One of my favorites, a sad song that for some reason makes me happy. It's about a guy who loved a girl with bangs, but one day her life was tragically taken away. Completely inconsolable, he tries to find some solution to his aching heart, when suddenly...along comes another girl with bangs. Instantly reminded of his dead love, he decides to make a deal with her: He will pay her a fee in order to be her "boyfriend", though all he really wants to do is look at her bangs all day. The line "Bangs are like a pocket t-shirt/as casual as that while fully intentional means, to me at least, that this girl really has darker intentions than it seems: She grew her bangs out because she knew of the poor guy's weakness. Perhaps she had loved him, and now wants his attention, but he just doesn't care ("In case you think I'm here cause I like making chit-chat..."). And if you really want to dramatize it, maybe this new girl with bangs actually murdered the previous one. I know, that's stretching things, but it makes sense within the context of the song. Most other interpretations I see seem to put the guy on as the villain, but I think that he's a really sympathetic character... - Stiddy
Um... ok. Who's seen "Vertigo"? .... Stiddy hasn't.
Many TMBG songs, to me, seem to be about simply isolating a particular mood, emotion, or odd thought. In this case, it is that ability of men to become completely infatuated with a woman based solely on a single feature. It may be her voice, her lips, her eyes, her figure. In this case, it's a really good haircut.
To directly address points in Stiddy's interpretation: "In case you think I'm here cause I like making chit-chat" is an example of infatuation -- it causes guys to do things they don't normally like to do, like make idle chit-chat. I don't think the line "Just remember what I said: The money's under your hat" is talking about an exchange of cash. "Money" there is meant like it is in the phrase "shake your moneymaker". The word "money" means "value", but not necessarily "currency". The woman's value to the man -- the cause of his infatuation -- is her hair, which can be located under a hat. "Bangs are like a pocket t-shirt/as casual as that while fully intentional" isn't sinister. It's the way of a beautiful woman to know her best features and enhance them, while seeming not to particularly care. A woman expects you to notice when she changes something about herself, but won't flaunt it to make you notice. This line is about fashion, makeup, and hair -- not about exploitation.
I agree with the above. Not all of Linnell's lyrics are sinister.
Re: "The money's under your hat" --
Watch the movie "Swingers" and you will have no question about this use of the word "money." As in "You are so money and you don't even know it!"
I don't think you have to go very far to interpret this song. In "McSweeney's #6" this song first appeared, and it coincides with a story called (IIRC) "The Girl With Bangs." To sum up, it's about how the author falls in love with another girl who has beautiful bangs. The relationship ends with the author finding the girl in bed with a guy. It's a great piece, and my summation doesn't do it justice. But that seems pretty clear on the meaning of the song.
Actually, the story in McSweeney's was inspired by the song, which had actually appeared earlier in one of the band's preview CDs.
Hmmm.... Maybe it's about a guy who likes bangs...
damn. i thought it was just about bangs.
well, actually, i'm sure it's about a girl with bangs. because john Linnell, in a concert, says "This is a song about a hairdo that looks like this. (puts fingers in the shape of bangs, like over his eyes) If hairs were fingers, then that's what this would be." right before they played it. STOP READING TOO FAR INTO THINGS!! why can't john Linnell make a simple song about a hairstyle??
I dunno, why can't he? In this case, there is at least one level of complexity in that the narrator is an idiot, because only an idiot would fall in love with a hairstyle. They love stupid narrator songs, sometimes politely called "unreliable narrator" songs. I think this is one of them. --Christina Miller, June 2005
Why can't people accept that fact that poetry/lyrics were meant to be interpreted differently by different people. Though I have to agree with most of the people here and say that it's just about a guy who likes a certain hairstyle. And the lyrics "Bangs are like a pocket t-shirt/as casual as that while fully intentional" are talking about how casual the hairstyle looks (like a t-shirt with a pocket on it, the kind that a business person may wear on a casual Friday) yet at the same time it shows that the girl obviously cares enough to put a lot of effort into how she looks.
This may be me, but this song seems like a pastiche of The Beatles' "Revolver"-era: The chord sequence used in the verse is a variation of the intro to "I Want To Tell You"; the pause before the word "bangs" and the instrumental break (starting at 1:25) are similar to parts of "And Your Bird Sing." - Idigworms
My interpretation of this is very different. It seems to me that some women are inordinantly concerned with their bangs. "Are my bangs too short?", "Should I cut off my bangs?", "Did you notice I trimmed my bangs?" "I cut off my bangs." So it seems to me that the singer has given in and taken that idea to the next logical step, declaring that her bangs "Are that on which the world hangs", and even takes it further to say "I'm only holding your hand / So I can look at your / Bangs". Very Tom Leaher-esqe-ish.
In the category of clever wordplay: there's the juxtaposition of "Above your eyes" and "Blow (sung as 'buh-low') my mind". So, above/below.
I got this a different way: innocent teenage love.
How it works: a kid is in a new school and doesn't know anyone, when all of the sudden he meets this gorgeous girl and instantly falls in love. She was always a regular girl and stood out to no one but him. The two start dating and are happy. One day the girl gets a new haircut and everyone notices, while the boy quietly tells her how he likes it everyone else is going crazy and telling her that she has the best doo of the school. She eventually talks to her boyfriend about how he isn't praising her hair and everyone else is. As a result the boy starts gushing about the hairstyle.
Trust me, it makes more sence in my mind than it does in yours. I would elaborate, but i hate elaborating.
The few notes at about the 1:30 mark sound strikingly like the line "Montana was a leg".
