Friday, November 07, 2008

Week 24: "Stay" by Lisa Loeb

Before Sarah Palin, there was Tina Fey. Before Tina Fey, there was Lisa Loeb. Like Palin and Fey, Loeb is known for a particular look. All three are petite brunettes recognized for their eyeglasses. All three style their medium length hair in a way that gives it some size. All three have a look that could be described as “attractive librarian.”

Brown University graduate Lisa Loeb was a transplant to New York City from Dallas when her song “Stay” was discovered and featured on the soundtrack to the 1994 movie Reality Bites. Featuring actors Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, and Steve Zahn, Bites was the quintessential Generation X movie. Despite not being signed to a record label, Loeb’s song “Stay” hit number 1 on the charts. While never writing another song as popular, she has released a number of entertaining albums since her breakthrough hit.

“Stay” is a song about regretting a break-up, but it is also a tremendously fun song to sing as the song swings back and forth between being a slow paced ballad and a barrage of more quickly sung tongue-twister lyrics. The lyrics are really fun. No line is more fun to sing than the one that goes, “You thought that I was naïve…” in which the word “naïve” is intentionally mispronounced so that the “e” on the end is not silent, but pronounced as a long “A.” And then there is the second line of the song, “You say I talk so all the time so.” The lyrics seem to capture the self-conscious irony of the early 1990s.

What I love about this song is how ingrained it is in the memories of my generation. You hear it come over the radio at the supermarket and look around and find people mouthing the words. The song gets played on the radio at Muddy’s coffeehouse and someone (not me... well, sometimes me) will turn away from their book or laptop and sing out some of the lyrics. I popped this song in the CD player while I was driving to a retreat with the Intern Minister at SMUUCh and we both started singing along, neither of us missing a single word.

You can see the original music video here.
You can also check out Lisa Loeb performing the song live here.
Finally, New Found Glory recently released a punk version of “Stay.” You can listen to the album version here or catch part of it live here.