In March, Munich-based rocker Chuck Winter released a gritty and existential single titled “The End”. Accompanied by an ominous production, Winter’s dark and raspy voice illuminates the essence of human existence and mortality: we are all born and we all die, regardless of what we experience throughout life.
The first two verses of the song depict a lifestyle that would seem desirable to anyone with the idea of a pleasant life in their head:
Never had an absent father
Never had a crying mother
Never had a violent brother
Never different from the others
Always had a lotta money
Always lived off milk and honey
Always clean shirts never muddy
All my days were ever sunny
Upon hearing these first lyrics, we are thinking that this song might be about a life of luxury, and what being coincidentally born into something like that would feel like. But it seems odd, because the tone of the song is so dark and his voice so pained, while the subject matter (so far) feels positive.
This causes a sense of anticipation for the song to somehow change course, because we can feel that something is off.
This feeling is proven right when we hear the chorus:
But all that is just chance
At the end nothing lasts
We all cry when we’re born
We all die and others mourn
Winter’s powerful, raspy voice has a way of really making these words hit home, and force us to think about what he’s saying. No one can really control their “fate”, i.e. the life they are born into. People living the life depicted in the first two verses just got lucky, while those living less fortunate lives, are less so.
Though who’s to say that one’s quality of life is determinate on the things they have or have gone through? Things and experiences don’t follow us to the grave. As Winter says, “At the end nothing lasts”.
After the first run-through of the chorus, Winter almost repeats the first verses, but not quite. He switches the never’s from the beginning of the first four lines to always’, and vice versa in the second four lines. I.e., “Always had an absent father…” and “Never had a lotta money…”.
Thus, changing the meaning of the lyrics to a portrayal of a much harder and less privileged life. However, once the chorus comes back around, he sings the same words, as if to reinforce the notion that everything is random and none of it matters because the only predictable thing in life is death.
After this return to the chorus, we hear an intense, fast-paced, and escalating drum intermission crash into the song’s instrumental apex as Winter’s powerful vocals return fiercer than before to remind us one more time that whatever our lives have in store for us, we can all count on the fact that we were born and, in “The End”, we all die.