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Cobey’s “Just Speak Up”: A Dramatic, Cinematic Break-Up Song

Cobey

One of the greatest problems that plagues all human interaction and all kinds of relationships is a simple issue of communication. Often, it is a lack of communication that creates problems between two people. But within that common issue of communication is this tendency for people to change for someone else. Sometimes these changes are subtle and not easily noticeable, but over time, someone can lose the essence of who they are in the name of a relationship. And when you lose the part of you that makes you who you are is when you know to leave.

This situation, one which we can all identify with, represents the “fork in the road” that Cobey sings of.

“I was standing at the fork in the road

Hoping I could come with you

I was terrified of what I’d become

And how it wasn’t an issue”

Though the story here might be simplistic in nature, it is no less profound for that. He has come to the realization that he has lost the essence of himself in the midst of this relationship, thus the fork in the road. But recognizing that alone is not enough to turn away from the person that he loves. He wants for his path to be the same as hers, but he is also able to look at himself, and he hates what he sees in that proverbial mirror. The breaking point here is the fact that “it wasn’t an issue” — she let him fall away from himself, and did not protest the changes. That realization — that she didn’t care enough about him to realize what had changed — gives him the strength to move on, to take the fork in the road whose path winds away from her.

“But now I can let you go.”

The music behind this deeply emotional story is dramatic and cinematic, full of complex drum patterns, sustained synth notes, and steady bass notes that creates the ground upon which this story walks.

The melody that plays on the guitar accomplishes the rare and amazing task of musically representing indecision. The guitarist plays a series of notes then bends to a higher pitch; when he returns to that original series of notes, you want to hear him returning to that original bend, but he doesn’t. The melody simply fades away, which aptly creates this aura of indecision and anxiety.

And later, when he takes the lonelier but more profound fork in the road, that repeating melodic idea enters in a wave of power and strength and self confidence.

The greatest power of the song, however, comes in the conclusion, when the music gradually fades away, and the vocals echo out into the silence:

“But now I can let you go.” 

It is a song with a resolution. It is a song that resolves with hope rather than despair, strength rather than indecision. It is a song with a simple message — to never lose sight of yourself — and it is a message that is communicated through a surging cycle of instruments and a simple, yet powerful, chorus.

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