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Is this song a compromise, or is it the discovery of a perfect balance of Grace’s writing to date?

I believe Waste My Time (WMT) is definitely the latter.

I love “Stray”, it’s right up there next to “Darkness Keeps Chasing Me” (DKCM) on my list of top favourite Grace songs; it literally never gets old for me and I find something new to love about it every time I listen to it. WMT is quickly racing up my list of Grace favourites, not because it’s uber moody, introspective and somber (which it is in its very subtle way) like DKCM and “Stray”, but because it balances that depth with a catchy melody and smooth delivery that will also appeal to those who will never think twice about the amazing lyrics this song has to offer.

Let’s start, as we should, with the lyrics… (Please note that these are the lyrics I personally hear and that these have not yet been vetted, or voted upon, by the rest of the VanderVault staff)

“Waste My Time”

Runnin’ with you it’s like we’re in a memory
That I’ll try to forget when you go up and leave
Walkin’ slowly because the time’s been running far
Maybe I should grow up, leave you with a scar

You say ‘I love you’ with an accent
Then I pretend like nothing happened
Tell me won’t you miss Manhattan
And even though this is pointless
And even though this is hopeless

I just wanna waste my time
I just wanna waste your time
We can do anything you like
We can talk all night

I’m unsure of you because I know you’ll leave
You say ‘you love me’ but I whisper I don’t believe
Stopping moments cause I can’t let it be true
This is going nowhere but I love wasting my time with you

You say ‘I love you’ with an accent
Then I pretend like nothing happened
Tell me won’t you miss Manhattan
And even though this is pointless
And even though this is hopeless

I just wanna waste my time
I just wanna waste your time
We can do anything you like
We can talk all night

Just waste my time
Waste your time

You say ‘I love you’ with an accent
And then I look away and acted like nothin’ happened
Tell me honestly will you miss Manhattan
And even though this is pointless
And even though this is hopeless

I just wanna waste my time
And I just wanna waste your time
We can do anything you like
We can talk all night, I’ll pretend you’re mine just waste my time

Waste…
And time will fly
…my time
Waste…
For you I’ll happily waste my time
…your time

Waste…
And time will fly
…my time
Waste…
For you I’ll happily waste my time
…your time

 

Let’s dive into the first verse/intro…

“Runnin’ with you it’s like we’re in a memory
That I’ll try to forget when you go up and leave”

Right off the mark Grace sets the tone, as she often does so brilliantly. Let’s take a look at the verbs she uses here; “Running”, “Forget” and “Leave”.

Yes! She plants those actions within your mind to cement with everything you need to know about this song; that there is something happening that’s fleeting, something she should try to forget, because the one she’s singing to is destined to leave.

Grace is at her best here, lyrically, and not only because of the hypnotic wordplay, but also because of the vocal delivery, a very muted monotone staccato to try and sneak the lyrics beneath your conscious mind and tap deeper beneath where you’re not necessarily “paying attention”.

 

Continuing…

“Walkin’ slowly because the time’s been running far
Maybe I should grow up, leave you with a scar”

NOTE: In all live performances of this song Grace uses “a scar”, though the recorded studio version uses “this thought”. It would be fascinating to know why “this thought” was used in the studio version as it doesn’t even rhyme with “running far”.

Here’s Grace subverting expectations with word choices again with “running far”, and not just because she’s trying to make a rhyme work, either. Again, let’s break down the verbs; “Walking”, “running”, “go”, “grow” and “leave”. Let’s not forget that powerful adverb; “Maybe”.

She’s not only really working the verbs here, all the better to plunge the listener under her hypnotic spell, but is also painting a picture with the adjectives used; “slowly” and “far”.

Grace is also dropping some power nouns/states; “time” and “scar”.

