FFWDing to the Best Part: “To Be With You,” Mr. Big (1991)

Y’all, each day it takes a fair amount of restraint to not select a song from the 1987-1991 heyday of hair metal. (Thanks for ruining all that was right with the world, KURT COBAIN.) This genre is so full of bravado and power chords that I DARE you to not find a “best part” within even some of the worst among the catalog.

Today’s pick, however, is unequivocally one of the best of its breed! First, the sweet earnestness with which lead singer Eric Martin (yeah, yeah, I had to Wiki that) delivers the lyrics makes me believe (deep inside) that he, in fact, truly does want to be with me!

Best part? 2:51. You think it’s the post-bridge key change (2:28), with its dramatic pause and increased tambourine-play.  But then!  The key changes again, back to the original!  And while the backing vocals revert to a lower register, the lead part somehow manages to swell further in intensity!  It’s a clever little surprise, and far less “cheap” than one simple dramatic key change.  Yeah, I’m looking at you, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”


Side note, singing friends. This song is a toughie at karaoke. It is never clear if you are supposed to slog through the chorus with the backing singers, or pseudo-improvise the lead vocals. “Waaaaiiited on a line,” and etc. etc. Better to leave this one to the professionals.


2 thoughts on “FFWDing to the Best Part: “To Be With You,” Mr. Big (1991)

  1. one of our classmates (who I shall not name, but who likes to solicit wedding gifts) suffered through this song over and over and over many weeks as I drove us around – I was particularly enamored of the aforementioned key change.

  2. It’s where 80s hair metal meets 90s unplugged. See also “Extreme.” How did Aerosmith end up as the only pre-1990 band allowed to make popular rock after that date?

    The guitarist is really snapping the strings on the instrumental chorus. The Barry Manilow upwards key change is only a surprise in the sense that you wouldn’t expect a hair band to have the moxy to throw in such a 70s soft rock touch. As you say, the true surprise is the reverse modulation afterward. Bonus points for having a decent verse melody.

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