myself" follows numerous tributes to the victims of the Pulse shooting, including notes from Taylor Swift and Frank Ocean, and charity songs from Melissa Etheridge, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda.