Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
In our interview with Lisa Loeb
, she explained: "At the time I was having arguments with my boyfriend, who was actually my co-producer as well - we made records together. And then I go off into some other areas: I remember somebody close to me was going through severe, severe depression. A lot of times in my songs, I get into some phase where I describe some other situation, and there's a whole verse in there about somebody who is very, very depressed. But yeah, it was a story about a breakup I was going through, and that situation where it's gotten into your head too much. Partially because somebody else is telling you that you're only hearing what you want to, and that puts you in a little bit of a tailspin. It puts me in a little bit of a tailspin, because you can't figure out what's actually real, are you only seeing things through your own eyes? Are you actually seeing things the way that they really are, or are you making things up? And at what point do you know whether you're seeing things the way that they really are?"
This was used in the movie Reality Bites. Loeb's friend, Ethan Hawke, brought it to the attention of Ben Stiller, who saw Loeb perform and used her song in his movie. It was a huge break for Loeb, who did not have a record deal at the time.
Long before this song became a hit, Loeb performed it at her shows, where it got a great response and was one of her most requested songs. Says Loeb: "I usually write songs that are more fictional, and for some reason when I sat down to write that song, I let myself write more about how I was feeling at that moment. And that's something I think about a lot as I continue to write music, that the songs that I write that are more personal and without as much editing, are the ones that people connect to more."
Regarding the lyrics, "I turned the radio on, I turned the radio up, and this woman was singing my song," Lisa explains: "That was when you hear somebody telling your exact story. It's funny, because it wasn't until later, after a couple of major breakups, that I realized when you're depressed and you're going through these breakups, the breakup was supposed to happen. If you're going through difficult times, it's hilarious how you turn on the radio and even the most cliché things perfectly capture how you're feeling. And then you realize why people wrote those songs. When you're not going through some of those things, sometimes as a songwriter you think, "Oh, that's so straightforward and cliché," but you know what? That's how it feels. In a way I think I wrote that into the song because I was relating my story to the effect that everybody goes through this. I'm not so special. You know, this isn't such a special situation that I'm going through, but it still means something to me. And it might not be as depressing as my friend who's suicidal, but it's still really hard. Hopefully, as a listener, you get a feeling like when you just can't get away from your problems. You leave your house, you're driving down the road, you're going to do something different, and all of a sudden you hear, Oh, here's my story on the radio. It's like the last thing I need to hear right now."
This is the only US #1 hit by an artist who was not signed to a label. Loeb had no trouble getting a recording contract when the song took off - she signed with Geffen Records.
The video was directed by Ethan Hawke. It is one continuous camera shot of Loeb in an apartment.
Loeb performed this on Saturday Night Live on October 7, 1995. (thanks, John - Colorado Springs, CO)
Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.
The "How Country Feels" singer talks Skynyrd and songwriting.
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
When he was asked to write a song for the Singles
soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.