Those of you who've read my blog for a while know I'm not the type to post on pop songs. But just recently Follow Through by Gavin Degraw opened my ears while I was driving.
On the side of harmony it's your typical pop song, but in terms of lyrics the message is certainly something. It's not your typical choices of relationship-based music (I love you, I hate you, I'm gonna max all your credit cards - well, the last one is actually pretty good) and it's not your trying-to-be-different-but-failing-miserably ideas (think: "I'd do anything for you, but I won't do that" or that phone-call song about saying sorry for cheating).
What makes this particular one quite something is that there are two layers: hope, but underscored by a suspicion borne of a reality that not all dreams come true. It captures a suspended moment in time without telling you where or how it ends, and in doing so it puts the conflict of hope and uncertainty into music. It's ambiguity works for it, and you don't know if it's shadows in the current, or past experience, which causes him to worry, to wonder.
Listen to it without the video, and see if you can imagine the eyes and the eyebrows - not of the singer, but of the voice.
It makes the listener hope for that voice, and it really is, to put it simply a rather sad song. It invites empathy and gives it at the same time, which is the only way that empathy truly functions.