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Life can be incredibly difficult just in terms of trying to survive, and children often aren’t blind to their parents’ struggles. In their hopeful-melancholy new single, “Just Smile.”
Toronto folk-rockers Village Manor explores the daily grind routine from both the parents’ and a child’s perspectives, sometimes simultaneously.
With beautiful guitar fingerpicking, piano, and frayed-edges vocals soaked in experience, “Just Smile” is a beautiful, cascading ballad that gives voice to a sleep-deprived, working-class existence.
“Well, it’s four in the morning, waking up for us/ The stars are still shining as you run to catch the bus/ You’re young but getting older with hard times/ One more dream will make your whole life shine.”
The bills are stacking up, and all the parents can manage each night is a few minutes to read a bedtime story with their child. The next day, the entire routine is repeated all over again. At this point, a representation of the child’s voice comes in – “My book, please read it slowly, and listen to what it says/ It says you think you’re going somewhere, but you’re going nowhere fast.” There’s sadness in both the parents and the child, but there’s also a prompt to enjoy these small moments of togetherness and try to weave them into dreams.
Ultimately, the song contains feelings of both discouragement and hope and the desire of both the parents and the child to make each other’s lives easier: “And if I can make it happen, I would make your dreams come true/ Just smile, as we wipe the tears away, smile.”
Village Manor wrote the song to spread the message of not taking our children’s love for granted.
“The child keeps hoping and wishing that the parents will find their dream,” the band explained. “Listen to them and give them the unconditional love and time they so rightly deserve. From the parents’ perspective, they’re sacrificing so much for their love of their children.”
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.