October 22, 2003

Guest Blogger: David Anderson

An Open Letter to Brian McKnight, Singer-Songwriter of "Back at One"

Dear Mr. McKnight,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this letter. I am sure that with all of your autograph-signing and frolicking in your solid-gold swimming pool, that you have precious few moments to read letters from people such as myself, so I will therefore be brief.

I am writing in regards to your hit song, "Back at One," for which you made millions and millions of dollars. Now, I would never quibble with your lyric intent--as a contented fan says on the Amazon.com website, "Brian Mchknight's Back At One, in my opinion, is one the top five albums of the nineties [sic.]." But I was hoping that you would clarify the meaning of the chorus for me, as I have yet to completely decipher it. It appears that the chorus, at least, follows the standard format of a counting song, in that each line begins with the counted number (one, two, three, four) followed by the step that the narrator intends to follow next.

The first line, "One, you're like a dream come true," I understand to be a simile in which your narrator asserts a kind of metaphysical rightness in regards to his object of affection. And the second line, "Two, just want to be with you" continues this list of feelings that she inspires in the narrator. By the third line, "Three, Girl it's plain to see, that you're the only one for me," you have clearly established this pattern--the listener now has the expectation that each number will correspond to a reason, if you will, that the narrator's girl is the only one for him. Now, line four is where I get hung up. In it, you sing. "Four, repeat steps one through three /Make you fall in love with me." It seems here that you are treating lines one through three as if they were steps that one could follow. But if you remember, step one was, "One, you're like a dream come true," which seems to be more a statement of fact then a step which one could follow, indeed, a step that, if followed, would make the girl fall in love with the narrator. Lines two and three only further the confusion. How could one repeat the step "Just want to be with you," or even "Girl it's plain to see, that you're the only one for me?"

I'm sure you can imagine my concern upon hearing this in your song. If I, for example, had a girl that I felt was the only one for me, and wished to emulate your narrator's methods in an effort to make said girl fall in love with me, then where would I begin? "Repeat steps one through three," your narrator mockingly tells me, as I vainly attempt to carry out step one, "you're like a dream come true." Certainly you would admit that no girl has ever been made to fall in love with a person for simply "wanting to be with you."

Thank you for your time--if you have any suggestions on how I can resolve this dilemma, I would appreciate it greatly if you could let me know.

A Concerned Listener

Posted by lisa at October 22, 2003 09:22 AM

And how! The logical suppositions are clearly frustrating and futile for making love.

Posted by: Blake on October 29, 2003 10:48 PM
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