Chuckie Campbell’s regretful, reflective single, “All I Meant” opens with the smooth, thick vocals of Cole Jonique, wasting no time pulling the listener in. The music video is focused in part on a simple and beautiful lone dancer, Precious Lanee, Chuckie Campbell himself as he delivers his verses, and a (admittedly contrived-looking) glimpse into a relationship strained by alcoholism.
Despite the inauthenticity of the scene between the presumed husband and wife in the video, the song rides on its own strengths. The hook commands our attention, a mournful and unforgettable melodic regret clearly sung from the heart. Throughout the whole song, the lyrics are vivid recreations of pictures from a regretful look into the past. “All I Meant” reminds us that the simplicity of piano and a steady beat can speak soulful volumes about woeful retrospect.
His lyrics may have something to do with it, too. The Buffalo, NY native writes short stories and poems in addition to music. His knack for storytelling can be heard in “All I Meant,” which is the second single off of Campbell’s “Most Die Of Heartbreak.” The project was received with critical acclaim by outlets such as the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Young Hollywood. Chuckie Campbell is also a 2014 winner of All WNY Music Awards’ Best Hip Hop/Rap Performer and Best New Artist.
A moment of confusion plagues us, however. We want to enjoy this song thoroughly, but Chuckie’s last verse switches things up, abandoning the beat beneath it and flowing outside the bounds of rhythm. Intentionally so, perhaps, but it still gives us a feeling of lost balance that makes it hard to listen to comfortably and free of the suspicion that something is off. If it is intentional, we might commend Mr. Campbell on a choice to further communicate the message of “All I Meant” using a sort of free form lyricism. Regardless, the problem definitely lies in our inability to discern whether it was indeed a choice or not.
Still, the song as a whole is a beautiful interpretation of the immense difficulty of human relations and the weight they can be held under. Check out the video for “All I Meant” below, or listen (and download!) on Soundcloud, here.