NOTE: We also feature this essay in our brand new video… “Lyrical Grace: Chapter One: Before The Beginning: Songs Written Before Signing with Columbia Records


Grace wrote one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard and never used the word love. With intimate details she creates a tapestry of a loving relationship that is deeply satisfying, encouraging and comforting. I saw a video of a newly married couple dancing their first dance to this song, and cried tears of happiness for them that this was their choice. Let’s take a look at the lyrics.

Beautiful Thing
by Grace VanderWaal

You think that you know my heart
And you probably do
That’s why I’m always with you
I could stay with you for hours
In an empty room
And never get bored
Never have nothing to do

I first heard this song live on AGT. I remember my response to Grace’s very first line as she seemingly laid down a challenge. “You think that you know my heart!” It sounded like she was going to say ‘well you don’t know me, blah de blah de,’ but then she just dropped me into a feeling of trust with “And you probably do.” I was ready to be in love. The imagery of the empty room strips away every extraneous thing and says ‘we are everything we need.’

You’re my other half
What makes me me
What makes me smile when I fall down and can’t get back, get back, get back up on my feet
Without you here I am boring
Something inside you is triggering
And makes me myself makes me funny

There is something magical about feeling like you’re being your best self – those times you say and do everything right. Having someone who inspires that in you is a beautiful thing.

You’re a beautiful thing
We’re a beautiful thing together
Even when the weather is low
You’re a beautiful thing
We’re a beautiful thing together
Even when the weather is low
We find the rainbow
Up in the sky
You’d say don’t you cry it’s all gonna be alright

Sometimes life is sad. Sometimes bad things happen. But you help me find hope. You make me feel better. The musical phrasing in this stanza is that soaring hope. The rhythmic and internally rhyming last line is both a surprising and satisfying conclusion.

If we ever got in a fight or war
That would be bad
Cause you know all my secrets
But I know all of yours

I’ve always felt that this is one of the most interesting stanzas in the song. I had thought (until I wrote this article and was corrected) that the lyric was “But I don’t know all of yours”. I thought Grace was acknowledging the inherent power imbalances that come with most relationships and the risk that comes from one of the most intimate parts of a relationship – shared secrets. Instead she is declaring that if there is a “fight or war” there will be mutual assured destruction. It’s still one of the most interesting stanzas in the song.

We make hours turn into seconds
Together, the weight of the world
Feel like a feather cause we’re holding it right in our hands
You’re my other half
What makes me me
What makes me smile when I fall Down and can’t get back, get back, get back up on my feet
Without you here I am boring
Something inside you is triggering and makes me myself makes me funny

Nothing feels overwhelming when you’re around. I can take whatever comes, and I can do whatever I need to do.

You’re a beautiful thing
We’re a beautiful thing together
Even when the weather is low
You’re a beautiful thing
We’re a beautiful thing together
Even when the weather is low

And it’s not just all you. I’m a beautiful thing too, when we’re together. I have stuff to contribute because you inspire me to be my best self.

You and me together we’ll forget what we have been told,
We will live in our own dream world
You and me forever, will forget what we have been told
We will take on the whole world

The theme of creating your own world in response to things not turning out right will be revisited by Grace in “A Better Life.” Here she declares that together they’re a match for anything. Courageous and ready.

Without you here I am boring
Something inside you is triggering
And makes me myself makes me funny

You’re a beautiful thing
we’re a beautiful thing together
Even when the weather is low
And that’s a beautiful thing.

I wish I had the musical knowledge to talk sensibly about how Grace’s poetry leads her into beautiful rhythms and melodic lines. It’s a symbiotic thing between Grace’s poetry and music – they come together as a set rather than one being written before the other. They pour through her to create beautiful aural landscapes of feelings and observations, hopes and desires. Beautiful Thing will always be one of my favorites.

[Editor’s Note: Edited on September 27, 2018 to correct the song lyrics.]

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yfl9ID8F0g&lc=UgyBhVU0QvuXu8Xz_jt4AaABAg