While Get Some seemed to be channeling the go for broke energy and speed that marked S/T at its best, The End picks up right where Into The Wild left off, with the same graceful melody that makes a song like Guaranteed float along so effortlessly. It’s a simple song, carried almost entirely by the sentiment and delivery.
Lyrically The End is an anxious, tearful farewell. It has put many reviewers in the mind of someone dying of a terminal disease, and in many ways reminds me of Sarah McLaughlin’s song Hold On—not musically per se, but both are dealing with similar themes. However, Hold On is accepting and hopeful, encouraging the listeners to make the very most of the time they have left. The End, for all its beauty, is a bitter song (or at least bittersweet). Rather than be grateful for the time that’s left the subject seems haunted by all that he did not do, all that is about to be taken away, and all that he will be leaving behind. There isn’t quiet determination or stoic acceptance here. The singer knows he’s been cheated, and he’s too scared to be angry. What he is most afraid of is being forgotten—the emptiness and annihilation that comes with death, and this is new lyrical territory for Eddie, as compared to the peaceful inevitability of Long Road or the memorial celebration in Light Years.
This is also one of the most vulnerable pieces we’ve heard from Eddie in a long time—almost like Thumbing My Way without the delusion or Parting Ways without the distance, although I suspect The End could end up being a stronger overall piece, even if the lyrics are not quite as good as the two previous songs. His delivery is breathless and urgent, with a striking contrast between soft, delicate pleading and powerful vocal swells. It's nice to hear Eddie soaring again.
We’ve only heard one unadorned live version of this so far, but if The End made the record this one has the potential to be the strongest PJ ballad in a very long time.
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