Groovy, sincere, and expertly crafted, Imbibe’s 2020 single “Time Heals Every Wound” is an off-center pop song about coming to grips with pain in a productive way. Listening to it feels like running your finger down a scar, gently, lovingly, while still acknowledging the hurt which produced it. Although the song aches from the inside out, it holds an aura of acceptance and suggests a movement toward self-love.

I know I must have said it but try my best to keep it inside/Don’t wanna keep hiding it under my skin/Tried crossing my fingers, tried rubbing my hands/Start a fire, get a little higher again.

The song opens with wistful instrumentals, framing the song in a melody that feels gentle, familiar. Its opening verse is led by the soft expertise of front man Tennyson Nobel, and portrays the early stages of healing – superstition (“tried crossing my fingers, tried rubbing my hands”), emotional avoidance through substance use (“start a fire, get a little higher again”), and holding emotions in (“try my best to keep it inside”). As the verse transitions into the chorus, the soundscape shifts into punctuated beats, leaving more room for the vocals to blossom.

Keep it in a part of yourself/Leave it there for somebody else/Feeling up an empty room/Time will heal every wound.

Despite its lyrical intensity, the chorus lands on light feet. The melody is rich and cheerful. This isn’t a song that will make you sad – it’s a song that will comfort you in your sadness, that will make you head-bop to your sadness, while still acknowledging the pain that it comes from. The chorus seems to promote a loving acceptance of hurt, even in its less healthy lyrics. The idea of keeping the hurt inside “for somebody else” to deal with later is undeniably toxic – and yet, in conjunction with the following lyrics and upbeat melody, it still promotes this idea of leaving the pain alone for a little bit. Giving in. Letting go. Accepting that, in time, it will hurt less. The vocals allow a squeeze of vulnerability into the line about leaving the hurt “for somebody else”: on the words “somebody else,” Nobel slides into a higher register, crafting a progression that you can’t help but root for.

I’ve made every decision, placed every position/And found I’ve been looking for something I’ve been missing/Stop and look at myself in the mirror/And see a little clearer/Maybe there was something I missed.

The second verse sees the narrator progressing in their journey of acceptance, portraying a particular mastery in the third line. On the word “stop,” the background instruments drop out, leaving Nobel’s voice alone with the piano. This instrumental structure adds a distinct power to the contemplative nature of the following lyrics – the narrator slows down, takes a step back, and looks at himself a little closer.

From this point, the song delves back into variations of the chorus. The slick, warm melodies fade into the background as the vocals riff and eventually taper off. The song fits nicely with the band name because it’s about internalizing, consuming, processing – by the way, did you know that “imbibe” means to drink? Because I didn’t, until my friend pointed it out and made this song even better. Imbibe’s work seems to operate on many levels, each fascinating, each building off the last.

Imbibe’s “Time Heals Every Wound” is in turns sweet and hard to swallow, with a compelling soundscape and thematic expertise. They’re a band to keep an eye on – so make sure to follow them on Spotify, and don’t miss out on their next release!