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DLC Week of 1/25: Dido, Rusted Root, and The Calling

The Calling “Wherever You Will Go,” Dido “Thank You,” and Rusted Root “Send Me On My Way” take the sting out of loss. All good things must come to an end, but a powerfully delivered melody with spot-on lyrical content can send us on to new adventures with a (bittersweet) smile.

Lead single from The Calling’s 2001 debut LP, Camino Palmero, “Wherever You Will Go” became an absolute juggernaut at the turn of the century. After its release as a single in late May of that year, the track ultimately had a nearly unprecedented 23-week run as a U.S. Adult Top-40 #1 hit.

Gentle guitar arpeggios begin the song, with lead singer and band co-founder Alex Band soon adding his plaintive vocals to a tender, lilting verse melody. From there, sparse and tasteful rhythm is defined by drummer Nate Wood and bass player Billy Mohler. At the 42-second mark, the four-piece ramps up the emotion and intensity for the chorus – a passionate, soaring transition that finds the melody rising along with Band’s fiery delivery. The second verse/chorus follow the by-now established structure before, at 1:52, we reach the track’s middle-eight section, which is somewhat more aggressive and desperate in nature. From there it’s back to the stripped-back, guitar-and-vocals arrangement of “Wherever You Will Go”’s very beginning before The Calling stretches out, vamping on main elements of the refrain through to the song’s conclusion, giving the instrumentalists – particularly band co-founder and guitarist Aaron Kamin – room to shine.

The deeply personal, touching lyrics tug at proverbial heartstrings and pair perfectly with both the song’s dramatic structure and impassioned performances. Kamin, who penned “Wherever You Will Go” alongside Band has shared that, "At the time [of writing the song] my grandmother's best friend had passed away and she left behind a husband of 50 or more years and I was at the funeral and afterwards I just started thinking of what it would be like to be him and have your whole life change so dramatically and not for the best in a matter of moments. Somebody that you live and grow with and are one with, just to be gone, is crazy and I figured all he ever thinks about probably is finding a way to get back to her or be with her or make sure she's alright or something like that. That was the sentiment behind that."

Told you it was touching!

A huge, career-defining hit for The Calling that was the soundtrack for many a relationship at the turn of the aughts, “Wherever You Will Go” remains a staple on the radio, on-screen, and at nearly every wedding in the past 20-plus years. It’s 3:26 of emotive, catchy pop-rock – and a perfect way to say “Goodbye”… without really letting go.

“Thank You,” from UK chanteuse Dido’s 1999 debut disc, No Angel, remains as affecting and memorable a song as it was upon initial release. The brooding, bittersweet track first gained widespread recognition – particularly stateside – as a prominent sample in one of the biggest hip-hop cuts of the era, but soon enough Dido, herself, had become an beloved icon. “Thank You” remains the singer’s sole U.S. Top-10 single, peaking at #3 in the Spring of 2001.

Beginning with a sultry conga groove, at 11 seconds in both acoustic guitar and piano are added to the mix, creating an ever-expanding sonic palette. 23 seconds in, that soundscape grows larger, with the addition of a taut electronic drum beat and bass line – and beneath *that*, far lower in the mix, a barely perceptible cuíca part, which reinforces the off-beats. Dido’s distinctive, breathy croon joins 12 seconds later as the first verse begins. The second verse (1:05) mirrors the first in structure and melody, leading into the chorus at 1:29, which is given additional heft courtesy of some angelic background vocals and quasi-yodeling on Dido’s part. After that first refrain, at 1:53, we reach the instrumental bridge which features a gentle recorder solo (Dido) over the same chord progression as the chorus. This segues into a third verse which deviates from the melody of the first two somewhat and then glides into the final double-refrain before the song fades out and concludes at 3:37.

What’s Dido singing about in this one? One of “Thank You”’s many strengths – a reason it connected so immediately with listeners – is the direct nature of the lyrics. Dido steers clear of deep metaphors or flowery language, but rather engages in an honest, easily digested expression of life’s trials and tribulations, but with something of a happy ending. Specifically, the contradictions of day-drinking and being generally bummed out (verses) are contrasted by the grateful joy for the object of the singer’s affection in the chorus.

As “Thank You” has been fairly ubiquitous for nearly a quarter-century, odds are you’re familiar; if not, get ready for one of the undisputed triumphs of contemporary pop.

A go-to motion picture, television, and commercial soundtrack anchor of the past few decades, it feels as if Rusted Root’s upbeat “Send Me On My Way” has never been far from the public consciousness since it was first released back in 1994. The lead single from the Pennsylvania-based worldbeat septet’s second album, When I Woke, it’s an infectious track that – in rather insidious fashion – worms its way into the listener’s subconscious. Beginning with a buoyant, clean guitar figure, the song soon adds rumbling bass, backing vocals, and peppy percussion. At the 16-second point, singer-guitarist Michael Glabicki adds his uniquely trebly, breathy vocals to the affair, enhanced and underscored with pan flutes and additional percussion. The pre-chorus begins roughly 50 seconds in and it’s an expansive, joyous moment replete with more background vox that brings the melody up while the tempo straightens out somewhat, before we reach the chorus at 1:09 – which, really, is more of a return to the song’s intro than anything else... making the pre-chorus the “true chorus?” Judge for yourself. 

From there, “Send Me On My Way” follows much of the same melodic and harmonic structure, mixing things up by adding and subtracting instrumentation here and there, or playing with the beat. The overall result is just under four-and-a-half minutes of sonic ebullience. No wonder so many movies have relied on this cut to inject some serious “happy vibes” into their cinematic works!

"I remember just walking right into our studio during the day,” Glabicki explains of working on “Send Me On My Way.” “I remember it being very sunny. We had these big windows in this warehouse and the sun was shining in, and as soon as I walked in I picked up the guitar and just started writing it. It was just a very, very happy feeling. You could feel that there was a lot of happiness in the room. Whether that was an extension of me or something else in there that was very happy, you just felt it. Just like a super happy feeling."

Rusted Root certainly captured that happy feeling and, while the song is – lyrically – about departure and moving on – there’s no melancholy to be found in confronting that closure. All good things must come to an end, after all…

The Calling “Wherever You Will Go,” Dido “Thank You,” and Rusted Root “Send Me On My Way,” are now available as DLC. All three can now be yours for $1.99 each.

  • The Calling – “Wherever You Will Go”
  • Dido – “Thank You”
  • Rusted Root – “Send Me On My Way”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 1/25: The Calling “Wherever You Will Go,” Dido “Thank You,” and Rusted Root “Send Me On My Way.”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, January 25th.