When you live in troubling times, music can be one of the best comforts available. There are few songs out there which I can think of which so perfectly captures the feeling of finding something positive to grasp despite sensing the overwhelming dread of what’s to come than Guided by Voice‘s “Hold on Hope”, from the 1999 album Do the Collapse. While Pollard has expressed regret over the song, which has become one of the group’s signature tracks, there’s a reason it remains so resilient twenty years on.
With the first lines, “Every street is dark, And folding out mysteriously”, we can see Robert Pollard conveying the foreboding of moving forward into the unknown. But Pollard’s narrator is “Reaching out for a hand that we can’t see” to hold on to hope and find the strength to keep going. He eventually finds acceptance for how things are; “That nothing grows on, but time still goes on”, which isn’t easy for us all to do, but as the song tells us, if we “hold on hope”, we all just may make it through the madness we’re living in.
Take a trip down memory lane and stream it below: