“After the Love Has Gone” appears in Earth, Wind, and Fire’s album I Am, which came out in 1979. The band is wildly experimental, venturing into jazz, funk, disco, gospel, R&B, and pop. The general style of “After the Love Has Gone” is R&B, with slow progressions and a variety of instruments including trumpet, electric piano, and trombone.
“After the Love Has Gone” conveys the speaker’s troubled relationship and how it started from the beginning to the present. It also shows the confusion of love, desire, and logic in relationships. The speaker doesn’t know what happened to make the relationship feel so blue or lose its spark.
Somethin’ happened along the way
And yesterday was all we had
He uses the word ‘somethin’ instead of explaining what that something is, which alludes to his confusion about what actually happened to lead him and this relationship to the way it is now. It seems as though their past together was happier and more stable, as the word yesterday is in the past, but metaphorically it means the entirety of the past, not just yesterday in particular.
For a while, to love was all we could do
We were young and we knew, and our eyes were alive
He explains that relationships need much more than love; they need maintenance, logic, perseverance, and other traits to be fully functional. It insinuates that at that time there were stark stressors and all they could do was love, and instead of really gaining something from the relationship they only stuck with it because they felt it was the only option.
Oh, after the love has gone
What used to be right is wrong
Can love that’s lost be found?
It also turns upside-down the thought process of people found when the base of their relationship, love, is lost. He specifically shows the disruption using the phrase “what used to be right is wrong” showing that the idea of love and his relationship played such a big role in his life that it seems as though he’s lost everything. He also asks a rhetorical question that seems like a last-ditch effort to restore what they once had, or could even be denial of the idea that they have no future together.