- 1 The Now
- 2 A Simple Wish...
- 3 Earnest Longing
- 4 I'm Your Boyfriend 2: This Time It's Personal
- 5 Sarcasm
- 6 In the singer's defense
- 7 An Unrequited Love Song from the Friendzone
- 8 The Feel-Good Indie Hit of Oscar Season
- 9 A Longing Truman Show of our own Self
- 10 Expectations vs. Reality
- 11 NSA-Reminiscent
- 12 END OF THE WORLD
- 13 Two themes
- 14 I used to relate to this song a lot more
- 15 Heaven does a half-assed job
- 16 Humorously Over-the-top?
In my opinion, this is hands-down one of Linnell's best songs. Linnell is arguably a master of pulling apart a single moment, a thought process or an insight and expanding it out to its infinite point. Answer is, from my point of view, Linnell taking the present moment of a person and pulling it apart like a giant slinky - each spiral containing a broken promise, an unfulfilled wish, an unresolved hope. What makes this song truly great, in my opinion, is how he instills a positive hope in these experiences. Every prayer, every wish and every hope resolve in the present moment. You're here, you're present. You are the answer to all your prayers. Do with it what you will. - racandes
A Simple Wish...
The singer of the song has had an (obsessive?) crush on the subject, and believes that he is the "answer to all your prayers", even though he is none of the things she wants (tall, dark and handsome). The subject has been wanting to get away from the singer for a long time, but he won't stop trying to get her to love him. A nice song, with a catchy tune and an intresting video. One of my favorite from Dial-A-Song!
The singer is obviously in love with the person he is supposedly singing to. This is reminiscent of I'm Your Boyfriend Now, and many people I know have pointed out the similarities. This can be used to discredit Answer, but I find that the songs have an important difference: Answer is less obsessive. Answer is about a guy who honestly loves a woman he knows. He acknowledges that she doesn't like him back (it may take an ocean of whiskey and time), but he's in denial that he has no chance with her. In IYBfN, the singer is fully obsessed with someone he doesn't know personally, and he stalks her. That's a lot creepier than Answer, and it seems that Answer is truly distinct in intention and tone. --SlowlyTwistin
I'm Your Boyfriend 2: This Time It's Personal
I actually think this guy might be MORE obsessive than Mr. Boyfriend Now. The song is filled with stuff about her and how her life has gone, while Boyfriend was mostly about him and what he wants and likes. How does Answer's narrator know all this stuff? Eavesdropping upstairs. (Possibly in his homeland of Heaven.) This guy puts himself down by saying he isn't handsome, while Boyfriend's narrator seemed to find himself relatable and desirable. However, all Boyfriend wants to do is be her boyfriend, while this guy reckons himself the Answer to the girl's prayers. In the end they're equally pompous. Men are pigs! :) --Sonderling (talk) 13:43, 8 March 2015 (EDT)
The lyrics to this song are perfect. The singer is clearly obsessed with the woman, but he is also vindictive towards her for thinking she is entitled to something more than he can offer. Notice all of the things he brings up to "sympathize" with her are all things that only a spoiled person would really complain about (e.g. not getting a pony, having their steak cooked incorrectly). The singer is being bitterly sarcastic, basically saying "Oh, poor baby, it must be SOOOO hard to be you and have to settle for a loser like me". But the fact that he is obsessed with her reveals that he is desperate and probably views himself as a loser too. Great song. --robmang
In the singer's defense
There's really nothing there about the singer being a bad match at all (true, TMBG often uses unreliable narrator, but that can go both ways). It could be the singer is supportive, loving, caring - but is dating/married to a person who just wishes the person was more exciting and attractive. The signer could be singing this to himself in his frustration that he is willing to overlook his partner's shallow expectations of how he should look and act, but they cannot overlook his. The "interested agents have been eavesdropping upstairs" are their friends who actually agree with the singer "Geez, [name] just doesn't get how good they have it". In the end maybe it's the singer who needs to move on. --Pittsburghmuggle (talk) 18:56, 18 April 2015 (EDT)
An Unrequited Love Song from the Friendzone
The singer of the song is one of those guys who's hopelessly in love with a girl, while the girl has no idea and keeps going from one broken dream to another not aware that the singer loves her. She's had high, practically unattainable desires her whole life (like how she keeps wishing for a pony on her birthday) and yes, she's had some bad luck too (the bad weather that seems to follow her around), and she's clearly looking for that tall, dark, and handsome fellow to come riding in to sweep her off her feet. Meanwhile, her friend is 5'3", pasty, and not very attractive, but supports her through thick and thin. He's meant for her, heaven-sent (the "interested agents eavesdropping upstairs" being the angels who've been listening to her prayers this whole time), and is waiting for her to finally realize it. Alas, he doesn't have the confidence to say anything, which is why he remains alone, frustratedly wondering why she doesn't see it yet.
