With the general recognition of both P!nk, the moniker of Alecia Moore, and Nate Ruess, frontman of the band fun., the song Just Give Me A Reason was already assured widespread appeal. Both musicians tout an impressive following of listeners drawn in by commercial attractiveness and parent approved impudence, (ironic punctuation undoubtedly contributed to the collaboration as well) but together, the pair prospered in the combination of Moore's suburban rebels of the early 2000s and Ruess's suburban rebels of the early 2010s. Sending waves of upper-middle-class, quarter-life angst cascading through each austere chord and grandiose boomclap, their anthem of tuitional love festers into the cold-hearted warmth of summer, presaging next semester's labour's lost.
In the initial stanza, the penmanship of Ruess is unmistakable; his coy chord progressions flourish, and his signature tumbling melodies are crooned by a demure Moore. She immerses herself in the silences, imploring the listener to occupy the vacuum left by reticent lyrics and scant accompaniment. The chorus pangs through a deafening chasm of star crossed angst, "We're not broken, just bent / and we can learn to love again," resonating adversity tremendous as Montagues and Capulets. A tenuous drum-machine rhythm echoes an emotionally stunted attitude towards relationships, ensuring teen-girl fervor. Moore's voice chafes and scratches every pulsating arpeggio, welcoming Ruess's vocal debut in the impending verse. His quaint tenor contrasts Moore's trepid rasp, imitating the distinction in perspective of their characters at this point in the plot. Ruess's indifference to structured rhythm is reminiscent of a high school musician's first experiments with the flexibility of jazz, longing to mimic the grueling emotion expressed in a blues ballad, but lacking the grit and humility accrued beyond frivolous, middle-class trivialities. Finally their voices blend and fuse in majestic harmony, culminating in a bridge that bursts into the stratosphere of insecurity and incohesive babble, fully realizing the facets of an undergraduate relationship at its threshold, frantically clawing at the terminal shreds of intimacy. Following such a passionate outburst, even the artificial strings surrender, abandoning our singers, suspending them in unison over widowed rhythms. The inescapable demise of the affair yields our cursed couple parroting their desperate slogan, "We're not broken, just bent / and we can learn to love again," continuing to embrace codependence, inviting fate to suffocate their final, exhausted wisp of hope.
Moore flaunts her brand of rebellious feminism masquerading as a damsel in distress, brilliantly engaging audiences who wish to see a woman take control of her own destiny and those who would have a white knight rescue them from provincial despair. Meanwhile, Ruess is this young generation's Enjorlas, leading college students everywhere to stand up for a common cause, and one day they might even discover what that cause is. Bonding a fetish for androgyny and auto-tune, Ruess and Moore have concocted a song for the summer, destined to make an enduring impression on a young and impressionable culture.
Just Give Me A Reason: A toast to the suburban rebels! May your angst be your ambition beyond a BA in english.