Interpretations:She's An Angel

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At first I took this song fairly literally thinking it was just a song about God sending down an angel for John to love but two lines in the song make me think it's something slightly more romantic. The lines "They don't happen at all" and "Sometimes I think I'm already there (in space/heaven)" make me think that this person is talking in a flattering manner about someone he is already with. It finalizes this point with the last line "Calling you an angel, calling you the nicest thing." But maybe it's just me.




I think this song is meant to be taken literally. Shii


I read an article about TMBG once that praised Linnell's "knack for singing tricky, overstuffed quatrains," or something along those lines. The chorus of this song, as you know if you've ever tried to sing it, definitely fits that description. Moreover, at the end of the line "...other times I think I'm already there," you'll probably be out of breath, unless you've got the ill lung capacity. This may well be an oblique reference to the previous lyric ("there's no air"). Just thought that was cool.


I noticed that too. I had wondered if anyone else did, or if it was just me. I suspected that the whole thing was related, but then again, I wasn't sure if it was just me connecting things in odd ways. You certainly do feel like you're already there, when you get to the end of the line. It's a clever way to enhance the experience of the song, I think.


Actually, I never run into that problem. And trust me, I have just about the smallest lung capacity ever (which is horrible, since when I sing or play in public I always end up having to catch my breath at the end). I always just end up sneaking in a tiny breath between "sometimes I think" and "I'm already there." There's a tiny pause, which definitely helps (and as a flute player I've already learned to utilize everyone of those little breaks in phrasings, every rest, and every tiny little gap that I could possibly use). Yup, just took a breather and sung that (and I kept the browser open because I just don't care anymore; I got unlimited DSL time! for a fee, of course), and I didn't really run into a problem. Yeah, well, that's what you get for playing a wind instrument (that and many a migraine when I was starting out and learning the high notes). Aurora Hawthorne


Ask a rapper... any sustained vocal like that is usually due to breaths inbetween the words, like Aurora said. There are quite a few little gaps in the chorus.


I always thought this was about how one person was going to hell (the narrator), and his girlfriend was going to heaven. He had a vision of this somehow.


The line "If you're following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?" reminds me of Matthew 4:5-7:

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, He will give his angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"

Overall, though, I think the song is about a guy falling in love with a girl he thinks is too good for him, and he wants to know what she thinks of him.


Actually, the line "If you're following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?" is reference to the movie "City of Angels" ;)At least, that's what I thought. It's not like the Johns to refer to Christianity unless it's for irony or humor.

I take the song pretty literally :\ but that's because it's fun to think about it like that.


You'd have to be an idiot to think that this song has ANYTHING to do with the movie "City of Angels." Linnell wrote this in the mid-80s, and "City of Angels" came out in 1998. Nice try, but as usual, people have stretched these "interpretations" beyond acceptable limits. -The Cymbalist


Disclaimer: Okay, I'm not in the business of guessing what TMBG *intended*, but I do believe that a creative effort can have meanings which exist apart from intention. This song is (possibly by accident) about a doubting man's search for God, and how God is made manifest in the love of human beings for one another.

(Remember that one of Mr. Linnell's favored ploys is to tell you something backwards, or bottom-to-top, to make you work for the chronology or the subject, so the main clue not appearing until mid-song is not a problem.)

The narrator's world is a dog-show, basically a silly place where dogs are judged for conformation to arbitrary man-made standards. Dogs are created, and man, playing God, interbreeds them to create new types of dogs. A vain and silly place.

Who is at the dog show world?

1. An angel - a heavenly being who shows up and lets the narrator stand to her right, the place of the righteous. (The narrator specifies she takes his left arm.)

2. The Shriners - Masons who do charity work for sick and disadvantaged children. Masons are a secret society, suspected by some to have sinister agendas, a source of paranoia, and the Shriners are the branch that emerges from secrecy to do good works for kids.

3. The Man in Charge, to whom you have to speak to get admission, and to whom you can never really speak. Although His gatekeeper doesn't say that outright, s/he just tells you to wait for a long time, then you can speak to Him. This sounds like God - you may pray, but you get no direct answers until you die.

