Sad songs really are just the best, aren’t they?
From the first chord or chorus you just know this is going to break you. I mean, no one walks into He Stopped Loving Her Today thinking you’re going to have a fun hoopla.
The title itself is devastating.
But other songs. . . other songs like to suck you in, wait until you’re comfortable and smiling, and then like to kick you right below the belt.
Well, “Just to See You Smile” by Tim McGraw definitely belongs to the latter.
Written by Mark Nesler and Tony Martin, it was released as the third single from McGraw’s fourth studio album Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere in 1997.
I swear I always forget how sad this song is until I reach the second verse and remember it. I didn’t actually realize it was a sad song until one day I finally paid attention to the words.
I probably should have found out sooner because the first two lines perfectly primed the singer to have that feeling of self-loathing. Like he’s not good enough for the person he’s singing for.
“You’ve always had an eye for things that glittered
But I was far from being made of gold”…
But I was definitely fooled for a long time. I thought maybe she saw something in him that he always thought was boring.
And the chorus gives us no indication of how far this guy will go to make this girl happy, other than buying something he can’t afford.
Then, then… the second verse takes all the wind and hope and prayers for a happy ending out of our sails:
“When you said time is all you really need
I walked away and gave you your space
Because leaving didn’t hurt me nearly as much
As the tears I saw roll down your face
And yesterday I knew exactly what you wanted
When you approached me with him
So I told you I was happy for you
And if I had the chance, I would lie again.”
I have to say that it’s the first two lines and the last two lines of this verse that will forever weigh down my stomach.
Gosh, those first two lines are frustrating, however, because we’re told by the singer that this girl doesn’t necessarily want him to go away. She just needed time.
time for what We’re not sure, but the singer decides to just walk away entirely instead. A part of me still thinks that if he had stayed, things would have worked out for those two.
Then that last line where he says he would lie about his own sadness and heartbreak again just to make her happy. . . Shot. It’s brutal.
But it’s also subtle with music that doesn’t suggest this is a heartbreak for the singer, which somehow makes it sadder. The singer really wants this woman to be happy, even if he’s not.
So much so that even the music is designed to lull the listener into this false sense of joy.
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2022/09/22/i-always-forget-how-sad-tim-mcgraws-just-to-see-your-smile-is-then-it-hurts-me-again/ I Always Forget How Sad Tim McGraw’s “Just to See Your Smile” Is… & Then It Hurts Me Again