What I Really Meant To Say

Album: My World (2001)
Charted: 26
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "I'm not a depressed person," laughs songwriter Tommy Lee James. "I tend to be a very happy person." But "I tend to love those bittersweet things that kind of rip your heart out."
    James co-wrote this song with Cyndi Thomson, and says he loves the emotion of the song, and the angst it defines. And these things are typical of a Tommy Lee tune, though he does try and keep out the heaviness and intensity. He says, "There's just a few parts to this emotionally that I tend to always go, and I don't know why. I don't really analyze what I do, because I'm scared to. Because I don't want to demystify it. I've never really analyzed it, but I always just seem to try to do what feels natural and what's right. And what moves me are those really few bittersweet things like, 'I love you but you're leaving,' those kind of things, where it's just those bittersweet situations. And those are the things that kind of appeal to me. I'm not much on writing the up-tempo happy songs. I wish I was. I'd have more money."
  • Some songwriters love to go to that dark place inside to pull out imagery for their writing. Clint Black has been quoted as saying he writes his best heart-break songs when he's really happy.
    Tommy's explanation is a bit less straightforward. "When you've lived your life, you're a little bit older, as I am, you don't have to be going through something to feel it again. You can remember what you were feeling. I remember in college I had this girl break my heart. I remember listening to a Jackson Browne record, and I remember my roommate going, 'God, man, that must really be depressing you.' But there's something about that kind of song, when you're feeling like that, that heals to me. It made me feel better." And Tommy's self-proclaimed purpose in writing his songs is to pass along that connection, so everyone knows they are in good company, regardless of what they're going through. (Check out our interview with Tommy Lee James.)

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Classic Metal

Classic MetalFact or Fiction

Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.

Daniel Lanois

Daniel LanoisSongwriter Interviews

Daniel Lanois on his album Heavy Sun, and the inside stories of songs he produced for U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan.

Mac Powell of Third Day

Mac Powell of Third DaySongwriter Interviews

The Third Day frontman talks about some of the classic songs he wrote with the band, and what changed for his solo country album.

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-Nighters

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-NightersSong Writing

These Three famous songs actually describe how they were written - late into the evening.

Gilby Clarke

Gilby ClarkeSongwriter Interviews

The Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist in the early '90s, Gilby talks about the band's implosion and the side projects it spawned.

Millie Jackson

Millie JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Outrageously gifted and just plain outrageous, Millie is an R&B and Rap innovator.