The images of the band at play and frolicking in the sunshine and the upbeat hooks of Laveda in the music video for “Surprise” serve as a great contrast to deep spirit of melacholy of the lyrics. Even the imagery of the video shows a place where not all the grass is green, where the playground equipment looks well worn and the buildings show signs of the kind of urban decay that used to be a major feature of all American cities of size and is starting to again if you’re not too dazzled by the veneer of “development.” The song’s lyrics really do get to a social phenomenon that has been at play in the USA going back thirty years when generations of students and young people in general are told to manage their expectations in the richest nation on earth and to just accept that all the lies we’re told growing up about working hard and getting educated and that anyone can be anything they want but when you get there it’s more challenging than you’ve been led to believe. “Thought I’d give away my youth/To something better used/And I need it babe/It’s just part of the day” really articulates that feeling of being beat before you’ve had a chance. “I don’t know/never talked much/Sometimes feelings not enough/There’s a deeper pain/It’s empty” later in the song maybe isn’t about how if you keep up your spirits that you’ll get through the tough times but there’s nothing on the other end of those tough times but more of the same. And “Get up/I know we just made it home/I’m not surprised that I’m not sober/Being alive is just getting old/I’m not surprised that I’m not sober” has to be one of the more poignant lyrics that addresses the fatigue, the overwork, the sudden realization that hustling may not be a temporary situation for your generation and that self-medication is one of the only ways to cope when all other paths to changing things seem to be closed to you. And yet in the irresistible haze of Laveda’s guitar work and propulsive rhythm there is a sense of hope and perseverance against the tide of history because what else are you going to do but at least do some of the things you love and not give your heart and soul to a system that will crush everyone under to perpetuate its destructive funnel of all the goods of society to fewer and fewer hands. Watch the video for “Surprise” on YouTube and follow Albany, NY’s Laveda at the links below. The band is currently on tour with a stop at Denver at Lost Lake Lounge on September 25, 2022.