With rhythm guitar and a light drum kit pumping the lifeblood of this track, Quentin Brunel’s vocals are graveled and cold. The minor chords bounce off of a brooding bass as the song progresses. The lyrics dig deeper and deeper into the most shadowy stages of an existential crisis. But when an electric guitar enters and solos after the second chorus, powerful and beautiful notes emerge and flower. Finally, the song draws to a close, and the listener is left with the question that has haunted the entire piece, a question that has in some ways transformed into an answer; In the face of aching sadness and loss, “Why must I carry on?”
Quentin Brunel’s track “Carry On” is not just about loss. It’s about deep loss. It’s explores that special kind of loss that only comes with extreme emotional connection and attachment. We’re never told exactly who the singer has lost or how. All we know is that it happened “in a heartbeat” and the fallout was tremendous. We also don’t know how long this feeling has lasted. The singer confesses the he doesn’t know himself. The ambiguity here adds an element of universality to the moment. This kind of sudden, profound loss and its accompanying feelings of emptiness can potentially be felt by anyone. The feeling might last for a few seconds or a few years. Nonetheless, the moment Quentin Brunel brings up here is undeniably a genuine one.
The very special thing about Quentin Brunel’s “Carry on” is the message in its refrain. No matter how much his lyrics meander into the forlorn, he continues to return to the question “Why must I carry on?” He doesn’t have a ready answer for us though. Instead, he leaves us with the question, a prompt to discover some sense of individual purpose in a life that might at times feel meaningless.