The melody to Little King’s “Amber Waves (Goodbye)” sounds a little bit like John Cougar’s “Jack & Diane.” However, it greatly differs rhythmically, in that it’s an upbeat, acoustic guitar strummed recording. It also contrasts with Little King’s other recorded output, in that it is a romantic song of “Sweet self-indulgence,” as the band puts it in the song’s lyric. It is very sugary and pop, at least when stood side by side with the rest of this act’s catalogue.
It begins: “Well, bless your heart for breaking mine,” sadly. It is, in contrast to the track’s melodic upbeat-ness, a rather unhappy number. The group is from Texas, where the term ‘bless your heart’ can oftentimes be used as a put-down. The brokenhearted one in this song is riding both waves of anger and sorrow. He’s probably experiencing these emotions alternately, as so often happens when a relationship comes to its end.
The artwork for the single pictures a woman motoring alone in a red convertible, driving off into the sunset, seemingly without a care in the world. She’s holding her hair in the blowing wind and tossing her sunglasses into the air. This is, one supposes, an image of Amber waving goodbye. Amber is the heartbreaker. If she is hurt after the breakup, she certainly doesn’t look like it in this image.
In addition to prominent acoustic guitar on the track, there is also an out-front bass line. The vocalist sounds a bit like Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction in some places. About midway through, we hear nice, Grateful Dead-esque guitar noodles filling out the mix. This is also the point where an elastic bass part begins to spar with the electric and acoustic guitar. In addition to lead lines, an electric guitar rhythmic part also joins the growing number of sonic inclusions.
On the second half of the song, a little bit of that anger shows through. Over a more rocking electric guitar riff, the singer announces, “I reserve the right to feel like anybody would.” He is clearly stinging from the recent romantic pain inflicted upon him, and he will not be silent about that. In addition to the harsher instrumental sounds, the singing also takes on a scratchier tone. After this aggressive midsection, the track returns to the more jovial tone heard at the beginning. It’s almost as though the vocalist needed to get some anger off his chest, before returning to a calmer demeaner.
If you sample some of Little King’s other recordings, you’ll notice how a lot of it rocks a lot harder than this example. This song rocks as well, but only in a small place, and not all the way through. Even with somewhat gentler musical tones, though, one can still sense the anger and hurt running through it. Who knows how Amber actually turned out. Perhaps the weight of the pain she caused this poor guy will eventually hit her. He can only hope so. If nothing else, however, a really good song came out of it all. This benefit likely won’t heal a broken heart, but it’s at least a small silver lining. In the end, one is left believing Amber waved goodbye, and isn’t coming back.