Tonic – If You Could Only See Me

I remember this song in the 90s and never knew much about the song or band. It does have a catchy hook. The song was released to radio and MTV, but in the interest of album sales, it was not sold as a single. This made the song ineligible for the Billboard Hot 100 but pushed sales of their debut album Lemon Parade past one millionThe song peaked at #1 in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts in 1997.

Tonic frontman Emerson Hart wrote this song after a tense phone call with his mother. Hart was 21 years old and planning to get married – not what his mother had in mind. She tried to talk him out of it, but you can’t argue with love. Emerson told her: “If you could only see the way she loves me, then maybe you would understand,” and then he hung up.

In the end, his mother was right: it didn’t work out with the girl and they never got married.

From Songfacts

This was Tonic’s first single, but it almost didn’t make the album. The band got a deal with Polydor Records after playing clubs for a few years in the Los Angeles area. When it came time to record their debut album, Emerson Hart wasn’t sure if they should use “If You Could Only See,” since it was a very vulnerable song and he wasn’t sure how it would be received. Polydor, however, loved it and made sure it was the debut single.

 The song made #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart and received very consistent airplay – it lasted an astonishing 63 weeks on the Airplay chart, peaking at #11 in December 1997, long after it had been released.

Tonic had a minor hit with “Open Up Your Eyes” (#68 Airplay), but never came close to matching “If You Could Only See.”

The music video finds Emerson Hart searching desperately for the girl who is being kept away from him. It was directed by Ramaa Mosley, whose other credits include the Creed videos for “What’s This Life For” and “Higher,” and the movie The Brass Teapot.

Mosley looked to French cinema for inspiration – notably the 1960 film Breathless and 1963 movie Contempt. “I started envisioning this combination of a love story mixed with this kind of communist oppression,” she said in her Songfacts interview. “I locked myself in my house and listened to the song hundreds of times and the story just kept building.”

 

If You Could Only See

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
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
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
Seems the road less traveled
Show’s happiness unraveled
And you got to take a little dirt

To keep what you love
That’s what you gotta do
Sayin’ you love but you don’t
You give your love but you won’t
You’re stretching out your arms to something that’s just not there

Sayin’ you love where you stand
Give your heart when you can
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

Sayin’ you love but you don’t
You give your love but you won’t
Sayin’ you love where you stand
Give your heart when you can

If you could only see the way she loves me
Then maybe you would understand
Why I feel this way about or 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

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Tonic – If You Could Only See Me”

      1. I Will Buy You A New Life got me into them…Wonderful…hooked me.
        There were some good bands in the 90s…I liked them better than the 80s.

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      2. We agree on that. I like just plain rock and roll…that was in short supply in the 80s. Bruce, Tom, and Mellencamp were great. There was a few others.

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      1. Yes you have a point. That has happened to me…with the girl’s mom.
        I read about that song Sylvia before…that was something.

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      2. Ya, my ‘rents interfered too. That’s a touchy, complicated business for sure. You can be right as to the person, but still wrong as to the methods. I haven’t heard the real story of Sylvia’s Mother. I’m guessing she was really bad?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Not really too bad. I just heard this story from my cousin a month or so ago. I then read it but the writer called Sylvia but her mom told him “not to spoil it” because Sylvia was getting married.

        Sylvia was found and her and her mom was interviewed at the same house the writer (Shel Silverstein) called… I didn’t mean to turn this into a novel! But it is interesting… here a short 5 minute clip if you are interested. I love stuff like this.

        Like

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