An alternate possibility is that the singer is the "answer to all [her] prayers", but that only means the answer is "No." - Loogaroo
The Feel-Good Indie Hit of Oscar Season
This song is actually the mid-point anthem of a low-budget espionage-thriller-slash-romantic-comedy movie, dumped to theaters well outside the summer release cycle since it's not good enough to compete in Blockbuster Season, and unintentionally serving as a form of relief from all the tedious Socially Important Oscar Bait flicks. The villain is the Pierce Brosnan type, while the hero is the Rick Moranis type. The heroine, naturally, is the focus of an international espionage crisis, though she's completely unaware of this and thinks the hero is kind of a weirdo for incessantly hinting toward the truth, even if he does seem nice enough. It won't be long after the scene where this song plays when things start to go all pear-shaped and they have their first badly-choreographed chase sequence, after which the heroine gets her big WTF ALL I WANTED WAS A BAGEL scene. - PCachu
A Longing Truman Show of our own Self
racandes's interpretation--the first in this list--is what I agree with most. I'll discuss why this is not about some creepy stalker. Let's ask a question: Who is singing this song?
Many of the people above are thinking that this is a literal overwatch. That there're hidden cameras behind the scenes. They expect to find cameras in the listener's house, like in the ceiling or attic. So the person singing is at least obsessively watching over them.
But, what if "Upstairs" was your mind? Where Your Eyes Don't Go? What if your subconscious is constantly poring over every detail in your life to catalog and prepare you for it? That's what the song is pointing to: the tapes and tapes of birthday ponies unfulfilled. The letdowns that are still stored next to all the things asked for. The time those mountains of tapes resurface in response to new hopes.
So who is singing? I dare say that Linell's written the words for the listener's subconscious.
That your subconscious is learning from how you treat it, almost like it's an ally that is forced to suffer and be responsible for most of your decisions. All of your opinions, desires, and feelings are the "interested agents". Some painful opinions keep all the recordings of getting "sunburn a lot". If the listener saw the subconscious as the Answer, they could control this surveillance. The person could record whatever they witness and "make of it what you will"-- a bigger answer and validate that seeds of prayers are sprouting.
Expectations vs. Reality
To me this song has always felt like a comparison between whatever dreams or expectations you might have and how things turn out in the real world, specifically in romantic relationships.I know I have made the mistake of throwing away a real, actual relationship over a fantasy of something better/different in the past, and "Answer" resonated with that.
I think this isn't really a person singing, even though the narrator takes the point of view of a partner, a love interest, or someone of the sort. Dark, tall, handsome are all stereotypical qualities a woman desires in a man. When you get in a relationship, the ideas you had about how it was going to work are often challenged, if not shattered. It might be everyday, simple things or the nature of the partner or the relationship altogether, but something is bound to differ from the scenario you constructed in your mind. Your partner will likely not be dark, or tall, or handsome (in the sense that you imagined).
