Retro Single Review: Tim McGraw, “Just to See You Smile”

1997 | Peak: #1

Smarter and more incisive than nearly everything else in heavy rotation back  in the day.

McGraw plays his cards so close to his chest that upon first listen, you may only pick up on his unconditional love and selflessness toward the girl who’s been stringing him along for all these years.

But repeated plays bring more emotions to the surface, as his phrasing and delivery reveal a bit of contempt and a bit more resigned disbelief at her remarkable obliviousness of her own callous selfishness.

He may be willing to to anything just to see her smile, but the listeners would love to see that smile disappear.

Written by Tony Martin and Mark Nesler

Grade: A

Next:  One of These Days

Previous:  Everywhere



  1. This song doesn’t seem to lose popularity at country radio still! I can see why considering that it could’ve been a hit if it were released today or back in 98.

  2. Its right around 1997-1998, with songs like “Everywhere” and “Just to See You Smile” that Tim McGraw really moved ahead of the neo-traditionalist pigeonhole, and became a great artist who was so much more than your b-listers like Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Byrd. I think early McGraw was decent and entertaining, but not timeless. The early McGraw stuff sounds pretty dated now and doesn’t stand up just as Diffie, Chesnutt and Byrd no longer seem worthy of repeated listening. But “Just To See You Smile” and “Everywhere” showed an artist who was becoming great — not just a singer of lame novelty songs and drinking songs but a real artist. Today McGraw is up there with Alan Jackson, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood and the other great ones while the New Traditionalists that he started out imitating are relegated to irrelevance. I’m so glad that McGraw made these changes that let him stay relevant as the 1990s became the 2000s. And then McGraw really blossomed with awesome records like “Set This Circus Down.”

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