How do you harness the power of song?

Hovvdy, the quirkily spelt duo from Austin, Texas, do it by jumping right in with a cymbal splash and luscious piano chords over a bare drum beat, somehow managing to get those chords to pull out all sorts of powerful emotions from me as they start to sing “Make Ya Proud”.

They sing in an unassuming but attractive way to begin with, extolling the virtues of a ‘gorgeous day’, the kind of day that might suit some singing.

Then they tell of the person who asks:

Would you wanna sing?

Of course they would, that’s what they’re here for.

As if to herald that moment, the drums stop and the song suddenly sounds hymnal. The chorus is a simple repeated phrase with acoustic guitar strumming alongside the piano, a phrase that replies positively:

Sing you a song, I will

And it makes me ache, and smile, and go a little goose-bumpy, all at the same time.

The two voices that were singing in tandem on the verses suddenly part and harmonize with each other, and the quality of those harmonies with the sparser instrumentation gives the chorus a startling power.

It’s a moment that highlights song and singing and tells you that, on a good day, those things can make the sky brighter, bring people together, and maybe even save the world.

The simplicity of singing a song is a pure act, a primal thing.

It’s something that lives in pretty much everyone, awakening old, more innocent feelings of hope and possibility. And I think I feel all that when this chorus plays out.

With some nice wobble and distortion separating the first chorus from the next verse, we head into different territory as the narrator is trying to help his grandpa eat, and staying to help out his Mom, hoping somehow to make her proud. This time the singers are harmonizing in the verses, an effective device to move our emotions along a little.

And they sing this verse with more vigor than before:

Help you out how I can
Make you proud how I can

It’s unclear how they help out or make Mom proud, but since the chorus follows that, it’s possible that the song is what will help, the singing is what Mom is proud of. Perhaps after helping out, the song is the only other thing to offer.

Again, the power of that chorus suggests it’s worth singing, that it will definitely help out.

With just five chords, simple instrumentation, and beautiful harmony, Hovvdy have sung a song and have moved me.

As the song naturally retreats and the chorus refrain drifts into the distance, it still retains its simple, gentle power. Hopefully that power will reach out to others and make their beautiful days memorable, or provide the soundtrack to familial moments and help the memories of them retain their magic in the years to come.