We kickstart off this new series on my favourite tunes of 2011 with a song for those who like their songs with a side of sentimental. Yes. As much as I like my alt-rock and shoegaze, I do have my sappy side, obviously to a point. I enjoy sunsets and walks by the river and romantic comedies. But let’s not carried away.
This particular song stuck out to me when I was listening to Dawes’ sophomore album, “Nothing is wrong”, in preparation for catching them live at the 2011 edition of Ottawa Bluesfest. In fact, I distinctly remember taking the bus home after one of the earlier nights during the festival and “A little bit of everything” begged repeat listens, over and over, right up to the moment I stepped on to my front porch. Indeed, I really liked their sound from the moment I first heard them, despite it not being something I typically invest a lot of time in. They’ve been described as “Laurel Canyon” folk rock, whatever that means. I just recognized a lot of classic rock bands in their songs, some CSNY here, some The Band there. The music is welcoming and inclusive.
“A little bit of everything” is a ballad that starts off with Tay Strathairn’s quiet piano accompanying Taylor Goldsmith’s vocals and slowly the rest of the instruments join in. There are three verses, each laying out a different scenario: a man explaining to a police officer why he’s decided to jump off a bridge, an old man at a buffet line suddenly reexamining his life, and a bride-to-be explaining to her fiancé why she is stressing herself out planning their upcoming nuptials. (It might have been this last that struck a chord with me, since my wife and I had just been married two years prior.) Each of these tales isn’t really a definite explanation, more of a reproach and an embrace of life. It’s a little bit of everything.
“Oh, it’s a little bit of everything,
It’s the matador and the bull,
It’s the suggested daily dosage,
It is the red moon when it’s full.
All these psychics and these doctors,
They’re all right and they’re all wrong,
It’s like trying to make out every word,
When they should simply hum along,
It’s not some message written in the dark,
Or some truth that no one’s seen,
It’s a little bit of everything.”
By the time Goldsmith gets to this final verse, the song quiets right back down to him and the keys just before the drums come back in for that fist-punching, anthemic exclamation mark. Yeah, I know. I just can’t help myself.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.