Skip to main content

Synth Single Review: "Living Without You" by NeverMann & Dana Jean Phoenix

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

NeverMann feat. Dana Jean Phoenix, "Living Without You"

NeverMann feat. Dana Jean Phoenix, "Living Without You"

NeverMann and Dana Jean Phoenix’s Living Without You is a dialogue between our two characters working through the emotional complexity of their affair. Glassy, gentle chimes trail light touches over the music as bubbling, lush synth floats up around them. Guitar calls out with a gritty, bright tone and the hard-hitting retro drums form a pulse as NeverMann and Dana Jean Phoenix’s vocals intertwine in a duet that drips expression and pure ‘80s pop vibes.

The beats and bass propel the song with a shaping pulse while both singers’ vocals soar out with emotion and powerful retro vibes. Dana Jean Phoenix and NeverMann’s voices blend together nicely, stand out individually and suit the lyrics well as the bursting drums keep moving the song onwards. Flashing synths leap out to accent the energetic, yearning vocal melody and the big retro drums throb on.

A bass pulse also guides the music and the vocals soar upwards as the guitar leaps in and big orchestra hits flare up in gleaming moments. The guitar wheels and spins as Dana Jean Phoenix and NeverMann let their classic sounding voices rip with passion and power. Underneath it all, the percussion is unstoppable.

Dana Jean Phoenix

Dana Jean Phoenix

The first narrator says that he “never thought this night would end” as he watched the other person sleeping and wondered “how this could be.” Our second narrator talks about how she can’t understand how it happened on “the morning after” because she went to “close this” and leave the key.”

He responds by saying that “when you left, I couldn’t let you go” because in him she’d found “somebody, burning just like you do.” She replies that she thought she wanted something different and adds “this is the last night, closing the door on you.” In the chorus they both say that “I can't believe I'm living without you and I know I'm nothing when I'm living without you now.”

The female narrator starts by pointing out that “a simple word can never be unsaid” and that she’d apologized and said she’d be true to the other person. He in turn says that he wishes they’d never leave the bed. He adds “asked you to stay here, leaving that other dude.” She replies that she’d told him it was “a one night thing” and goes on to say “I'm never leaving him.” Our male storyteller responds “tomorrow night, when you're here again, wish you could stay here forever, baby now.”

He goes on to ask the other person to “lay back down, no need to hurry” and she points out that “you don't want to be left alone yet you don't even seem too worried.” His reply is to say that it’s because “every time you come back home.” They say in unison that “whenever we're apart, you always break my heart. We've made this into art now, baby I know."

There’s a smoother feeling to the “Silk Version” of Living Without You as quickly trickling, jazzy synth moves in. The drums are less massive and more gliding in this version. The song’s overall feeling is more laid back and has more of a romantic vibe to it and some extra funk. The song has a different, lighter feeling while still emphasizing the emotions and strength of the vocals.

Angular synth bursts in and the percussion has a different sensation to it, adding to this version’s R&B elements. This take gives the whole song a more tender vibe. The drums and bass sit in the pocket while shinier, jazz-inflected synth dances through. What is the same is the way in which Dana Jean Phoenix and NeverMann voices interact. The guitar solo lends the song a feeling of dynamic life and the vocals spiral upward and explode with feeling.

The single also includes an instrumental version of Living Without You.

© 2022 Karl Magi