Meaning of “Paper Umbrellas” by Tim McGraw

There are actual paper umbrellas out there, those which are manufactured in such a way to be water resistant and therefore useful in the rain. But the type that Tim McGraw is referring to is those tiny ones that are used to decorate cocktails. These are the kinds which you would find in a tiki bar for instance. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Tim McGraw's Paper Umbrellas at

And so is the setting of this song whereas, in the first verse, we find the vocalist hitting up such an establishment in the name of evading a storm.

Therein McGraw comes across a lady, whom he initially notices as “spinning pink and yellow paper umbrellas”. This woman proceeds to pique his interest as she is “sipping (and) crying” while “flipping through old pictures on her phone”. In other words, she’s distraught, as implied, due to romantic reasons. Owing to this, Tim offers to become her drinking buddy.

As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that he doesn’t do so for his own selfish reasons, i.e. hoping to score. Instead, obviously being experienced in the fields of romantic disappointment and heartbreak, he has basically come to offer a shoulder to cry on. 

That’s to say that, as Tim puts, “paper umbrellas… won’t stop the rain”. Or put alternatively, getting boozed is not a viable remedy for having your heart broken. Instead, experience has taught him that in such situations, what’s rather required of the sufferer is “a friend” to talk to. So that is the role he has decided to play in this lady’s life on this particular night, again not looking for any type of selfish advantage on his own behalf.

“It’s gonna take a lot of piña coladas
If you’re gonna drink him off your mind
I’ll sit here a little longer and get us somethin’ stronger
Somethin’ that’ll work in half the timе
‘Cause when love don’t shinе like you thought it would
Ain’t nothin’ quite like good tequila straight
To chase the clouds away
Yeah, girl, I’m here to tell ya, paper umbrellas
Look good on top, but they won’t stop the rain”

Credits for “Paper Umbrellas”

The writers of “Paper Umbrellas” are Drake Milligan and Monty Criswell. Its producers are T. McGraw and Byron Gallimore.

Date of Release

Big Machine Records introduced this song to the marketplace on 25 August 2023. They released it as part of Tim McGraw’s 2023 studio album, “Standing Room Only”.

Paper Umbrellas

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    I still think Drake Milligan-the co-writer sings it better than Tim. Just my opinion. Oh this is Grace. It’s not Robert-my daddy-he passed on 01.04.23.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...