My interpretation of All You Wanted - Michelle Branch has always been Wrong I think, but obviously right because I have it on good authority that subjectivity is subjective and art is miscommunication.
I got really into that song in 7th grade, my first year in upstate New York and my 5th move at that point in my short life so it was like angst piled on angst piled on angst, I had angst by the truckload (like I still do), I used to spend all my time in my walk in closet, writing in a purple velvet journal about Abdurahman, the Love of my Life who I was forced to leave back in Ohio and who I was sure was being unfaithful and hooking up with Lulu the blonde Arab from California! That was also my first year in public school, and I was just too delicate for public school with my white fur lined black velvet gloves I mean.
I used to lean my head against the window on that nightmare of a yellow bus, CD player hiding in layers of coat, but held lovingly by my fur lined velvet gloved hands, and feel like Michelle Branch and I were Best Friends and that she wrote All You Wanted (and sold rights so that it was used in several ~Girly~ movies) for Me.
Like I always read that song as the you/I being one person, Michelle talking to herself, Michelle practicing a little self love. A superficial read def shows that michelle/the speaker (I) has Power capital P (if you want to/I can save you/I can take you away from here), though that I, in the first verse, was obsessed with becoming the You (I wanted/to be like you); in that first verse, the I gets “swept away,” which to me, at the time, meant that the I became the You, a part of the I has been lost and there is a part of the speaker now resting in the You, conflating the You and I. Yet like, the I still has a lot of power—the rest of the song is just the I pulling the You out of the deep end (or the way I see it, joining the You in the deep end in order to swim back as a We re the second verse). The construction of the song for me was the You = a Lost Self, but still a Self, still essentially part of the I, just one that happened to unravel out of loneliness/need for “somebody to care.” I just always saw the song as like, about reconciling the selves, especially the ones that develop when we lose ourselves, with the I representing the Whole Person that’s in everyone (like at one point we are/were all whole), about the I working with the You, with our Lost Selves to move on, take the next step, not be aimlessly lost, which I mean makes sense given my context all I wanted was some agency to feel ok. Which I also know doesn’t really make any sense