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What comes across immediately in the opening measures of “One Is Half” by Just Nate is a sense of isolation. For the first four bars a solitary acoustic guitar plays a single note passage that’s an outline of the melody from the upcoming verse. By the fifth bar a voice comes in on top of the guitar motif like a shadow following its creator. The breathless voice quietly incants, “Life’s to short to love you/I’d just rather hate you/Don’t know why I like you/I just think your brand new/Drink myself to sleep now/Drink so you can sleep/Don’t know where we stand/I just know that I can’t”. As those cryptic words are sung they’re joined by a drummer playing a simple back beat. By the end of that verse a distorted electric guitar playing power chords, along with a bass guitar, usher us into the chorus – and then all hell breaks loose.
It’s in the chorus where we get to the meat of the matter. “Old age isn’t one to be/One is half is one is half is one is half is one is half/Yeah yeah yeah yeah…” Just Nate is all about hurt and “One Is Half” is all about pain. Injuries sustained from being deserted, by being abandoned, desolated and forsaken. It’s in the singer’s voice, carried by the aforementioned instruments and recapitulated in those lyrics. There’s no denying the ache, the agony, the impairment and the distress being musically conveyed here. Just Nate is carrying the torch for all the tortured souls who have suffered and been harmed, who have been wounded and have bled, been insulted and humiliated and borne a weight throughout their lives that is much greater than their own. Those who are spotted with disfigured shadows, even in the darkness.
“One Is Half” is sadness set to four-four time. Just Nate is the bruised, unhappy grunge rock messenger who delivers disturbing epiphanies to the distressed and scarred souls scraping along in a damaged, dystrophic world. Here’s an artist that offers no answers to questions about problems which are impossible to solve. An artist that’s a mystery, an enigma and a convoluted conundrum of emptiness that baffles and bewilders. Go ahead; I dare you to launch a Google search to find out more about the who, when and where of what is Just Nate. Try it and you’ll find nothing. Much like the empty emotions expressed in the song Just Nate is a perplexing barren void. An answerless riddle you can’t dismiss, or ever forget.