4. The paranoid narrator, who can't get anyone to listen to him - The Man in Charge is on another line, the space program can't hear him if he sings. He is trying to communicate, to contact, to have something heard.

The narrator is in a world where divine forces help him, but where he can't speak directly about or to them - Shriners, angels, God. He'd like to speak to God, confirm His existence, but God is busy, so God sends him love via an angel, and arranges for his agents, the Shriners, to provide him what he needs for his happiness.

He can see how wonderful his secret angel is, and doesn't think he's worthy:

    "Somewhere they're meeting on a pinhead
    Calling you an angel, calling you the nicest things"

He's thinking about his angel - this refers to the idea "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" A sort of useless philosophical exercise. The "they" here can be the other angels, God or the Shriners, or, even, himself. He might be the pinhead, in some sense, because he is calling her an angel, calling her the nicest things.

The "throwing your body off a building" can be a reference to Jesus' admonition, as mentioned above on this page, not to tempt God by throwing yourself from a high place and expecting angels to bear you up. This is also about his feeling he is not worthy of his angel, and that he shouldn't say out loud that he knows his angel would save him - you must pretend you don't expect divine love in order to get it.

(It's a funny comment on human love and intimacy, I suspect. That you can't speak directly to its dispenser, you must pretend you're indifferent, that it's a gift you have to refuse to ask for in order to get.)

Also, since he can't talk to his God, he can't be sure God is there. One of the reasons he can't actually say out loud that he knows she's an angel, other than it making her leave, is that if he acknowledges what is clear - that God sent him and angel - then God must exist.

This lyric suggests so many things, has enough layers of meaning and angst, that I didn't even realize until I saw it performed live that it was a love song. (--Christina Miller, May 2005


I always thought the 'man in charge' was God too. but i took the song less literal than above. --bluething


Yes, the "City of Angels" refrence is what I came up with in "throw your body off a building" But in a twisted way. If you havn't seen the movie, the idea is that angels are all around us, but you don't really get to see them untill you're close to death (sumthing like that) but for resosns I forgot due to the fact that it's been a while since I watched the movie, a woman began to see one of the angels, who would follow her, and fell in love with her. In order for the angel to become human, they had to do soemthing that would kill a human. I think it had to be soemthing rather grand (Hey, like throwing your body off a building) Which is exactly how this angel dude desided to make himself human. (Mmmm, typos) Also, what better place for angels to meet, than on a pinhead?


You clued to fact that the song CANNOT have been a reference to the movie City of Angels because John Linnell wrote it in 1986, 12 years before the movie premiered, right? Unless you think he can see into the future? Falling from a high place is a metaphor that is used over and over in literature; it was not invented for a cheesy Nick Cage flick.


^^^Dude, wouldn't it be cool, tho? If John Linnell could see into the future??


^^^Dude! Totally. We knew he was supernatural, didn't we? Although he politely doesn't use his x-ray vision during concerts. Pretty decent of him. I heard he was really a Giant Insect, one of our Benevolent Insect Overlords. Another note: the angels in City of Angels met at the beach, not at a dogshow or on a pinhead. Blessed be the Insect Overlords.


I think there's a little bit of over-interpretation going on here. The way I see it, the song is quite straightforward: this wonderful woman has come into the narrator's life out of the blue,

I met someone at the dog show, she was holding my left arm/But everyone was acting normal so I tried to look nonchalant

...just like that. They hit it off immediately,

The Shriners loaned us cars/We raced up and down the sidewalk a thousand million times

In fact, she's so perfect for him that he begins to worry that there's been some cosmic mistake. What did he do to deserve her? These things don't just happen, especially not to guys like him--someone must have goofed.

Why did they send her over anyone else? How should I react?/These things happen to other people, they don't happen at all, in fact.

So he goes to see "the man in charge" (yes, probably God) to inform him that someone's goofed up and sent an angel to the wrong guy. But he can't get through, and the narrator begins to worry that he's going to get in trouble when the screwup gets noticed.