Let’s string all of those words choices together to decipher the full meaning. Grace wants to savour the time she has with the person she’s singing to as that time is slipping/running away far too quickly for her liking. The knowledge – that persistent/nagging awareness – of the subject’s leaving in the second line indicates an underlying resentment feeds into her desire to possibly hurt him, as grown-ups often do, to satisfy her frustration, and to also leave him with something to remember her by, a scar, the better to ensure that she is not the only one left suffering when he leaves.

If Grace is writing at this level on relationships at 15…we are simply not ready for what adult Grace has waiting for us. I am so deeply impressed by her skill here.

 

Let’s get to the pre-chorus…

“You say ‘I love you’ with an accent
Then I pretend like nothing happened
Tell me won’t you miss Manhattan
And even though this is pointless
And even though this is hopeless”

Forgetting anything FanderWaals may know about Grace’s personal life, let’s just analyse the lyrics as they are presented here.

“You say ‘I love you’ with an accent”

Grace is implying quite strongly that when this person leaves her, as she sets up in the intro/first verse, that he will not simply be moving to another neighbourhood, or state, but to lands far further than that, to a place where continuing a meaningful relationship will not be possible.

“Then I pretend like nothing happened”

Grace doesn’t want to admit/accept the declaration of love because she knows that should she acknowledge it, or reciprocate, that it will make their inevitable parting that much more painful.

“Tell me won’t you miss Manhattan”

This is Grace speaking on two, or more levels, but the primary ones are that she is indicating that when this person leaves for an implied foreign land that she will not be the only thing he will miss, and is low-key planting a new seed of doubt to convince him to stay; “You won’t only be giving me up, but Manhattan. Are you sure you can do that?” Grace is also staking ownership of a city with which she has fallen in love over the last two years, and it also serves to identify the location of this tragic love story.

“And even though this is pointless
And even though this is hopeless”

Grace is further cementing the impossibility of any lasting relationship with this person because of their imminent departure before we get to the crux of the song…

“I just wanna waste my time
I just wanna waste your time
We can do anything you like
We can talk all night “

This is Grace accepting the relationship, but without ever denying that it will be a finite one – a waste of both her time and his – but while it lasts they can do anything he likes, giving him some control within the relationship, but she then implies boundaries by saying that they can simply “talk all night.”

The emotional maturity Grace is demonstrating in this song is pretty mind blowing, for a fifteen-year-old most especially.

“Just waste my time
Waste your time”

Again, Grace drives home to this person that while what they feel for each other is real, it is futile, and that she is under no delusions that anything more will ever come of it, but that she’s willing to explore the relationship for what it is to its limited conclusion, which is tragically a “waste” of something that could be greater, but never will be.

The rest of the song repeats save for the very tricky, primarily due to the use of Grace singing her own backing vocals, outro that slip in new lyrics to what has come before within the structure of the chorus…

“Waste…
And time will fly
…my time
Waste…
For you I’ll happily waste my time
…your time

Waste…
And time will fly
…my time
Waste…
For you I’ll happily waste my time
…your time”

She isn’t saying anything new, practically speaking, with these additions, but emotionally she’s admitting that she isn’t as bitter and resentful of the relationship as the rest of the song implies, and is actually finding what happiness she can by being with this person, for however long it lasts.

Grace’s vocals in this song, I must mention, are just as subtle as the lyrics. She never really belts, growls, screams, or even whispers, but within that narrow range she does employ in this very “pop” sounding song she uses her signature rasp to full effect and in those parts of the song that require it, you can hear her smiling around the lyrics, and it’s a lovely thing to hear. Grace, unlike many other young female singers, understands that not everything is a vocal ability showcase, and that her performance of the song has to serve the nature of the song itself. Grace accomplishes that service with ease here.

I’ll wrap this up by saying that this is Grace’s first true love song, and it is a work of art that she can be very proud of.

Ur So Beautiful was a song about budding romance/flirtation, but WMT is a song all about giving in to love, although with imposed limitations, and it’s a very mature and sober one at that, even though it’s also deeply romantic.

Well done, Grace. Thank you.