Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
The idea of love that Kina Grannis has is the one that we all start out with. It's the one that, with any sort of good luck, we hold onto for a while. We marvel at it. We're willing to love. We smile, we hug and we kiss without limit. We show our love to every nice person we meet. It's all it takes to find someone to love. We love that kindness we see in others and we believe that they're good people. As children, we assume the best and then things get shitty. There's a mom and a dad who fight and scream, throw things at one another, say the meanest things to the ones that they're supposed to love and care for the most and they always seem to go to bed angry. They wake up mad and it just carries along, infecting everyone else within arm's reach. It's when love assumes this difference that tries a person. Grannis, the 26-year-old beauty from California, sees love as sugar and a warm blanket. It's the kind of thing that you fall into and then you have it and things are good. It can be that easy. There's true love and there's forever love. Sure, she sometimes writes heartbreak songs, but more often than not, she's thinking about the sensation on the finest of terms. It's to be counted on. It's to be believed. The people in love that Grannis sings about on her latest record, "Stairwells," are giving it a good run. They seem to be working it out and it seems to be working well for them. It's something that doesn't need to be understood. It just needs to be felt. It just needs to be present and everything else will take care of itself. It's something that shouldn't be questioned. It should be approached like the frightened baby kittens found up in a corner of the barn, fur pricked up and hissing for their dear lives. Of course, no harm is meant. Only good is supposed to come out of any of this, but people have been hurt. They are hesitant to turn themselves over to the saws and the grinders another time. Grannis plays the role of the savior, of the person who's going to rehab the reputation of love, for one and for all. She sings on "It's Love," "People try to find reasons why things aren't perfect/Fight to deny every smile they're deserving/We can try to end this/Just give me one kiss/Let me show you how, even now, things are perfect/If you want to grow/You've gotta let it go/Afraid to fall." She asks elsewhere on the album, "If you let me." It's a decision that has to be made by the other, but she's here and she's going to hold your hand through this. She promises, with her touching and harmlessly lovely voice, that she won't hurt you and sometimes you really need to hear that. Sometimes you really need to feel that. It will be just like old times again, until it's not.