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. When she found out the song was going on the soundtrack, she knew it was the end of her temp work - she had a gig with the consulting firm Ernst & Young 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 marks actor Ethan Hawke's directorial debut and Loeb's first time on camera. It is one continuous camera shot of the singer in a vacant loft in New York City's Soho neighborhood. Hawke's cat makes a cameo appearance at the beginning of the clip. Scenes of Loeb's band were also filmed but didn't make the final cut.
Loeb played this song when she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, October 7, 1995.
Loeb had a different artist in mind when she was writing the tune. "Musically, I was trying to write a song for Daryl Hall as a solo artist," she told AXS. "I heard he was looking for songs, so I was trying to write a little bit of an R&B groove, like at the time he wrote his songs with Hall & Oates." The opportunity didn't pan out, but she did get to meet Hall and tell him he was the inspiration for her big hit.