“The Time For Flowers”
Emily Scott Robinson
Written by Emily Scott Robinson
I’ve been hypocritical through my reviews: I’ve wanted artists to address heavier topics in the wake of current events – or, at the very least, not continuously sing about partying all night without a care in the world – but also question how any artist can capture, well, everything going on right now in a three-minute song. Even Dolly Parton and Eric Church have struggled to deliver that kind of song.
Of course, that’s an extreme pressure to place on any artist, especially with the uncertainty of what’s ahead. As such, I don’t want to say Emily Scott Robinson’s “The Time For Flowers” is the song for right now, but it is a beautiful piece of art that, because of its scope and focus, will transcend beyond this current time period.
And it does so by framing itself with the same kind of calming simplicity that’s marked Scott’s best work, where the scene is established early on and is bolstered by her eye for detail. Simply put, it’s a song about a character pondering how this older woman she meets could possibly plant flowers and find happiness in a dark time, where her reasoning boils down to having lived a life defined by perseverance.
Granted, that overarching detail isn’t meant to detract from the larger point at hand: things will get better, but there’s always an uncertainty as to the “when,” and it doesn’t mean the darkness will disappear without a fight. It also comes with the subtle implication that, while a “time for flowers” will come again, so will despair and darkness. It’s a song defined by its weathered edges, and where having had to fight through those dark times for this older character has given her a rare sort of appreciation for life, even in that endlessly vicious cycle. It’s optimism mixed with realism.
Best of all, it’s delivered with the crystal clear delivery that’s been missing from these kinds of songs as of late. Not that everything needs to be stripped-down and pure to resonate, mind you, but it’s usually a subtle asset that helps a song get to that point. Scott delivers her performance with a quiver that suggests she, like all of us, is uncertain of what’s ahead, even as this older character tries her best to offer some comfort, but still finds a reason to hold out some vestige of hope. There’s warmth to the acoustics and fiddle pickups to grant a sobering atmosphere to the work, letting the message shine. It’s comforting, but still uneasy.
In other words, I’m glad we have this song right now.