I remember the first time I heard this song, it was one of the pre-album released singles, though not officially “pushed” by the label for radio play. I was thrilled by Grace’s vocals, but nonplussed when it came to the fifties doo-wop vibe of the horn section.

It’s not that that choice is a bad one, but I felt this was the song Grace had earlier teased in the lead-up to release promotion was the “kind of punk rock” song on the album. That punk vibe, however, one which I would have gone nuts over, seemed distilled with the choice to go fifties on the instrumentals. I understand, however, that at that time Meghan Trainor, whom Grace greatly admired at the time, was having tremendous success with that sound, and so that may have influenced the choice. Regardless, it’s still a great song, but to my very particular tastes it came up short in its potential. I’d love to hear a non-backtrack version from Melissa, Ben, Dylan, and Grace playing either electric bass or electric rhythm guitar to bring out a rawer sound.

The lyrics are well executed and inventive in the way they play with one’s imagination – “can’t get you out of my eyes” – but they are probably the most straightforward in Grace’s catalog. They do, however, represent Grace’s first song tackling romantic love (a crush/fledgling relationship gone south), and she does a really good job of emoting the frustration brought on by such a turn of events through the lyrics, and especially her vocal performance.

Here are the lyrics in full…

“It was wrong, would have never worked
Or at least I told myself
To not make it hurt
I try to blast music
In attempt to get you out of my eyes
But I can’t escape my mind
I hate you ’cause I always
Look at your picture
And I tell myself
That I’m over you
But then I get a little unsure
I wish I could get you
Out of my mind
But I think about it all the time
And I wish I could not think
For once in my life
But when I see your face
I can’t escape my mind

I know we were never a thing
But I always think about
What could’ve happened if we kept going
And I never had this happen to me
Only in the movies
But honey it is happening

I hate you ’cause I always
Look at your picture
And I tell myself
That I’m over you
But then I get a little unsure

I wish I could get you
Out of my mind
But I think about it all the time
And I wish I could not think
For once in my life
But when I see your face
I can’t escape my mind

I can’t escape my mind
I wish I could turn it off sometimes
Oh, I can’t escape my mind
Oh, no matter how hard I try
I wish I could turn it off sometimes

I wish I could get you
Out of my mind
But I think about it all the time
And I wish I could not think
For once in my life
But when I see your face
I can’t escape my mind”

Again, the lyrics are very straightforward and so I’m not going to try and deduce some hidden meaning or grand underlying metaphor; it is what it is, a solid “oh, what could have been” relationship song.

I will however, highlight my favourite parts of Grace’s vocal performance, specifically the first utterance of “but I can’t escape my mind!”. The raw emotion of maddening frustration is palpable, almost Cobainesque; seriously. I had goosebumps the first time I heard her scream out that lyric.

The following section, by contrast, is delivered sweetly and flirtatiously…

“I know we were never a thing
But I always think about
What could’ve happened if we kept going
And I never had this happen to me
Only in the movies
But honey it is happening”

That “honey it is happening” line is delivered with an audible and knowing smile. It’s that line, above all else, that convinces me Grace will kill those romantic scenes in “Stargirl” as that’s the exact kind of delivery the character uses in the book: a sweet and charming confidence.

I should also highlight the way that, in the chorus, Grace moans out the word “picture” on the line “I hate you ’cause I always look at your picture” really focuses on just how infuriating the thought of looking at the picture of this almost-was target of her affections is for her; really well done and most singers wouldn’t have thought to do something like that.

The final line, “But when I see your face I can’t escape my mind”, is delivered with such a sense of depressing resignation; it’s beautiful and aching, again, something that most singers wouldn’t have chosen to do on a relatively simple “bop”.

Fun fact for those who haven’t studied the liner notes: Olivia sang backup vocals on this track and this is one of the songs on the album that Grace is solely credited for, music and lyrics.

All in all this song, for me, brings about the same kind of frustration Grace is singing about in the song: when I hear the horns “I feel a little unsure”. I sometimes have very finicky taste, so please feel free to ignore my reservations.

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yfl9ID8F0g&lc=UgyHuO9JXC9AqC4yjxd4AaABAg