Sometimes beautiful, gentle and heart-warming songs never really get the recognition they deserve because, they are either not promoted properly, lack airplay or are just tucked away on an album that, unless you’re a fan of that act, are unlikely to hear. This is true of You Could Be Happy by Snow Patrol which is to be found on their 2006 chart-topping album, Eyes Open.
The song is reminiscent of I Don’t Love You by My Chemical Romance from their album, The Black Parade which came out later the same year. There is nothing complicated about this song, but just a subject that most of us can relate to about loving someone so much it hurts. Growing close together and in a nice way, depending on each other and then for some reason something happens, which you can’t always understand, and it all falls apart and then you have to part.
Snow Patrol formed in Dundee in 1994 and compris; Gary Lightbody on lead vocals and guitar, Jonny Quinn on drums, Nathan Connolly on guitar, Paul Wilson on bass, Tom Simpson on keyboards, and Johnny McDaid on piano. They released three singles on three different labels which were all unsuccessful and then in 2002 their fortunes changed and they signed to Polydor records. They gained commercial status with the album the Final Straw the following year that eventually sold over three million copies and included the singles Spitting Games, Chocolate and Run. In 2006 Eyes Open became the biggest selling album of the year with over six million sales and all helped by the single Chasing Cars which, to date, has spent 113 weeks on the singles chart.
The whole context of You Could Be Happy is to say a final goodbye to someone you cared so much about knowing deep in your heart that there is no way it will ever work. He wants her to know that he wants her to be happy even thought realistically he wants it to be with him, but it will never be. The lyric, ‘Do the things you always wanted to do without me there to hold you back’ is perhaps an admission that he felt he was controlling her but now she can have the best life, but sadly it’s not with him.
The television companies never fail to spot a song’s potential. In American Open your Eyes was used in the television shows Grey’s Anatomy and ER and You Could Be Happy was no exception as that was used in the television series Smallville which is based on, and uses the characters from Superman. It has also been used on Australian television for trailers for soap Neighbours and appeared in the finale of the second season of BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey. In July 2006 Snow Patrol were the last performers on the penultimate Top Of The Pops too.