In 1994 Lisa Loeb became the first artist in music history to have a #1 song without a recording contract.  The story goes that she played the song “Stay” for Ethan Hawke who then used it in the 1994 film Reality Bites and it took off from there.

Lisa Loeb

Why did this song get so popular?  Did Ethan Hawke hold some level cultural sway in the early 90s?  Or did Lisa Loeb’s then unusual (now fashionable) eyeglasses have some sort of controlling power fueled by Starbucks and stereotypical grunge era cynicism?   The most likely answer is that it was a simple break up song and it flat out resonated with a lot of people.

Loeb’s song was not cynical or edgy, it was just honest.  It sounds like she is pulling lines right from a fight, the song starts with “you say I only hear what I want to.”  It may sound cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason; they actually happen to people.  With “Stay” Lisa Loeb isnt trying to be your sympathetic ear during a tough time. She does you one better; she’s with you down in the trenches taking grenades.   She says:

So I turned the radio on, I turned the radio up,
and this woman was singing my song:
lover’s in love, and the other’s run away,
lover is crying ’cause the other won’t stay.

For a short time in the 90s, Lisa Leob was that woman on the radio for many people. Her song is sung every day by those looking for proof that someone out there has been where they are and made it out in tact. If that sounds like you, sit down with some Lisa Loeb.

-Josh Kruk

(image from