Written By Hero Magnus
I don’t know when Sam Lynch wrote “Good Year,” but it seems to be perfectly suited for these uncertain times. It is a piercing blue-and-grey song of sorrow and cautious optimism. Her earnest questions have been my inner monologue for the past weeks: “how do I start / letting it go / when will it end / when will I know.”
Lynch is a Vancouver-based artist. Last summer, I had the pleasure of reviewing another one of Sam Lynch’s releases, “Off the Rails.” Lynch’s lyrics have a lot of gravitas, not from any sort of pretentious false experience, but just young and quiet wisdom.
“Good Year” is, I think, a new side of Lynch’s work. Earlier, when talking about her writing process, she said that, “most of her songs are built around a moment.” Lynch has always been a clever storyteller, but “Good Year” is more abstract. “I got nothing to ground me,” she sings.
It takes a really talented lyricist to capture something that is not grounded in one angible story, but is still compelling.
One of the most wonderful things about this song is how it is steady, patient, and yet unrelenting. When she sings “I am a balancing act / that’s all,” it feels like a climax, but she presses on. Her voice is big enough to carry the strings that come in on the second verse without it sounding overdramatic.
The bursting section after she stops singing sounds like a dissonant waterfall. And when Lynch comes in again with the title line– ‘it’ll be a good year’– there is just a touch of something unnatural, like vinegar to honey. And the title lyric is so complex: is it a plea, a prayer, a question, an answer?
Finally, a touch of piano at the end brings us back to the very beginning– strange and yet familiar.
As impossible as it is to sound genuine on Instagram, Sam Lynch seems to do it. She recently posted a photo with a kind and open caption for her followers. “We’re all in this. I see you. Have you been outside today, or opened a window? how are you doing?” she asked, and she meant it.