Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Song Meanings - If You Could Only See (Tonic)


The beauty of the Internet is everyone gets an opinion.  Of course the danger of the Internet is the same thing.  But I'm going to use this power to discuss songs and what they mean to me.  What the lyrics mean, and how they affect me...because music is very important to me, has been very theraputic at times in my life, and because I like talking about it.

Disclaimer: I'm not trying to explain what the ARTIST(S) meant or intended the songs meaning to be.  This is just how I interpret the lyrics.  So this is all going to be filtered through my middle-aged-screwed-up-man filter.  You've been warned.

First up: "If You Could Only See" by Tonic

This is a wonderful song that starts off soft and tender, then gets harder and aggressive, and then alternates back and forth throughout the remainder of the song.  I think my first impression was that it was about a man explaining his love for a woman to people who don't get it.  Case closed, right?  I don't think so.

The more I've listened to it - and frankly the more shit I've been through - I now hear a conflicted man singing.  The soft tender parts are him talking to his friends/family and "rationalizing" that even though this looks like an unhealthy relationship, it's really wonderful:

"If you could only see the way she loves me
Then maybe you would understand
Why I feel this way about our love
And what I must do.
If you could only see how blue her eyes can be when she says
When she says she loves me."

But then when the song gets rougher, I think we get to hear the crap his significant other puts him through.  We hear him defend her to his support system, then experience the pain he's in:

"Well you got your reasons
And you got your lies
And you got your manipulations
They cut me down to size.
Sayin' you love, but you don't.
You give your love, but you won't."

I think it's summed up best in this line..late in the song:

"And you got to take a little dirt to keep what you love.  That's what you gotta do."

This guy is being unappreciated, taken advantage of, hurt, and yet he stays with her because...if you could only see how sweet she is.  Sometimes.


  1. Wonderfully well put.

  2. very well said, keep doing what u do, much love

  3. I think it's about a guy who is still in love with his ex and he is telling the ex how she treated him. But now, he has a new love that loves him so much more than the ex ever could.

  4. I have always thought it was about unrequited love, but from the other side. He's really attracted to a girl, but has a girlfriend that loves him more than he loves her, but he's telling other girl that he can't break his girlfriend's heart and leave her.

  5. Why don't we ask the singer himself.

  6. I read an interview with the singer/songwriter. He said he wrote the song in minutes after a conflict with his mother. When he was 21 or 22 he was in love with an older woman and his family didn't approve. He was disowned by his family for 3 years for choosing to stay with his love. When he talks about manipulation and not loving he is speaking to his mother.

  7. Married man telling his paramour that his wife still deeply loves him and it affects him how sad/blue it his wife is over the state of affairs.