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Finally, Johnson takes the mic for a lead vocal! His voice is angelic, pure and impassioned on this touching rock ballad, which features ringing chord work and an extended solo that truly lifts the spirit. Johnson alternates between fleet-fingered runs and notes that could go on for days if he let them.
“I wrote this song for a friend of mine. ’Arithmetic’ is another word for ’chemistry,’ so it’s about relationships - all kinds, whether they’re between two people in love or friends, or even the feeling you can have with your pet. I just wanted to say thanks to a very special friend, for the chemistry, the connection.
“Once I got into the vibe, the lyrics came to me fairly easily. Learning how to get love is also about learning to give love. I kind of tapped into the idea that once we leave this planet, the connections we make are what we leave behind.
“The solo was a one-take deal. Well, I should explain that: I tried it a bunch of different ways, and it wasn’t happening. So I just said, ’The heck with it,’ and I went somewhere else with it. It followed the spirit of the album - just let go and get in and do it.”