My interpretation of the line about "bangs are like a pocket tee shirt" was that a tee shirt with a pocket on it is otherwise plain and functional, but that little attention to detail involved in choosing to sew a pocket onto it makes it special. Similarly, bangs are a simple, unpretentious enhancement to a hairstyle.
One of these songs that I liked better when I was mishearing it. I always thought it was "below my mind" (which it still sounds like to me), which led me to think Linnell was making a delightful bit of wordplay on "subconsciously", which for me changed the entire song. Ah well.
Are 'bangs' what we in Australia just call a 'fringe'? It's an odd word to use for something that should be light, isn't it, but I guess it's onomatopoeic if someone has really, really thick hair. :)
Yeah, it's the same thing...
Never has the objectification of women been portrayed so endearingly. ~ magbatz
As I simply put this song to my non-TMBG fan friend last night: the song's pretty much saying "you're cute, I love you." --Lemita 20:34, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Sigh Could this song possibly be about a guy who likes bangs?! Let's examine, shall we?
Bangs.................................<Yeah, that's pretty self explanatory
Above your eyes your hair hangs.......< That is where we usually find bangs
Blow my mind, your royal flyness......< Bangs blow his mind
I dig your bangs......................< For all you modern techies, it's pretty much like digg
Bangs.................................< Yeah, bangs...
To drape across your forehead.........< Uh huh
To swing concordant angles............< You can do that with bangs, you know...
As you incline your head..............< ...are you kidding?
Once with a girl I fell...............< He fell in love with a girl
In love some time ago.................< Gasp! It was before the song was written!
Now she had...........................< ohh~ suspense
Bangs (bangs).........................< see title
Are that on which the world hangs (bangs) < Metaphorically, without bangs, he would just die!
I'm only holding your hand (bangs)....< He doesn't actually care about her...
So I can look at your.................< ...but the bangs!
Bangs.................................< Okay, this is embarrassing, I'm gonna have to crack a...
Bangs (bangs).........................< WE GET IT!
Are like a pocket t-shirt (bangs).....< Pocket T shirts are FTW
As casual as that.....................< They are casual...
While fully intentional (bangs)........< yet fancy!
And in case you think I'm here........< In case you think he's here
'Cause I like making chit-chat........< To sing for you
Just remember what I said.............< Think again: here comes the advice column...
The money's under your hat............< I don't care about you! The true value is the hair!
And although I liked you anyway.......< You're a cool person, ok?
Check out your haircut................< whoa!
Rockin' hair! you have nice hair!
A proscenium to stage a face..........< Golly, gee wilickers, your hair is so great...
That needs no makeup..................< Forget makeup!
Dead girlfriend? no. -Apollo
- BEST INTERPRETATION EVER EVER --Self Called Nowhere 20:01, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
It's a song about me... I have bangs. And John likes my hair cut. --User:Nerdy4ever95
I actually think this song's about a hairdresser who is unsure of his sexuality. Here's why. Bangs is a hair style, and hairdressers like to look at hair. These lines also lead me to beleive such, " And in case you think I'm here cause I like making chit-chat/ remember what I said the money's under your hat." Hairdressers are always very chatty. How do they make money? With hair which is commonly found under a hat. Now for the unsure part, it says, "Once with a girl I fell in love.." the phrasing stands out to me. Like why point out you fell in love with a girl if your a guy and most people will assume you would. Unless your trying to prove that just because your a hairdresser you don't automatically like men. I guess it could go that way too.
I'm not a native English speaker, so could someone confirm this meaning found on http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bang#Noun , «(figuratively) An act of sexual intercourse» and whether it's possible that's being used here?
- I highly doubt that was even considered in the songwriting process of this one to be honest... Maybe it's just that I don't want to think about it, but I can't say I'd ever imagine John Linnell writing about such a thing... --༺𝄞𝄆Ⓠⓤⓔⓛ⎈Ⓓⓞⓜⓜⓐⓖⓔ𝄇༻ 08:48, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
I think this song is helping us see how ridiculous it is that we humans objectify body parts and fixate on them. Rather than enjoying this girl for what she is - an individual with a personality, talents and many stories to tell, he only comes around to get a peak - of her bangs.
In a Giants way, this song is both funny and sad. Brilliant.
making amends with the missus?
First, let’s not put down other peoples’ interpretations: diverse, whacky and original takes are not just tolerated here, but celebrated. Don’t agree with or don’t like a take? Just add your own! Fully 5/23 comments here (or 22%) put down Stiddy’s very interesting interpretation. It’s not in the spirit of TMBG to gang up on or ridicule or put down someone’s unique thoughts. ("gosh, and I thought it was just about the hairstyle...?") That being said... with some trepidation I’ll add my own viewpoint (as a married man): this to me sounds VERY much like something John Linnell wrote to his wife Karen, to get out of trouble. Karen is very lovely and does indeed have bangs at times, but these words 100% ring of getting out of hot water. He might have made a dumb comment about her hair, or clothes, or something she said or did etc. and he knew writing a song about how cute she was would get him out of dutch. I’ll bet it worked too, it’s a sweet little song. But… No adult male would ever write the words “your royal flyness” unless he was in deep, DEEP doo-doo… not in 1980, not in 1990, certainly not in 2001…
p.s. one more thing: this song's sound could be a tribute to turn-of-the-century R.E.M. the jangly guitars, the beat, and John Linnell’s vocal performance sound an AWFUL lot like Michael Stipe and company (even tho the words are completely NREM. It seems to me the Johns sometimes choose a musical style or spirit from another pop performer, apparently randomly, and just for fun. Thezef (talk) 08:48, 4 April 2020 (EDT)