Hope is on the horizon. That’s the message the song “Tomorrow” is meant to convey in the Broadway musical “Annie” — and it’s the sentiment Jennifer Nettles wants to communicate with her own recent cover of the classic track.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, as people isolate and insulate, as life as we’ve always known it transforms into a new normal, the Sugarland singer provides a reminder that “the sun’ll come out” again, so “ya gotta hang on” until then.
Nettles’ bare-bones take on the song has a slower pace and a starker feel than traditional versions, and it strikes a balance between profound sadness and eternal optimism.
“In this strange and scary moment, I wanted to make an offering in the best way I know how: music,” she wrote in a post she shared on Instagram last week. “The message of this song feels so true to me. Originally sang by a hopeful child (in the musical ‘Annie’), this arrangement has some gravitas. It is a message of hope, but one that comes through wisdom, and wisdom is often won through challenge.”
The 45-year-old country music star also shared a video to accompany her cover, one that opens with sad signs of our times: empty classrooms, playgrounds and parks; restaurants without customers, train stations without commuters and theaters without an audience.
The imagery then flashes back to past struggles, including fires, floods, the fight for civil rights, wars and other seemingly insurmountable crises.
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“These times are uncertain and anxiety-laden,” Nettles’ continued in her post. “We are worried for our health, for our loved ones, for our finances and for our futures, all the while practicing social distancing, which can be hard on the human psyche and soul. But, as the song sings of hope, the collage video also shows reasons we have hope: We have been through challenging times together as a country before. We have made sacrifices on the fire, we have seen movements and leaders rise from those ashes and we have found ourselves forged by those fires within our communities and families.”
As the song reaches the bright swell of its chorus, scenes change to ones of celebration — weddings, birthdays, reunions and one very personal one for Nettles.
She only makes one appearance in her own video, as she sits on her front porch alongside her 7-year-old son, Magnus. Following the hopeful montage, the two blow a kiss to the camera.
“I hope this song lets you feel all that you need to feel,” Nettles added. “And then I hope it reminds you that, indeed, the sun will come out tomorrow.”