Lee Ann Womack’s song “I Hope You Dance” is the best type of Country ballad; equal parts sober and hopeful. The melody, with distant electric guitar playing and breathy keys, sounds like the gates of heaven opening up, and the notes all feel so perfectly haunting when combined with Womack’s ethereal chorus; “I hope you dance (tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder), I hope you dance (where those years have gone?).” Life, and in this context, young life, is precious time not to be wasted being depressed, inactive, or fearful. To be young is to experience it’s excitement and richness – through dance and inhibition especially. Time will slip away, and one doesn’t want to regret missing out on essential moments and actions. Womack sings in a sweet, high voice with a touch of twang to it; “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, you get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger, may you never take one single breath for granted, God forbid love ever leave you empty handed.” She speaks to her daughters, and to the young who come after her. She has nothing but love to share, and so gives full disclosure on how Life should be lived. She talks about challenges that will come, and Faith even being one of them. “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” It is clever songwriting to organize the lyrics in this structure, with a list of milestones to tackle, but a closing thesis that is entertaining and life affirming. She wants fun to be the final word, and implores us to never be relegated to the sidelines when the music plays.
"I Hope You Dance" is a crossover country pop song written by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers and recorded by country singer Lee Ann Womack with Sons of the Desert. (Drew and Tim Womack of Sons of the Desert are not related to Lee Ann). The song, which was featured on Womack's 2000 album of the same name, reached number one on both the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts, and also reached number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100. It is considered to be Womack's signature song, and it is the only Billboard number one for both Womack and Sons of the Desert. "I Hope You Dance" won the 2001 CMA, ACM, NSAI, ASCAP and BMI awards for Song of the Year. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song and was nominated for Song of the Year. "I Hope You Dance" is ranked 352 in the list "Songs of the Century" compiled by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "I Hope You Dance" reached its 2 million sales mark in the United States in October 2015, and as of August 2016, it has sold 2,093,000 digital copies in the US.