If you listen to much pop radio (which I try not to do too often), you probably recognize that songwriting has fallen on hard times recently. Sure, there might be a rare exception of a thoughtfully written track with searching lyrics and subtle meanings. But more often than not, you’re probably going to hear some hollow nonsense about booties shaking and clubs hopping and young people doing things their parents wouldn’t approve of. This, in my opinion, is a national tragedy.

I’m of the conviction that music should do more than tickle the ears. It should stir the mind and evoke emotions. It should challenge our way of looking at the world. It should force us to consider new perspectives. It should shed new light on old truths. When music is at its best, it both interprets and shapes our lives.

“A Little Bit of Everything” by the Los Angeles band Dawes is a song that does precisely that. It’s an assuming track in many ways. It’s simple and stripped down, carried along steadily by a pensive piano part that feels incredibly restrained. Yet nestled within this otherwise inconspicuous landscape of sound is a story that challenges us with the real stuff of life.

From a man about to jump off a bridge, to a father who has lost his son, to a young lady on the cusp of getting married, “A Little Bit of Everything” takes us on a tour of human emotion that leaves us unsettled and yet strangely encouraged at the same time. These characters are rich and complex. There’s no easy way to interpret their actions. But it’s that very complexity that makes the song so powerful. It rings true because we see our own complexity reflected in the characters we meet.

So if you need a break from pop radio’s inanity, then here’s your chance to spend a few minutes contemplating sorrow, loss, love, and the deeper things of life. Thank you, Dawes.

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