by Mike Scarfo
One of the most gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking conversations we’ve all experienced in our lives at some point or another: the dreaded break-up of a romantic relationship. I know, I apologize for triggering anyone; even as I write this it’s sending shivers down my spine as I think back to a few break-ups of my own. There’s really no words that can describe the feeling you get from being on either end. The person initiating the break-up is often left with feelings of emptiness and guilt, while being broken up with usually endures impending gloom and restlessness. But again, this is putting it mildly in comparison to the realistic emotions one feels in the aftermath of a break-up.
Normally in music, more frequently we hear the side of the person who has been dumped and left to meticulously mend the pieces of a broken heart. Yet, I would argue having to put an end to a relationship is even more difficult than being on the opposite end, and that’s exactly what Massachusetts-native, Rhode-Island-based pop artist, The China Blue, contrasts on his latest single “Nervous”.
By all accounts, The China Blue successfully captures the overwhelming anxiety one feels when they realize they’ve reached the end of the road with a significant other, in this case a long-term four-year relationship. “Nervous” is uniquely written in multiple perspectives through first, third, and even second person, which is one of the most difficult and rare writing techniques in the English language. However, when used effectively, it can have a lasting impression on the listener or reader. For example, The China Blue writes the hook in such a way that the listener is forced to realistically implant themselves into the song’s narrative:
“why are you so nervous / just be honest, is it over? / because after four years I don’t deserve this at all / how could you desert this? / I hope you find your purpose”
This writing style is impactful because it compels the audience to consider what it would be like if “you” were actually in this situation, albeit most of us have been. Simultaneously, the hook portrays this woman’s defensive and understandable emotions as she is clearly blind-sided by the news.
But it is The China Blue (or the main character in the storyline) who is truly at odds, as he experiences nauseating anxiety “tossing and turning throughout the night” over how to end this relationship without hurting her. Don’t believe me? Check out the music video below, as the imagery of reckless apprehension comes to life.
He recognizes that no matter how he handles it, he is going to break her heart. The listener can empathize with the fact that hurting her is the last thing he wants to do, even though it will be best for both of them in the long run. It’s the fear of the impending conflict that is the most difficult part, and yet the audience gets the sense that he is fumbling over his words in the moment. No matter how long he prepares or avoids this situation, the immensity becomes far too paramount to endure. This ultimately leaves her without closure, conveying sentiments of her self-worth and dignity.
Sonically, The China Blue conveys this heartbreakingly relatable story through melodic croons and falsettos backed by a colorful synth-pop instrumental. The sheer accessibility of the melody and beat of “Nervous” pairs beautifully with the engaging lyricism. Of course, major credit should also go to the song’s lead engineer, the very talented H3x, who is also an artist himself and heavily involved with our Turntable Teachers team.
The China Blue impresses with this release on numerous fronts, as both a vocalist and producer, but more importantly as a writer, something he values and has discussed at length on his Guest Speaker podcast episode with us. Be on the lookout for The China Blue’s upcoming EP later this spring.
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