In times where these differences are particularly visible, I find it good to remind myself that they also include new, positive things I have never thought about, not just downsides. I think this is what the song is about. The narrator reminds us that even though a relationship (or even life in general) is not what we expected, it might be something we never knew we needed, instead of just a let down. In fact, this situation we never wanted might even be the answer to all our prayers.
After reading the others it seems like I may be the only one, but I thought the chorus hinted at a subject who's been unknowingly watched, if not for their whole life then for several years now. Perhaps they're put off by the narrator admitting that "interested agents have been eavesdropping upstairs", but the narrator is trying to convince them that it's okay, that they mean no harm and only wish to finally give our subject all that they've been longing for the past however-many years.
END OF THE WORLD
I saw this as a song of ignorance and bliss. Taking place in the apocalypse. You see, everyone’s just turned against each other and no one trust one another. (Interesting agents have been eavesdropping upstairs; Surveillance machines have been all up in your affairs). The singer reminds the subject about how things were once different and normal before it all fell apart. The singer then talks about when war reigned and their life fell into madness in the second verse. In the end, they tell the subject that they may not be perfect in every way, but none of it really matters, so they should just go for it.
- When Cheese Met Chalk
3:21 (haha nice)
Joins gists from two other songs: I'm Your Boyfriend Now & Science Is Real. From the first, we get the loser lover (a tad less looney than the fella from Call You Mom) who knows that she & he belong together. From the second, we get the aspersions cast on supernatural agency, with prayer analogous to a birthday candle wish. His assurance that a "surveillance machine" is paying attention is not sincere; he doesn't believe there's anyone "upstairs" to "remember your persistence". --Nehushtan (talk) 22:00, 1 November 2019 (EDT)
I used to relate to this song a lot more
I remember when I used to think that I belonged with people who didn’t realize they belonged with me. It was fate! The angels were on my side! If only they would see. The day that I realized that I now saw this song as expertly crafted and catchy as hell but no longer my life story, was the day I realized I had healed the attachment disorder I had been discussing with my therapist for literally years. YMMV ;) User:robotheart 1/8/2020
Heaven does a half-assed job
The song's narrator is simply explaining where he came from, and why he is such a disappointment. Heaven/Divine Providence/the Universe (in the New Age sense) does exist – but it's incompetent and it doesn't really care about you anyway. After a lifetime of bad luck (which Heaven watched while doing nothing), you finally get your karmic reward, but it was hardly worth the wait. This ugly thing in the wrong size is all they had in stock! But you'd better make the most of it, because this is all you get.
In its melody and the way it glamorizes disappointment, this song reminds me strongly of Morrissey, and it would be great if Moz himself would one day cover this song. But as the song itself reminds us, being let down is something we should get used to.
-- Thread Bomb (talk) 04:15, 25 February 2020 (EST)
I know this is probably me just wanting to find a happy slant to this song--tmbg aren't really known for their happy love songs-- but I interpret this song as a jokingly over-the-top song the singer wrote for the person they're already in a relationship with. Part of it is the due to the references the singer makes to the love interest's personal disappointments, like not getting a pony as a child or getting well-done steak when they asked for medium rare, which to me sound like the sort of silly complaints that someone would recount to a partner or friend to laugh about later.
The "interested agents" I interpret as family members or friends who are hoping the two get together, and the line "all this time the surveillance machine has been all up in your affairs" could be an allusion to them trying to meddle in their friendship to get them together. The "you wanted tall..." segment reads as joking self-deprecation with how minor the actual complaints are--there's nothing about them being a bad person or partner, just not what the love interest was originally looking for looks-wise-- and the the self-aggrandizing "i'm the answer to all your prayers" is just the opposite joke with the same extremism applied to it. Again, there's nothing in the song implying the two don't work together as a couple or they don't actually like each other, just that the singer wasn't necessarily what the love interest found attractive.
Or the song is another anti-love song that tmbg loves to write, but I like a kinder take on it.
188.8.131.52 21:16, 30 March 2020 (EDT)