New Zealand singer-songwriter Andrew Keoghan makes a smooth melding of many genres with subtle pop sensibilities. His 2011 debut Arctic Tales Divide was excellent, as was this year’s single “Stuck In Melodies.” He’s back today with “Everything,” a soothing bass-driven joint with surrounding synths that shimmer, sparkle, and warp around quick, sparse guitar stabs and heavy-handed drums for a wonderful arrangement. Coupled with deceptively piercing and contemplative lyrics delivered through Keoghan’s silky tenor, the soundscape makes for an engaging and challenging experience. I’d attempt to tell you exactly what this song is about, but I couldn’t detail any better than Keoghan has himself:
“Everything” is about my first year in Brooklyn, living in Bed Stuy. The first night I couldn’t sleep. There were two couples making love on the second floor. It sounded like avant-garde jazz, with varying tempos and flurries of passion sounds set against a backdrop of dogs barking and police sirens.
And it’s those sirens that made me acutely aware that much bigger problems than my own existed. Here I was, listening to people make the ultimate expression of love, while outside there was pain, death, people’s lives cut short because of the color of their skin. I pondered how we can be so loving towards another human being, but inflict such hatred.
The chorus of the song is about the sun’s appearance heralding in some kind renewed hope, but optimism’s not enough. We seem to be good at expressing outrage initially, without making meaningful reform. The chorus “Everything everything everything” is the burden we all share until there’s broader attitudinal change and eradication of racism and bigotry.