Saturday, February 11, 2006

Without You (1982) – Asia

In “Without You,” fire, smoke and varying degrees of darkness and light symbolize the stages and outlook of John Wetton’s relationship. Keyboards sedately greet the morning’s first light as a new romance begins. But, a byproduct of the flames of passion is the haze of uncertainty about the future. As the sky further illuminates, it dawns upon Wetton that they must actively forge a future together, instead of becoming complacent in the present, or risk another failed relationship. Throughout, guitarist Steve Howe intersperses a cluster of trills. Wetton’s sonorous multi-layered vocal harmonies explore augmented chords in the transitionary “without you” refrain, caressing notes that may initially sound foreign to the chord (a distinctive Wetton signature).

However, the burning desire within soon dwindles. In the gloaming, the dimly lit vastness finds him unexpectedly alone. There is a glimmer of brightness in the interlude: Geoff Downes springs one of his trademark jaunty keyboard phrases in unison with Howe’s guitar. Wetton confesses a longing that is exacerbated by uncertainty, yet Howe’s expressive soloing conveys a sense of optimism while Carl Palmer frolics among the toms. However, the mood inevitably turns somber again as the guitar spirals back down to a forlorn reality.

A bell tolls in the twilight. On some evenings, Wetton dwells upon his heartache. Yet, his memories stave off the loneliness. A new dawn appears—and with it new horizons of hope—as the sound of snare paradiddles fades out.

  • Listen to "Without You" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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