It’s always a good time when someone unexpected wins a Grammy. Or, at least, it is for the winner. (For anyone who expected to win one and didn’t, that might not be so true.) And this time around that “someone unexpected” victor is Bonnie Raitt.
Anyone that knows blues and folk music knows that the 73-year-old Raitt is far from a nobody. Raitt has raked in 13 Grammys over the span of her career and is now being noticed by a younger generation, thanks to her 2023 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
For what track, you may ask? It’s called “Just Like That,” and it’s more of a tale than a song. It is a gut-wrenching story about a mother who lost her son, and the man lucky enough to have received his heart.
Raitt tells a beautiful story of a grieving mother who lost her son years ago. One day, she answers the door and welcomes in a young man who received her son’s heart years before. And the only reason this young man is alive is thanks to this woman’s boy.
As she talks with him, she lays her head upon his chest–listening to her son’s heart–and years of darkness begin to lift. This is what she says:
“And just like that your life can change/Look what the angels send/I lay my head upon his chest/And I was with my boy again/I spent so long in darkness/Never thought the night would end/But somehow grace has found me/And I had to let him in.”
This is a difficult track from which to draw any “content concerns.” That’s because this song is so painfully honest and it’s told from the perspective of a grieving mother. This mother lost her boy in what seems like an accident and she’s carried regret with her ever since. She has felt what it’s like to drop to the depths of despair and admits that “no knife can carve away the stain/no drink can drown regret” and that even though she’s heard that there is hope in Jesus, she says, “He ain’t found me yet.”
If you’ve ever lost a child, this song could be extremely triggering.
There were plenty of people who were shocked at Raitt’s 2023 Grammy win. Especially those who thought big contenders such as Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and Lizzo would take away the award.
But when you listen to this song, you’re not shocked at Raitt’s victory. Instead, you’re drawn into a narrative that is so powerful it brings you to tears. One that reaches out, grasps your humanity and allows you to see the tragedy and beauty in life from two very different perspectives.
And it’s refreshing. Often, the Grammy’s are filled with winners who constantly top the charts with popular tracks everyone knows. What a win to award a song that tells a beautiful story of grief and hope, from which many can benefit.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).