For anyone wondering how country bumpkin Blake Shelton’s relationship with the punk rocker Gwen Stefani works so well, I point to their newest duet, “Nobody But You,” as a perfect explanation.
While the two aren’t married, this song sounds like a lyrical engagement, a musical proposal and an intertwining of not only voices, but souls.
They might not be ready to put a ring on it, but let me tell you, this duet has a beautiful ring to it.
This isn’t the couple’s first duet, however. The duo’s 2016 duet, “Go Ahead and Break My Heart,” is a precursor to “Nobody But You.” The first duet was an experiment — the new couple wrote the song together, sending each other lyrics back and forth. Their voices alternated and taunted each other to break one another’s hearts. The two started dating a year ago at that point, and Stefani’s uncertainty with the new relationship was evident. She sings, “But I’m so scared, I don’t know what to do. How did you get me so into you?”
Now though, there’s no doubt. Shelton and Stefani are no longer an experiment — they’re an establishment.
Shelton opens the song with these thoughtful lyrics: “I don’t want to look back in 30 years and wonder who you’re married to.” The normally witty and fun-loving Shelton known for lyrics like, “She put the S.O.B. in sober,” sounds serious. He sounds sober.
Then Stefani’s voice joins his, and it’s like it was there all along. She matches his country twang in such a way that makes me thing she’s been crooning rather than belting about bananas for the last several decades.
The union of their voices brought tears to my eyes, sort of like when two newlyweds walk down the aisle after completing their vows.
The chorus, “I don’t want to live without you; I don’t want to even breathe. I don’t want to dream about you; I want you to wake up next to me,” is some of the most genuine lyrics I have heard in country music.
So much of country music is about casual love — one night stands, beautiful girls across the bar, a summer fling, the one that got away.
This song is permanent. It represents a love much greater than the flirtatious couple that fell in love while coaching on The Voice. It sounds like soul mates singing with one voice about a shared life plan that includes only one another. Nobody but you.
The chorus continues as the two chant in unison, “Looking at you right now, if I had to die now, I don’t want to love nobody but you.”
These aren’t lyrics anyone can take lightly, especially from two singers in a serious romantic relationship. They sound like wedding vows.
After the first chorus, the two reflect on the past. Both Shelton and Stefani were previously married before finding one another. In “Go Ahead and Break My Heart,” the lyrics hinted that they originally may have started dating to help one another heal.
In “Nobody But You” they sing, “All the wasted days, all the wasted nights. I blame it all on being young. Got no regrets because it got me here, but I don’t want to waste another one.”
These lines make me feel proud of Shelton and how far he has come and how he has healed and learned to love again. I have been following his musical progression since his divorce with country star Miranda Lambert in July 2015. At first, his music was angry and sarcastic. Then it was contemplative. Then it was swooning and full of awe at his new relationship with Stefani.
Most recently, in “God’s Country” it was spiritual and patriotic.
Now, it’s matured, and it’s truly magical. I want to be invited to their inevitable wedding, so I can watch them dance to this song.
Shelton and Stefani can’t release a song like this and break up, right?