I was listening to an Alicia Keys mix on Amazon Prime Music and I absolutely think she should be held in higher esteem than she is. The way she arrived on the scene in 2001 with Songs in A Minor was spectacular. Several tracks off that album—like “Girlfriend”, “Troubles”, “The Life”, “Mr. Man”, and the Japanese-released “Rear View Mirror”—have homes in my Juan Thomas Presents… playlists. But it’s a track off her As I Am album that resonates with me most. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Alicia Keys’ “Go Ahead”.
How I first came across this moment? It was during my deployment to Iraq when I came across the track. As part of some kind of morale booster for having us in some crappy conditions away from our families and all, the 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group had this shared drive loaded with all kinds of films, television shows, and music. It was back in mid-November 2007 that I came across new music from Alicia Keys in her just-released As I Am album. After the intro, “Go Ahead” started playing and the first verse definitely lured me in. I parked it right there…on repeat.
What it meant to me then? At the time, I was less than a year removed from my relationship with Chavon ending and I was feel real burnt as a result of the abortion. The lyrics resonated with me: Broken promises/My heart you stole/Lies you told/Got the best of me/Digging in my heart of gold. It epitomized that whole relationship. Even more so with a line from the 2nd verse: Leaving me here to drown/Hopes and dreams left for dead. For so many months, I had simply muted my frustrations regarding all of the s*** Chavon did to nuke our relationship, including taking the life of the baby off the board. But, upon first listen of this track, I let out my frustrations for the first time…in the November 17, 2007 entry into Triumphs & Tribulations VIII. The track was my go-to track regarding bad blood in relationships until I discovered Track 13 off Lina’s Morning Star the following spring.
What it means to me now? Today, the track still has a place in my Windows Media Player library. While I’m long removed from the Chavon era of my life, the track actually came back into play during the Long Hot Summer of 2011. Those same lyrics from Verses 1 & 2 probably resonated more in that situation than it did in the 2007 situation. Nevertheless, “Go Ahead” is one of the best tracks in the Juan Thomas Presents…Heartbreak Hotel playlist. It’s still cold-blooded and I still feel the anger in it…and I still love it.