“Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb
The lyrics of “Stay (I Missed You)” are such that, even if Lisa Loeb had not personally verified that they are based on a situation she was going through at the time, a listener would likely be able to reach that conclusion anyway. That’s because even though the message being put forth comes off as a bit scatterbrained at points, this sentiment of romantic confusion that is being relayed is very much true-to-life.
Indeed, being heartbroken as the result of being in love with a partner that is indirectly toxic is not an experience that’s easy to put into words. Nor is it simple to explain someone who can’t help but behave unfavorably towards the person they can’t live without, as ultimately reads the addressee in this case.
So for starters, it’s as if the vocalist is the victim of verbal abuse. But it doesn’t come off as being the direct type, i.e. flat-out insults. Instead her partner, the addressee, is telling her stuff like she ‘only hears what she wants to’. That’s a roundabout way of saying that someone is close-minded. Also, he has apparently accused her of being loquacious – and not in like an enjoyable, Jay Leno type of way.
So it’s like now, Lisa has had enough. She doesn’t come off as the kind of individual who is privy to letting someone perpetually lambast her like this, even if it is the man she loves. Well actually, what we are really dealing with here is a vocalist who, up until now, has slept on the power of love. That is to say that she resolves to ‘leave’ the addressee alright.
I Miss Him Already!
But in the aftermath of attempting such a move, Lisa has come to realize that she does in fact miss him when he’s not around. In other words, these feelings are so strong that she apparently decides to go back, even though, as explained above, this romance is less than ideal.
Likewise the addressee (despite being presented as sort of a prick) is also shown to be in love with Loeb. So ultimately, as alluded to at the beginning of this post, what this song is speaking to is how complex romantic relationships can be at times.
The reason the addressee may look like the bad guy is because these words are in fact being emitted by the other party involved. But overall, since the vocalist is saying “I missed you”, and the addressee is telling her to “stay”, even after all of their beef, then it becomes obvious that he’s not a total A-hole.
In fact earlier in the song, Lisa even seems to acknowledge that she does at times ‘only hears negative’, i.e. when the beef is brewing ignoring the fact that her sweetheart “really care(s)”.
Beyond that, there is also a part of this song where Loeb really seems to be spazzing, singing about how “some of us” – metaphorically speaking – have been ‘dying since the day we were born’ and what have you. But to note, this song is not only based on a troubled romance she was in at the time. Lisa has also pointed out that concurrently, a friend of hers was battling a severe case of depression. That reality also inspired parts of the song, including presumably said verse, which lends to the overall complexity of this track.
Lisa Loeb is a singer who grew up in Dallas (though being born in Maryland). She has been involved in music since her teens, having first been part of a group known as Liz and Lisa. Later down the line, after attending Berklee College of Music for a spell, she put together her own band called Nine Stories. And it was while backed by that crew, during the mid-1990s, that she experienced the most success in her discography. But to note, the only Grammy Award Loeb has won thus far was in 2018, when her 2016 project “Feel What U Feel” emerged victorious in the Best Children’s Album category.
When was “Stay (I Missed You)” released?
“Stay (I Missed You)” came out on 17 May 1994. The song is Lisa Loeb’s (& Nine Stories) biggest hit single-wise. To note, this is also the first she actually put out, and the song was originally featured on the soundtrack to Reality Bites, a film in which Ethan Hawke co-starred. In fact Hawke, who as of the writing of this post is co-starring on Disney+/MCU series Moon Knight, is a personal friend of Loeb’s. And it was actually through him that this song made it onto the aforementioned soundtrack. That opportunity was what actually what gave Lisa her foot in the door of the music industry.
This song is also featured on the only album Lisa Loeb actually dropped alongside Nine Stories, that being 1995’s “Tails” (which also stands as the most successful in her discography).
“Stay (I Missed You)” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Canada Top Singles. This is in addition to peaking at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart. And here’s an interesting fact. When this song did reach the summit of the US Hot 100, Lisa was unsigned at the time. That therefore makes her the first and apparently only artist to date to achieve such a feat. She basically topped the Hot 100 without the backing of a label.
In 1995, “Stay (I Missed You)” was nominated for a Grammy Award (in the category of Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. The song however, didn’t win this award thanks to All-4-One’s “I Swear”.
But “Stay” did go on to win a BMI Pop Awards in 1996. This is on top of being recognized on a couple of “Greatest Songs” lists, as compiled by VH1 and Entertainment Weekly.
Ethan Hawke also directed the music video to this track. The video was a success in and of itself. It was nominated for an MTV VMA in 1994 (i.e. Best New Artist in a Video). The eventual winner of this award was Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones.
This track was written exclusively by Lisa Loeb. Interesting to note is that Lisa’s original intent was actually to sell it to Daryl Hall.
Lisa also produced “Stay”. In that regard, she worked alongside Juan Patiño. There are rumors that Juan may actually be the addressee of the lyrics.
As noted earlier, when this song originally came out, it was an indie release. But since then, it has come to be backed by RCA Records and BMG.
Foo Fighters covered this tune in 2021, interestingly in celebration of Hanukkah (with Loeb, to note, also being Jewish).