If there’s any difficult fear in modern music, it’s reinventing the breakup song. We’ve heard it all at this point. He said, she said, they said, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a song told from the point of view of friends of a couple breaking up. It’s naturally compelling music because every breakup is different and often very nuanced. Nuance is one of the best ways to discuss “Over”, the latest single from Norm Adams and Julia Robertson. Kicking in with a climatic instrumental hook, Adams comes in crooning with lines like “We don’t talk the way we used to. There’s a lack of communication”. Those lyrics right off the bat let you know the stylistic intent of the song. It’s very un-flashy in its lyricism and in fact it’s decently light on metaphorical comparisons as to where the relationship is.
Truthfully, I think that works to the song’s benefit as without getting so bogged down lyrically, it allows it to be an uncompromising vocal showcase for Adams and Robertson, whose voices drip with pathos as you truly feel the weight of whatever they had before. “Somethings been left unsaid/voices inside my head” the duo sing during the chorus and it also captures the perfect “tip of the tongue” feeling most have towards the end of a relationship. We’ve all wanted to get a clever or poignant last word in, but the song instead reframes it to a much more interesting lack of closure even in its own sense of closure. Even when the track ends with the spoken words “Let’s just be honest”, with Robertson responding “Okay”, the words hit the listener like a gut punch. On a structural level, the sense of escalation is wonderful with the layered production building upon each other with each reprise of the chorus.
As I stated earlier, Adams and Robertson work impeccably well together and have a strong vocal presence, even if it’s more Adam’s song with Robertson’s ethereal glow of a voice coming in like a specter of the relationships past. Even the line “And you come home” is delivered with the right special level of emotional height. It’s got the feeling of a classic that’s exciting for quite some time, and I think the timeless lyrics and general 70s inspired ballad groove to things add to their feeling. Younger listeners depending on their level of musical nuance might not entirely gel with it. It’s a song that requires a level of lived experience to truly resonate, but even if you’ve not had a decades long love affair, the song is still very successful in sharing its emotions so nakedly and interestingly.
It’s hard to reinvent the narrative wheel on songs, but rather than reinvent, Adams and Robertson have instead deconstructed the familiar and laid those parts out for us to analyze. Narratively it doesn’t place blame and instead lavishes in the rhythms of the band as the heartbreak lingers. “Over” is a captivating wrenching journey that can’t be recommended enough.
The music of Norm Adams and Julia Robertson has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com
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