I'm worried that something might happen to me if anyone ever finds out

It's clear to me that the song is relatively light-hearted; the guy just feels incredibly lucky, and is musing on his good fortune. I can relate.


The feeling I get out of this song isn't so much a lucky feeling as a sort of desperation: the feeling you get when everything is going so well that you know that something bad is about to happen. I absolutely love the lines, "these things happen to other people / they don't happen at all, in fact" Also, I've noticed the biblical reference too. It's one of only three biblical references I know of in TMBG's songs; the other two are the line "returning to the womb" in Shoehorn With Teeth and the line "Drink and cook the prodigal son" in Hot Cha. Tutt 14:32, 10 Oct 2005 (EDT)MasterChivo


What about the booklet in the user's guide to TMBG? the spot on the timeline corosponding with she's an angel says nothing about angels, but mentions an orginization being founded. Mabye angel is an acronym?


The organization mentioned in the booklet is the Shriners, who are mentioned in passing in the first verse ("the Shriners loaned us cars.") It doesn't have anything to do with the angel part.

The part about "meeting on a pinhead" is, by the way, another literary allusion. The medieval theologians known as the Scholastics (e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas) were criticized by later generations of scholars for asking overly arcane or esoteric questions about theology; the question "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" became a famous parody of this alleged tendency, although it was never asked by an actual Scholastic.


She was "holding my left arm" as mentioned above strikes me as a play on words, since John makes a point to state that everyone else was "acting normal." And you just gotta love those little cars that the Shriners ride in parades.


"City of Angels" was inspired by the movie "Wings of Desire" which, depending on where you look, was released in 1986/87. This probably means nothing, but it's a funny coincidence. Smidge204 14:42, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)


Alright I didn't read all of the above interps because my attention span is pretty small, so my idea might be one of the ones above.

I think this song is literal in a more than literal kind of way.

The entire first verse, in my opinion is just providing you with back story on how he met his love.

The "Why did they send her over anyone else? How should I react these things happen to other people, they don't happen at all in fact." line could be saying "Why did they take her and not someone else?" meaning why did his love die. The deaths of loved ones happens to other people, but he thinks this heartbreak he feels doesn't happen to others.

In the chorus John says "When you're following an angel, doesn't mean you have to throw your body off a building." This could be seen as John's love or crush is an actual angel, seeing on how angels have wings and fly, and to follow her doesn't mean he has to die as well.

"Somewhere they're meeting on a pinhead calling you an angel, calling you the nicest thing." This line could mean that someone, somewhere in the world thinks you are an "angel" as well.

"Gonna ask for my admission, gonna speak to the man in charge, the secretary says he's on another line, can I hold for a long, long, time?" This line could be saying he wants to call God and ask for admission to Heaven so that he can be with his love forever, but God is talking to someone else, possibly on an identical situation.

Once again I think I'm reading into these songs waaaaaay too much (see interps for Birdhouse, On the Drag, S-E-X-X-Y).

Squeak


I havent written many interpretations, but this song gets to me more personaly than any other. Like some of the other interpretations here, I see it as being about somone falling in love. But more than that, its about falling so complelty in love that the rest of the world goes out of focus and you're left completly amazed.

Some of the lines lend themself to this interpretation very easily, so I wont go through them (following an angel... off a building = completly head over heels in love).

Here's some details:

"Met someone at the dogshow": chance meeting, as the way these things somtimes go. Its someone finding their perfect love out of the blue.

"Everone was acting normal so I tried to act nonchalant": The most amazing thing that has ever happened in this man's life has just happened, and part of him is amazed that no one else has noticed, while at the same time trying to not screw things up.

"Raced up and down..": The feeling that moments last forever. That magical moment you have with the person you love that will last forever in your mind.

"Hear they had a space program...": The attempt to describe this feeling. Breathless, and just complelty unable to express it.

"Ask for my admission... found out she's angel": I dont see the content of the first two lines being important, but rather the transition. He tries to keep doing the things he would normaly do, but he cant get over what an amazing thing has happenend.

"Worry that something might happen to me...": Again, he cant believe his luck.

