Sick of Being Told was the first single released after Moonlight leading up to the “Just The Beginning” album release still three months away and its reception was, for a Grace song, mixed by the fans.

The only genuine problem with accepting the song, I believe, was due to a mismanagement of expectations. Previous to “Sick of Being Told” (hereafter referred to as SoBT) the only confirmed tracks the fans had heard was the brilliant live versions of “Burned” and the very experimental and deep “Moonlight”. SoBT just isn’t, at least sonically, playing on the same level, and it re-ignited a little bit of anxiety in the fan community that perhaps we had been expecting too much.

I am not saying it’s a bad song, at all, though I really don’t appreciate the production (IMO overproduction) of this particular song as it was recorded for the album.

As far as how the song sounds, to my ear, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. It starts off wonderfully, with Grace huskily trying to keep her cool while attempting to reason with the person(s) with whom she’s having a debate about her freedom of expression. Soon, however, the needless reverb effects kick in and the domineeringly loud bass kicks in that distracts from hearing what else is happening in the song (don’t even get me started on the triangle). The ending, however, with the fade out and back up singers clapping out the rhythm closes the song out nicely.

Does it sound like I hate this song? I really don’t, but what I do hate are missed opportunities, and I feel like that’s what producers and co-writers Jeremy Dussolliet and Tim Sommers (aka The Kinetics) did to this song. I may be completely off base and the decisions that were made that I dislike so much are Grace’s own, in which case the review of this song goes completely meta as Grace would then simply point to the lyrics regarding my issues with it, in which case, well done, Grace.

Regardless of my personal taste regarding the way this song sounds, its lyrics, most especially the bridge, are beyond solid. Let’s get into it…

“I don’t wanna be difficult
At all
But let’s just try it my way
I mean c’mon

I’ve shown you countless numbers of times
That I can do it (I can do it)
So for one time in your whole life
Just let me try it (let me try it)

I’m sick of being told
Of what I should know
I just wanna let go
I wanna run away just to live my life my way
Hey

Sick of being told
Sick of being told
What’s the harm
To have a little fun?
Been so uptight
I don’t mean to fight
I’ll just stay and watch

I’ve shown you countless numbers of times
That I can do it (I can do it)
So for just once in your whole life
Just let me try it (let me try it)

I’m sick of being told
Of what I should know
I just wanna go I wanna run away
just to live my life my way

Hey,
Sick of being told
Sick of being told

I see stars, you just see holes in the sky
You tell me you see it too, but I know that’s a lie
I dream up into the night, just see the darkness of your eyes
I won’t let you change me tonight

I’m sick of being told
Of what I should know
I just wanna let go
I wanna run away so I can live my life my way

Hey
Sick of being told
Sick of being told
Sick of being told
Sick of being told”

All right, as I already mentioned regarding the first verse, I really like Grace’s take on it, you can practically see her raising her hands in a placating gesture as she’s addressing the person with whom she’s having the conflict.
“I don’t wanna be difficult
At all
But let’s just try it my way
I mean c’mon”

When the song was first released I read a lot of comments on YouTube saying things like “Little missy has disciplinary issues”, “Sorry, honey, you’re just a kid, you have to be told. Deal with it”, and so on.

I don’t believe (again, I may be off-base) that Grace is referring to her bedtime, but rather this is more closely related to another track off of the album, “Talk Good”, where Grace discusses the difficulty with being taken seriously by the adults/professionals around her. She’s expressing her frustration over not being treated with the same respect afforded to other recording artists/writers.

“I’ve shown you countless numbers of times
That I can do it (I can do it)
So for just once in your whole life
Just let me try it (let me try it)”

On first listen, my inner grammar nazi kicked in with the line “So for one time in your whole life, just let me try it,” but I believe the line is written exactly as it’s meant; Grace isn’t saying “I can eat as much pizza as I want, look, I haven’t died yet, have I?”, she’s saying “listen, I know you don’t like to listen to other artists, but for once in your whole (professional) life, listen to me now. I believe I’ve proven myself enough to be taken seriously. Please, do so now?”

“I’m sick of being told
Of what I should know
I just wanna let go
I wanna run away just to live my life my way”

Grace isn’t saying “If I can’t have pizza without pineapple tonight, I’m running away!”. She’s not a brat. She’s saying “Listen, I know you have far more experience, musically, than I do, but this is my art. You can’t dictate my artistic expression. If you do, it’s no longer my art. That’s it, if I can’t do this the way my heart knows it can be done, the way I know I can do it, I want out. Call my manager.”

“What’s the harm
To have a little fun?
Been so uptight
I don’t mean to fight
I’ll just stay and watch”

Grace likes to have fun when creating; we’ve seen that. She’s a goofball, like all great artists/writers she has a sense of humour and cognizance of the ridiculous. Not all people, especially when being paid to sit in a room with “some little kid who won one of those TV talent shows” might appreciate it. Grace’s answer is “Fine, you go about your business, forgive me for challenging you. I’ll just sit here and idly watch. Please go about your business as usual. Good luck with that.”

Here comes the true brilliance of this song. Lyrically, it’s just a gorgeous piece of imagery and wordplay:

“I see stars, you just see holes in the sky
You tell me you see it too, but I know that’s a lie
I dream up into the night, just see the darkness of your eyes
I won’t let you change me tonight”

Grace here is referring to the ancient thought that the stars are merely perforations in the fabric of the sky, a literal tarp pulled over our heads so that we may sleep. She’s saying, essentially, that she has a deeper understanding of the world around her and that although the person with whom she is arguing states otherwise, she’s onto them. She further insults the person by saying that while she can “dream up into the night”, or cast her imagination into the sky and among the stars, she only sees vacancy/darkness in the eyes of the other person, and declares that she will not succumb to his/her will, that her creativity will not be silenced.

The chorus plays afterward to repeat the overall message, but there it is.

I’ve been criticized, in most cases perhaps fairly, of giving Grace more credit than she deserves, of projecting my own deep level of respect for her as an artist in my analysis of her words and actions. Fine, but it sounds to me like she wants to be taken seriously as an artist. I’d rather err on the side of respecting her than disqualifying or discrediting her. In other words, my analysis of this song, and her other ones, might be off by miles, but I’ll stick with it/them until Grace tells me otherwise.

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yfl9ID8F0g&lc=Ugy3cDWRfshWU-je-a94AaABAg