12/03: Commodores – Easy

I’m going to say this publicly. I want “Easy” played at my funeral. Why? Because it’s my favorite song of all-time.

Wait? What? A Commodores song? Lionel Richie with the afro so big that gravity was pulling the sides down Commodores? How in the world is this the song you want played at your funeral? How in the hell does a song about breaking up with your girlfriend become the song that you feel encapsulates your entire life?

The second verse:

Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?
I’ve paid my dues to make it
Everybody wants me to be what they want me to be
I’m not happy when I try to fake it, no

That verse was written in the context of not being happy in a relationship. Taken out of that narration, however, that verse defines my life.

Sidebar – She killed this:

I own one piece of vinyl and that’s the Commodores’ self-titled album that features this song.

One of the best songs in Cam’ron’s catalog is sampled from “Easy”.

I have not met anyone that doesn’t like this song.

It’s one of the best songs Lionel Richie has ever written. The sound of it is big; Richie’s vocals are subtle, drenched in regret. When he sings the hook, the song transforms from love lost into a joyous cry of freedom.

The bridge is easily one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Richie sings of being high and he lifts this track to the heights of the birds. He lets the listener hang after he sings “just me” and at this point, you wait with bated breath to see where he takes you next. His triumphant ad-lib launches a brief electric guitar solo that seems to carry you from the heavens back down to the mountainside, where we rejoin the hook, already in progress.

As the radio edit fades, you can hear the key change and Richie continuing to sing as the track fades to nothingness. For years, I was sad that they chose to fade the song instead of letting it end at a more natural point. It wasn’t until recently that I found out the album version is 40+ glorious seconds longer! Lionel gets to end the song his way and with that knowledge in hand, that is when I knew “Easy” was my favorite song ever. Those little things matter. The key change even represents the changing of morning into afternoon… according to Wikipedia. Take that as you will.

Lastly, “Easy” reminds me of the homies strangely enough. For some reason way back in 2002, we anointed this one of the songs that made up the official soundtrack of the Potomac State Roc-A-Fella. Easy, Wes, Chiv, Stevie, and me. When it wasn’t Come Home With Me or being awoken from a dead sleep by Busta’s “As I Come Back”, it was “Easy”. Life was easy then. I miss my friends. So if this is played at my funeral and one of them remembers the significance of this song, then I can rest easy. I’ll rest easy anyway, but that would just be the icing.

Man, I love this song.

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