The role of the artist throughout history has been to give voice to the voiceless, amplify the plight of the common man, and put the microscope’s lens over the simple struggles all humans go through, helping us all to feel less alone as we navigate life.
After a long and tense year, it’s hard to imagine Zayn and Ingrid Michaelson not understanding their roles as harbingers of hope and healing with their new single, “To Begin Again.”
The unexpected pair —who are both know for immense vocal abilities that shine brightly on this track — breathed life into memory in the three and a half minute single, bringing us back to how it felt when everything changed: “When the world was ending / We’d hold onto the past / ‘Cause it’s all that we thought that we would ever see.”
The song unfolds into a chorus that imagines the beauty of the post-pandemic world, whenever it arrives. “But then, the sun came right back / And the birds sang as if nothing had happened / And it’s alright, it’s okay / We will get another day / To begin again.”
The part of the track that will make you cry, though, is the swelling bridge that plays like a dam breaking, like an untamable river — like how I imagine it will feel to embrace our loved ones again. “And cry because I’m happy / And hold my friends like long lost lovers / Be kind to me and love each other / The world keeps spinning on.”
Both Zayn and Ingrid are credited as writers on the transcendent track, etching in stone that the pair came together with the specific intent to say, maybe not what we were all thinking, but what we all needed to hear.
Some have questioned the role of the artist over time; does the end justify the inevitable struggle lying within the means? When one is able to speak the universal truth of the moment and reach countless fellow citizens of Earth with the sincerity and depth of their words — when one can connect so purely, cutting right to the heart of it — I imagine there’s no greater joy.