To me, this song is about finding that perfect love. This is the greatest thing that could ever happen in a person's life, and this song captures it so well.

- Sean St.

I doubt this is a literal song. I think the "angel" is some girl the narrator thinks he has no chance with. "...Meeting on a pinhead, calling you the nicest things" is saying he's a greater guy than he thinks, and people are talking about him, nicely, on the side. I dunno. {shrugs} --Lemita


My first thought about the subject of this song was actually something that it looks like no one else is thinking. Couldn't the narrator be some poor victim of a psychiatric condition by which he thinks he sees and interacts with angels, but also has enough rationality still to know that he shouldn't be seeing things like that?


"Met someone at the dog show / She was holding my left arm"

He was at a dog show, and suddenly, he thinks there's someone next to him (an angel) and holding his arm, which of course catches his attention.

"Everyone was acting normal"

...because they couldn't see her (since she's in his mind), but he's not sure if it's because of that or because they all think it's natural for her to be there,

"So I tried to look nonchalant"

"We both said 'I really love you'"

He's losing himself in the illusion, thinking now that it's real, and of course an angel would probably be pretty charming, no?

"The Shriners loaned us cars / We raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times"

Now he's totally submersed in his hallucinations, believing that he spent all this time having fun with his new angel friend. Although he probably says "twenty thousand million" as a figure of speech to mean "very many," having borrowed the Shriners' cars and raced around was probably a hallucination and/or false memory.

"Why did they send her, over anyone else?"

Here, he rationally wonders why such a wonderful angel would be sent to him. After that thought, he comes to the conclusion that he must have dreamed up the whole thing, which distresses him greatly.

"How should I react? These things happen to other people. They don't happen at all, in fact"

The narrator is frantic; his mind is racing. He's thinking to himself: Oh no, I must be delirious! What should I do? I've heard of other people claiming to see angels, but how could it happen to me? That kind of thing doesn't even happen in real life, I can't be seeing an angel! From there, his worries continue:

"When you're following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?"

There have been countless incidents of people hearing voices, etc. Often, the hallucination will at some point instruct the victim to in some way harm someone (possibly themselves); many have obediently hurt or killed themselves (some by jumping off a building), seemingly unable to disobey. The narrator knows this and, at least while still in his rational mind, worries about whether such a fate may be inevitable for him.

"Somewhere they're meeting on a pinhead, calling you an angel, calling you the nicest things"

Admittedly, this line took me a while, but I now think he's trying to reason with himself regarding the place/role of angels. In a previous interpretation, there is a comment regarding the Scholastics. With that in mind, I think the narrator is saying that, rather than being present here on Earth, angels should be off somewhere in Theology Land (on the head of a pin, theoretically) making you feel good (calling you an angel, calling you the nicest things) from a distance. They shouldn't actually be right here. They're somewhere else, right? He's trying to convince himself that he couldn't really have seen an angel.

"I heard they have a space program: when they sing, you can't hear; there's no air"

He's referring to treatment, most likely medication. The space program is a drug regimen. It would stop the hallucinations, though it would do so by means of costing him his senses (he would no longer hear the angels sing, but only because there would be no air/he would be in space).

"Sometimes I think I kind of like that and other times I think I'm already there"

That solution sounds appealing, but he (somewhat) sarcastically remarks that he feels like he's already "in space," or detached from life (and understandably so).

"Gonna ask for my admission"

...into a hospital or treatment center, perhaps deciding he'll venture the "space program".

"Gonna speak to the man in charge"

...of the hospital. Or perhaps the doctor. The main thing is, due to embarassment, he doesn't want to go through a long process, but would prefer to discreetly talk directly to someone who can help without making an ordeal or seeming crazy.

"The secretary said he's on another line, can I hold for a long, long time"

Understandably nervous, having to hold seems like a huge thing, and he feels that the wait is nearly forever. In the meantime, while he was on hold, he...

"Found out she's an angel"

He's having another episode, and thinks the secretary is an angel.

