Growing Up 90’s: Tonic- “You Wanted More”


I don’t know when I got bitter/Love is surely better when it’s gone

That line leading into the chorus of Tonic’s 1999 hit “You Wanted More” hits you right in the stomach, if you’ve ever been lost in the arena of love. Barely sneaking in as a 90’s song, the tune appeared the band’s album Sugar in November of ’99, as well as on the soundtrack of the iconic teen movie American Pie, and has been tugging at my heartstrings ever since.

The song starts out with a crunchy guitar riff, and pronounced drumming, both of which remain prominent throughout the track. Lead singer Emerson Hart leads you through the verses, explaining all the things that love is and is not, and prefaces the chorus with that profoundly relatable line referenced above.

You wanted more/More than I could give/More than I could handle/In a life that I can’t live

You wanted more/More than I could bear/More than I could offer/For a love that isn’t there

You feel Hart’s pain as he sings through that chorus, telling of a broken relationship in which he gave all that he could- time, effort, emotion, money- only to find out that it all wasn’t enough. Behind the lyrics of the chorus, you can hear some evocative guitar meanderings that bring even more emotional power out of that part of the song. It’s exhausting and disheartening just listening to it, and even more so if you’ve been through it. Hart relates that love is not supposed to be demanding, and that a loving relationship should not hold either party down.

The music video for “You Wanted More”, featured below, stars Hart as a high school janitor, wandering the halls of the school, having to watch everybody pairing up and making out with each other throughout. He gets his in the end, but not before getting lost and feeling hopeless. “You Wanted More” is a great song that draws you in, whether or not you’ve been a victim of its subject matter.


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