“Never Too Late” is a song by the band Three Days Grace. It is the third single from the band’s second album One-X.
The song reached the number one spot at the MuchMusic Countdown on June 29 for one week. It also reached the top of the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This is the band’s most successful song from One-X despite the fact that their prior hits “Just Like You” (from their self-titled album), “Animal I Have Become”, “Pain” and a few singles that were less successful did better on the U.S. charts. This is due to “Never Too Late” peaking at number 71, where “Just Like You” peaked at number 55, “Animal I Have Become” at number 60 and “Pain” at number 44. Despite not hitting number one, it was more successful than any of the singles from One-X and it stayed longer on the charts than their number one hits at 43 weeks, beating “Animal I Have Become” by two weeks and “Pain” by a hefty 13 weeks. It is the band’s second most successful song only behind “I Hate Everything About You” on the rock charts at 45 weeks.
This song is also the band’s only cross-over hit to date charting on both Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 formats at number 12 and number 13. Their three prior hits failed to chart since “Animal I Have Become” and “Pain” were released to commercial radio after “Never Too Late”, even though they came to all rock stations before it and “Never Too Late” was the highest charting single on the Canadian charts, making “Never Too Late” as Three Days Grace’s most successful song from One-X. Its music video has also reached more views on YouTube than “Pain” has (with over 67 million) with “Never Too Late” having over 100 million views, making it their second most viewed video only behind “I Hate Everything About You” with over 116 million views (views as of April 2016).
The track managed to resurge in pop airplay, peaking at number 14 on Mediabase and was added by the pop stations in the US, Z100, and Y100. It is the only song to be released to Mainstream Top 40 radio since their 2003 hit “I Hate Everything About You” peaked at number 28 and “Never Too Late” hit number 12. Certain radio stations and Sirius XM The Pulse play a version of the song which censors the phrase “end your life” in the chorus to “change your life” to eliminate the suicide reference from the song. It also quiets the heaviness of the guitar. It appeared on Now! 26, the only song from the album to appear on a Now! album in the U.S.
On October 23, 2007, Three Days Grace released a single featuring “Never Too Late” and two Clear Channel acoustic recordings of “Pain” and “I Hate Everything About You”. On February 12, 2008, an EP was released through iTunes containing the album version of “Never Too Late”, an acoustic version and the music video.
This song’s meaning was explained by former Three Days Grace frontman, Adam Gontier, at a live performance on March 7, 2007 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., where he stated, “This song is about being in a very dark place, but being able to see a way out.” Then, on the Live at the Palace 2008 DVD, he explained it as, “Feeling like you don’t really belong here anymore, and it’s about wanting to sort of end everything. But really, this song is about not giving up at all.” The song was featured in a promo for the television show Eleventh Hour.
The video begins with a little girl (played by Matreya Fedor) in her room dancing with her parents. Later, it shows her older self (played by Adam Gontier’s then-wife, Naomi Brewer) struggling against doctors as they strap her down to a hospital bed. As they restrain her, the woman looks toward her younger self-dancing with her parents (through the woman’s eyes, her young-self appears to have sprouted or been wearing monarch butterfly wings on her back while dancing). The video then cuts to her younger self, showing a man touching her and she smiles hesitantly. The video shows her dancing with her parents, who have bandages over their eyes, signifying that they don’t know what is going on. Later, hands marks covered in a black substance are seen all over her, her bedroom, and the man’s hand. It is revealed that she was sexually abused as a child, explaining her traumatic breakdown when she is older. As the woman remains strapped helplessly to her hospital bed, the straps from head-to-toe are replaced with the man’s hands. Her younger self is shown again; hiding in her room from her attacker, who lifts up the bed to find the girl lying in a fetal position when she sees an angel who fights off the man, scattering his feathers over the girl’s room in the process. As the angels’ feathers rain down on the grown woman’s bed and the man’s hands – in place of the straps – lose their grip on her and die (in reference of the attacker’s defeat by the angel), eventually her older self is able to overcome her fear and leaves the hospital bed smiling, while her younger self-goes back to her own bed.
The band is seen performing the song throughout the video, though it also shows scenes Adam Gontier singing and playing guitar in the girl’s bedroom.