Just Say When

Album: The Stories We Tell Ourselves (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • "They said we'd never last."

    Those words are usually followed by a tale of a long-standing union that has stood the test of time, but in this case, "they" were right.

    Nothing More lead singer Jonny Hawkins wrote the lyric about an eight-year relationship he describes as fiery, confusing, and devoted. "I met her the day my mom had passed away, and she was kind of an escape in my life, and also a good companion and friend along the way during that tough time," he said in a Songfacts interview. "But as the years went on, it became clearer that we both wanted different things. All the excitement had worn off - all the veneer to the relationship - and the reality was setting in that we were just very different people with very different values at the end of the day. But we had such a history and also a friendship at the beginning of it, that it was very hard to know what to do with that truth.

    So, the song 'Just Say When' was talking about those final moments during the end of the relationship when I had to get to a point where I knew holding on was the wrong thing to do. Even though it felt like letting go was wrong, it was a conflict between my heart and my head, and a lot of different things at play."
  • This is an unusual song for the band as it is an acoustic ballad, which was recorded complete with a string section.
  • The seed of this song came on their tour bus. Guitarist Mark Vollelunga started playing on acoustic, and the notes cut to the core of what Hawkins was feelings as he grappled with the imminent end of his longstanding relationship. He says it's the most sentimental song he's ever written.
  • The video was shot late at night in El Paso International Airport, which doesn't sound like the most fanciful setting for a song about a tender breakup, but there's a reason why so many romantic comedies have airport scenes (at least they did before 9/11). "An airport is a place where there are so many people going around in different directions, almost like life," Jonny Hawkins told Songfacts. "So many times, you get stuck in this layover process where you get canceled flights, and you have nothing but time with your thoughts. And that's kind of what the relationship felt like: that waiting, trapped feeling of an airport."
  • The couple in the video are portrayed by Tate McRae and D'angelo Castro. McRae appeared on So You Think You Can Dance; Castro was on America's Got Talent and World of Dance.

Comments: 1

  • Michele ( Crazy Pants ) Cunningham from Philadelphia,p.a.Heard “Just Say When” recently for the first time, played it three times back, to back, then went to my piano to try and pick out the notes. I am not an accomplished musician, my piano hasn’t been tuned it twenty years, but I had fallen in love with this song. Thank you.
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