Unplugged Headphones: The Only Thing (Dave East)




According to the “most played” category on my phone, this song is the song I’ve listened to more than any other (partly because I fell asleep with it on loop that one night but that’s neither here nor there).

This song is put together really well, the way the drums kick in is so cinematic and Abir’s vocals on the chorus send chills straight down the back of your spine.

On this song Dave East details his struggle in pursuit of this “thing”, and the eventual fulfillment he felt when he was able to obtain it or as he put it, “Imagine changing your life after you said you’d do it”.

The thing he’s referring to is a career in music. Throughout the most difficult times in his life he was able to find solace in knowing what he wanted and having faith that he would one day achieve it. I think the reason I love this song is because you can really feel how single-minded he was about becoming a rapper; the aggression in his voice, the refusal to take “no” for an answer.

The “thing” is different for everyone, but the significance of “thing” is the same. Everyone needs something to provide some form of meaning to their life (chasing a dream, providing for their family, etc), without that thing life can become a monotonous chore, a daily process of going through the motions, which eventually leads to frustration.


Dave East with his parents and his daughter Kairi Chanel



That lyric really hits home.

I have always tried to be content with what I’ve had, not wanting to voice that I want more because I felt like it would come across as slap across the face of those who worked hard to make life easier for me. This song and that lyric in particular remind me that there’s nothing wrong with “wanting more”, wanting more for yourself and those around you is good thing (maybe not on a material level, but definitely on a spiritual level). “Goal orientation” isn’t just something you write on your CV, it’s essential to life.

We all need that “thing”.