Tuesday, 9 September 2014

End of the road. . .

This blog post is a song request from Shaylen Padayachey in Brisbane, Australia.

Boyz II Men was one of my favourite r'n'b groups when I was in high school.  In my senior year one of the important jobs that I had as the Music Prefect, was to play the piano as the girls entered the hall for our year level assembly.  One of the things that I would do (primarily to entertain myself more than anything else) was to mix up the classical pieces I was learning at the time for my music assessments with the pop hits of the day.  Boyz II Men was a popular choice.  One of the funniest memories was playing I'll make love to you and having the girls singing the chorus before the deans arrived on stage to address us (probably not one of the better song choices before a serious assembly about exam preparation).

Michael McCary's rich deep bass voice sparks the beginning of End of the road.
This track was one of the ultimate break up songs of 1994 from the group's debut album Cooleyhighharmony.   

Girl, you know we belong together 
I have no time for you to be playing
With my heart like this
You'll be mine forever baby, you just see

His speaking voice was used to great effect in the group's tracks, used to convey even more emotion of the male perspective and if you imagined yourself to be the female (or male - we don't discriminate) on the receiving end of the song, you knew that you were a very special individual indeed.

As part of the movie soundtrack to Eddie Murphy's Boomerang, this song helped to catapult the group to super stardom.  They went on to do collaborations with other established artists such as LL Cool J and Brandy.  But it would be their duet with Mariah Carey for One Sweet Day that would be their ultimate collaboration.

When I can't sleep at night without holding you tight
Girl each time I try, I just break down and cry
Pain in my head oh I'd rather be dead
Spinning around and around

At this point of the song you hear the desperation in Wanya's voice as the melody escalates.
The prechorus is a great way to signal to the audience that the emotions are heightened, starting to peak before the chorus, before we hear the full, rich harmonies in the chorus.  The verses give an opportunity for solos and for each of the singers to showcase their vocal acrobatics.

Although we've come to the end of the road
Still I can't let go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you
Come to the end of the road
Still I can't let go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you

Have you been this person?
Have you seen this person?  Maybe in the mirror?
The one who is unwilling to deal with the reality that the relationship is over?
Denial is one of the brutal stages of a relationship breakup  - it's even more difficult in times of grief.
You have this image in your mind that you are the perfect couple, that you can't believe that your relationship is over because you're just too perfect for each other and there is no reason why you shouldn't be together.

When Michael McCary speaks again in his velvety smoothness later in the song, you realise that even though the woman has cheated on him - he is willing to forgive and stay with her, even when she has left him.  That's either someone who enjoys being a doormat or is willing to forgive their partner's behaviour.  Do you love someone that much to forgive them?

I hope that on some level, when you come to the end of the road in your relationship, that you can make peace with it and carry on, carry on the path of a new road, on new adventures with someone new (or not, you don't need to replace that person with someone new, it might even take you some time to get over the "unnatural" breakup).