The Nostalgia of “Maybe” by Lily Williams


I wasn’t ready for “Maybe” by Lily Williams.

Allow me to get dramatic: as I sat in my small living room with nothing to look at but my rain-ridden window, I couldn’t help but feel emotionally raw and nostalgic. My eyes glanced elsewhere landing on the cover art – a rose softly set atop a pink background with etched font. It hinted at the ride Williams was about to take me on, but I still didn’t know. I clicked play and was hit with a reflected sadness. A tender piano and an ache to her voice tell the story of new, real love. Yet, I couldn’t help but hear the gentle notes that foreshadowed ending.

And I thought we would last forever

in this lazy summer weather.

She walks us through the seasons, claiming her lover’s heart as her home as winter turned to spring. She continues through the year and the song builds with a purposeful stringed instrument added to the mix. Her voice isn’t too powerful, but expresses so much emotion as it pairs with the light impact of the music. She ruminates on the course of the relationship, singing of loss, singing with hope.

Maybe it was simply

too much love and too much pain.

It was too much – those feelings and this song. As the bridge came, I slouched into my couch, letting her harmonies make me feel the sad I had held in. The twists and turns, the tears and trust she discusses are all so real that I almost shed a tear thinking of her pain, my pain, the pain we have all felt. At this point, I am lying flat, looking at the ceiling, hoping for the sun to come out. No lie.

And then she provides. Despite the past, spring will come again, and it is that calm expectation that helps me sit up, type on, listen in to the rest of Williams’s story.

As it winds down with that emotive piano, I am transported to sad movie moments as a final reflection. Specifically, I see the forgotten toys of Toy Story, Harry Potter’s ache for his lost parents, the 365 lost letters of The Notebook. Her story transcends romantic relationships because it hits at the core of loss and recovery, which are universal experiences. She does it with grace, striking at my heart, at my past relationships, at my hurt. Then, with her mellow, feminine voice and harmonious narrative, she also points out the possibility for healing.

Maybe everything will be okay.


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