You can go from “not looking for the one” to “lovin’ you makes my heart sing a song” in an instant.
I have been a Musiq fan ever since I heard “Love” on the radio. His 2008 release, OnMyRadio, has been in rotation in my car for the last few weeks. There’s just something about his music that reminds me of what R&B is meant to be: a storytelling or retelling of an emotional experience. Listening to his latest album, LifeOnEarth, makes me feel the authenticity he brings to music: a vivid, yet, realistic author depicting how life works. LifeOnEarth is full of three things: love, heartbreak, and growth.
Let’s dig into the first three tracks on the album, “Wait a Minute,” “Who Really Loves You,” and “Heart Away.” They’re about the moment when you find out love has found you: First, you realize it, then you sabotage it, and finally, you try to recreate it.
That recreation, though, sometimes comes at a cost, with you constantly giving it away to every person you meet. Of course, not all of those people are deserving of the best parts of you. You can’t make fetch happen with everyone, but when it does happen with that one person, as Musiq discovers in “Lovin’ You” and lead single “I Do,” it’s magical.
Love can transform your perspective entirely. You can go from “not looking for the one” to “lovin’ you makes my heart sing a song” in an instant. But that same love can also cause frustration, as “I Do” states: “Sometimes I don’t like you”—still, he chooses her every single time.
“Changed My Mind” and “Walk Away” are oxymoronic, with the former’s horns singing the revival of the heart, and the latter describing how and when you should leave love behind. But when we leave it behind, how do we know if it’s just too “Far Gone”? The aforementioned track (featuring Rhapsody) poses the question: “Can we get back what we’ve lost or are we too far gone to turn it around,” even if “I can only take your company in small doses.”
An electric guitar provides the melody, as Joi Starr sings, “Do something about it” as “Part of Me” comes on. It’s a repeating line, accompanying her telling the first side of the story, two old lovers reconnecting with each other. She expresses how looking at her old love with his new love makes her feel she’s been poorly replaced and can’t even see the chemistry between them. Soulchild responds to her accusations, saying that she is right, while asking who’s going to do something about it. It ends just as incompletely as that encounter does: It’s nice to see each other after a while, when you remember the things you miss about each other. You know, though, that neither of you will make a move, so it disappears just as quickly as it came. It’s just good to know that each of you are “Alive and Well,” and sometimes that’s enough.
The final two tracks, “The Girl” and title track “Life on Earth,” recount the simple pleasures of love and how it all comes together in the end. We’re all searching to find that missing piece, to find someone who doesn’t think we’re asking too much: “Just somebody to love and somebody that’s going to be there/ Don’t leave, and love me.”
And that’s what it’s all about here on Earth: finding someone worth loving until the end of time. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t worthy of the amazing blessing that is love, but it’s a part of our purpose. Because, love, “You are everything I want, that I need/ Nothing matters when you are here with me.” B | Ashley White