Hope For Change is an exclusive track on the Target (a large U.S. Department Store chain) version of Grace’s debut LP “Just The Beginning”.

It’s an exciting and quirky rock ballad that sounds like a collaboration between Santana and Sheryl Crow…and that’s not a bad thing. That’s not bad at all. To think this song wasn’t selected for the general release of “Just The Beginning” is maddening.

There is a quirky, intentionally awkward guitar (riff?) running throughout the song that is a bit of a polarizer for some fans, but I love it. That slightly grating guitar typifies one of Grace’s songwriting techniques… tension building. She’s exploring it more and more, even changing up existing songs such as Darkness Keeps Chasing Me, where she now drops the “cry” at the end of the line “but if I hear your voice I might just…”; tension. Grace doesn’t necessarily want her music to be “easy listening”; she wants your attention, or more accurately, she wants you focused and by poking you with these little techniques, she does just that.

This song has an entirely different sound from the rest of Grace’s catalogue, and I am so excited for Grace to explore this more grounded, gritty sound, and her vocals are so smooth and confident (cool) it’s shocking to think she recorded it while in the 7th grade. A lot of professional adult singers wouldn’t be able to pull off this vibe as well she did.

Okay, enough stalling. To the lyrics!

I tried to wake up today
Kept making withdrawals
But now we’ve got to pay

When will we realize
We shouldn’t touch the fire
‘Cause now it seems
We’ve been pushed to walk the wire

This is just the same old classic stupid day
You never think to what you’re gonna do or say
We don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
Should we worry ’bout tomorrow?
We just hope for some kind of change
Just hope for some change

See it, read it, hear it, questions goin ‘round
So quickly
But I guess that’s old news
The same old thing

When will we realize
We shouldn’t touch the fire
‘Cause now it seems
We’ve been pushed to walk the wire

Hey, this is just the same old classic stupid day
You never think to what you’re gonna do or say
We don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
Should we worry ’bout tomorrow?
We just hope for some kind of change
Just hope for some change

Just hope for some, just hope for some
Just hope for some, just hope for some

When will we realize
(Just hope for some, just hope for some)
We shouldn’t touch the fire
‘Cause now it seems
(Just hope for some, just hope for some)
We’ve been pushed to walk the wire

This is just the same old classic stupid day
You never think of what you’re gonna do or say
We don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
Should we worry ’bout tomorrow?
We just hope for some kind of change
This is just the same old classic stupid day
You never think of what you’re gonna do or say
We don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
We don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
We just hope for some kind of change
Just hope for some, just hope for some
Change

Before I break down the song line by line, I feel I have to address those readers who have hinted that this is a protest song against the Trump administration. It could very well be just that, but it could also apply to any rut we find ourselves in, and those ruts are often self-dug. It could be referring to a personal debt crisis brought on by overspending, gambling or addiction. It could be in reference to any bad personal relationship from which we, for whatever reason, feel we can’t extract ourselves. Grace has crafted a song using subtle metaphor so effectively the vast majority of songwriters can never hope to achieve. The Santana/Crowe vibe I mentioned earlier was in reference to this song’s sound, but the lyrics remind me more of Bob Dylan. Yes, I just said that.

As is Grace’s standard practice she introduces the song with a unique passage that doesn’t repeat for the rest of the song.

“I tried to wake up today
Kept making withdrawals
But now we’ve got to pay”

Lots going on here, as usual. First, we have to address how Grace is mixing up her personal pronouns and what she may be trying to imply. She tried to wake up today (having a difficult time getting out of bed), but is apparently having a difficult time because she kept making withdrawals (literally money, sleep time, focus and energy, etc.), but now “We’ve” got to pay. Okay, things were going smoothly until the “we’ve”. Alright, this is where the political spin is most easily made. She can’t get up because of a collective problem she and the listener, or to whomever she’s speaking with in the song, have created.

Let’s say she’s speaking to the listener with that line. It could mean, well, “We, the people” have voted in this administration, and now “we” all have to pay for it

Alternatively, let’s say she’s speaking to another character within the song with that line. It could mean, “Well, we stayed up all night partying,” and now “we” have to pay for it by being exhausted, useless, and miserable at work”. It could also mean a myriad other possibilities, all stating that our questionable decisions lead to personal consequences. This girl is terrifyingly brilliant.

Next lines…

“When will we realize
We shouldn’t touch the fire
‘Cause now it seems
We’ve been pushed to walk the wire”

This is interesting on a couple of different levels. It reintroduces the theme from her song “Burned” regarding playing with fire/touching fire and the often negative results Again, here a case can be made for a political criticism/protest song. She could be implying that despite having repeatedly voted in politicians because of a perceived desperation for “change” we’re left with a loose cannon at the helm (what a messy nautical mixed metaphor, but you get where I’m sailing, right?).

It could again, however, simply mean “When will we learn that we can’t party hard every night and not have to face the fact that we don’t have the rent now, or can’t feed ourselves?” It could also mean “We can’t procrastinate doing our research, now we’ve got three papers due in the morning and we’re going to flunk Greek History…again.”

Next lines…
“This is just the same old classic stupid day
You never think to what you’re gonna do or say
We don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
Should we worry ’bout tomorrow?
We just hope for some kind of change
Just hope for some change”

Ah…wordsmith Grace in full effect. This is building upon the other lines we’ve already addressed, but this time it focuses on those of us who have dug ourselves into a pit that we maintain every day, especially those of us who battle depression or trying times. This section essentially criticizes the contrary philosophical outlooks of “Living for today” versus “planning for tomorrow”. In the end, we often simply live in the moment, whether that’s financially, in our dead-end relationships, or in our political circumstances, simply hoping for some kind of miraculous third party agent to save us from ourselves.

The rest of the song simply combines and repeats the same messages, and allows us to focus on the haunting sonic experience and Grace’s incredible voice.

I love this song on so many levels, almost as many as the levels Grace has patiently and intentionally laid out within it.

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yfl9ID8F0g&lc=UgzcjfnF4kSslXjlPr54AaABAg