Interpretations:Narrow Your Eyes
They're breaking up, but they're staying friends. hen you're in love, you have wide-eyes for the person, but they're narrowing them and going back to see each other as just friends. That's why they're able to 'race the the bottom of a glass' like drinking buddies. Beautiful. (perspixx)
A very straight break up song with none of the usual spins on the genre. An early example of Flans' post-Flood habit of trying to write more commercial songs. (Mr Tuck)
The relationship is over, and resentment and regret permeate the narrator, but he's given up. He remembers what they've been through and realizes it's hopeless.
It seems that, even as they try to simply resolve themselves to the fact that the relationship has failed, there is a tension that makes them want to compete with each other about it. This competition is certainly up to interpretation. It could be a literal contest of alcohol consumption or it could be a contest to see who can get "to the bottom of a glass" of their "toast" to the fact that the relationship is a hopeless failure. In other words, a contest to see who can 'get over it' (or at least put up the best facade of having gotten over it) first.
I don't really think its about competition. I think the 'race to the bottom of the glass' is more of an idea of trying to forgive and forget, get over each other as quick as possible. Not really a race between each other, just more of a personal race against one's self. Just my opinion
I love the accordion solo in this song!
I see the 'race to the bottom' line as: their relationship has gotten so crooked that even the most trivial things are points of contention. In response to Mr Tuck, I don't see songs like this as an attempt by Flans to write more commercial hits, but as exercises in post-irony, efforts to make the emotional connection more straightforward, and attempts to insert at least a few entries into the 'songwriter's songs' canon, the kind of thing Elvis Costello has been trying to do over the last third of his career. Such efforts might seem to us Giants fans be inappropriate for the 'TMBG' concept, but apparently at least one half of TMBG itself seems to disagree. Certainly EC has been scorned for going from being the Angry Young Man of London's punk/new wave movement to schmoozing with Burt Bacharach and writing orchestral mush for ballets. But he seems to be pursuing a dream of 'respectability' and communion with those he considers his fellow craftsmen. It's not hard to imagine Flans (a great pop talent and an admirer of Frank Sinatra) following the same kind of dream. Hence songs like this, Another First Kiss, and I Can't Hide From My Mind. --Nehushtan 22:03, 31 Mar 2006 (CST)
This song, to me, seems to be a song about a mutual breakup. Each line clearly shows that they both realize that their relationship can never work and don't even want to bother trying: "I don't want to change your mind, I don't want to think about your mind...You don't want to understand....I just can't bear to tell you some lies". As for the 'race to the bottom of a glass' line it seems to be more playful and tongue-in-cheek than a real contest as nehushtan suggests. They simply don't see the point in feeling bad about the relationship any more and want to forget. --Hitako47
The "race" to the bottom of the glass might not imply any competition. It might just mean "get drunk fast", because this is awkward and painful.
I've been chewing on "we'll race to the bottom of a glass" for years - if they just broke up, why are they drinking together? It finally hit me the other day - they were young, in love and broke up, both sides at fault. She found she was pregnant. They stayed apart. Said child is an adult now and just got married - and wanted the father to come. The two parents - both more mature now - are sitting together at the wedding reception and the guy talking about his mixed feelings he went through after the breakup - how he wanted to get back together after the breakup but knew she'd be angry at him if he returned. The couple are never getting back together, but they amicable and are both still happy for their child - now an adult - and drinking to them.--Pittsburghmuggle (talk) 03:08, 10 February 2015 (EST)
The first stanza, he is alluding to how he thinks she has come to some kind of realization or conclusion. She's no longer blind, she sees something, and he's worried about what that is. He doesn't want to think about it, so it's not good. In the second stanza, he starts to think about his own motivations. He doesn't want to do all the things that are expected of him. Shaking hands, walking in sand, acting like a man. He has noticed something as well. They are both no longer blind to the sad reality of their relationship. And neither want to change. Then he gets on the bus, and he can't even get off the bus at his stop because he can't bare to keep lying and causing her to narrow her eyes. Narrowing one's eyes is a nonverbal way of communicating displeasure, and he can't bare to see that anymore. With the lies and the lack of communication, the relationship is not doing well. In the next verse, they are in agreement that it's time to move on. Then he gets on his bike and keeps riding and doesn't stop as a goes through all the green lights, a sign that this was the right thing to do and he's free. But he's still healing, because thinking of her causes him to narrow his eyes. And at the end, they toast the end of their relationship and drown their sorrow in booze. And he'll drown his frustrations in booze as she yet again narrows her eyes, as he continues his dysfunctional behavior beyond the end of their relationship. --220.127.116.11 10:48, 30 November 2017 (EST)
So, a lot of us seem to be in agreeance with the idea that this song is indeed a break-up song, but I would also like to add onto that idea. This song gives me some "They'll Need A Crane," vibes because many people also think that "They'll Need A Crane," is about a failed relationship, specifically a marriage. These two songs definitely hold many parallels to each other. In "Narrow Your Eyes," the lines about riding the bus or the bikes down the block and seeing everything that's familiar, but it doesn't change what's happening is very similar to the bridge of "They'll Need A Crane," when John L sings about going to the restaurant where "all of the nightmare people like to go." Also, when John F sings the lines," I just can't bear to tell you some lies/ And narrow your eyes," is what seemed to have been happening in "They'll Need A Crane," when John L sang," Some things Gal says to Lad aren't meant as bad, but causes him a little pain, they cause him pain." It also seems like both songs are about marriage, but "Narrow Your Eyes," was more so an engagement, rather than an already fulfilled marriage, like in "They'll Need A Crane". The line," I don't want to shake your father's hand," reminds me of asking the woman's father for their blessing, for some reason. In "They'll Need A Crane," it talks about calling off the "wedding band," which can either be the actual, literal wedding band, or a band or song that played at their wedding. Now, I'm fairly certain that these songs aren't about the same failed relationships, but it seems like the people in the songs have experienced very similar instances that made their endings more painful than it had to be. I just thought it was interesting, so do what you want with this info, lol. -Rhi