Song Review: “Take Everything” by Greg Laswell (Featuring Ingrid Michaelson)

You know the climactic, dramatic final scene of your favorite, weekly prime-time drama? The one where a slow rolling montage of tear-inducing clips show the various characters engaging in all sorts of episode-ending activities, such as: making sad faces while gazing into the sky, helping with heroic rescues that just look cooler in slow-mo, tightly embracing a child, lovers tumbling slowly into bed, or even laughing while holding back tears, thanks to a joyful, relieving resolution?

Yeah, you know the one.

Greg Laswell does, too. He knows all about how to properly nail that final scene with some musical melodrama. “Take Everything,” featuring the appropriately sweet and balancing vocals of fellow Hotel Café vet Ingrid Michaelson, is actually a fine example of what has almost become its own genre: The tailor-made-for-Grey’s Anatomy-track.

The lead single from Laswell’s latest record, Take a Bow, is exactly what fans of his will cherish–and will also give the people who haven’t found a reason to get into his work…well, even less reason to do so.

To be sure, this track is catchy, snappy and rife with the emotion that one expects from their favorite sensitive, literate songwriters. While the song doesn’t succeed in distinguishing itself from Laswell’s back catalog (or that of say, Cary Brothers or Mat Kearney, for that matter), this number still has its charms and subtle highlights.

With the redundant plea to simply “take everything,” Laswell understands that straight-forward doesn’t have to be overly simplistic. To that end, earnest simplicity shouldn’t be mistaken for shallow, in this case, either.
Laswell’s defeated, resigned appeal is significant in that there is nothing left to say once someone has reached the point of giving everything up, leaving nothing more with which to bargain. The restraint of the lyrics serve to corral any unnecessary melodrama, leaving the focus on the sacrifice at hand.

Dawson’s Creek could’ve learned a thing or two from such discipline.