"I don't think she knows I know"

He thinks this because she hasn't acted out of the ordinary, but he's not in enough control of his mind at the moment to realize that she's acting normal because she is normal, not an angel. Instead he thinks she doesn't know he's on to her and is therefore keeping up her disguise as a mortal.

"I'm worried that something might happen to me if anyone ever finds out"

Although he's hallucinating, he still has enough reason to be able to realize that if someone finds out about what he's seeing, there would be unpleasant reactions (i.e., everyone calling him crazy, and having him locked up). His deliberations resume with the repitition of the chorus.


Anyone agree with this interpretation?


Here's what I think. "I met someone at the dog show She was holding my left arm But everyone was acting normal so I tried to look nonchalant."

Quiet, unpopular boy,who is too afraid to talk to girls, meet's a pretty and popular girl at a dog show.

"We both said, "I really love you," The Shriners loaned us cars We raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times"

The same night they fall for each other and have the most fun they've ever had.

"Why did they send her over anyone else? How should I react? These things happen to other people They don't happen at all, in fact"

Boy becomes confused and tries to figure out why a pertty and popular girl would like him.

"When you're following an angel Does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?"

This is the most important line. It asks "When you've found the perfect girl, do you have to throw away your old life to follow her?" The boy has a chance to go with the more popular crowd, but does he want to leave his friends behind?

"Somewhere they're meeting on a pinhead Calling you an angel, calling you the nicest things"

The boy fears that the relationship will end, so he showers her with affection and attention.

"I heard they had a space program When they sing you can't hear, there's no air Sometimes I think I kind of like that and Other times I think I'm already there"

This line refers to when you are nervess around girls, and you can't talk to them. The boy is afraid to leave the girl because he is worried he will never meet another pretty girl.

"Gonna ask for my admission Gonna speak to the man in charge The secretary says he's on another line, Can I hold for a long, long time?"

The boy is going to ast her father for permission to mary the girl. The girl's sister or mother tells the boy the father is on a confrence call,or any long call, and that the boy will have to wait.

I found out she's an angel I don't think she knows I know I'm worried that something might happen to me If anyone ever finds out

While the boy is talking to the mother or sister he falls in love with her. He becomes worried that some one will find out, and that both girls will leave him.

This is very close to a relationship I had, exept for the second verse. -Nathan


Ever hear that song by REM, "Losing my religon"? Losing my religon is a southern phrase, and it means to be so attracted to someone that to you they're more important than your religon: you value her over God. I think this song's about pretty much the same thing. He meets a great, wonderful girl who likes him, but he doesn't deserve that kind of girl. He's just a normal person, who's he to get perfection? It's kinda panicky: This can't be real. She's pretending, she's playing a joke, she's really a psycho killer on the side, etc. It's a song about total enrapture and self doubt, IMO. A relationship that's too good to be true for the narrator.


The first time I heard this, I just assumed that the Narrator was dead. Kind of like the Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, he doesn't realize it at first. Everyone acts normal around him, but the only person he's been interacting with is this woman he met at the dog show. He finds out that she's an angel, and he wants to talk to the "Man in Charge" to ask for his "admission" into heaven, but for some reason he can't get in yet. The angel was sent to guide him. -M.C.C.

I love this track musically its genius as usual.. I think you can take what you want out of the lyrics. But in my opinion the best hard hitting point is the second line. Why did they send her over anyone else How should I react , these things happen to other people They Don't happen at all In Fact. I think he' is is in denial that he fell in love so easily and got so deep in. But in the finish he was jilted as easy as they met. But he feels no malice or regrets towards her. Just admiration. ... The Chief..


Okay, musically I absolutely love this song and I annoy my friends by suddenly singing the chorus without warning for no particular reason (Sad, I know)

I've wondered what it means for ages and I have a theory which I'm going to share. It's probably completely off but hey:

"I met someone at the dog show She was holding my left arm But everyone was acting normal so I tried to look nonchalant We both said, "I really love you," The Shriners loaned us cars We raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times"

This, to me, just describes love in general they meet (Perhaps for the first time, I suspect not though) and she's holding his arm. He wants to act all loved up and childish racing up and down sidewalks "twenty thousand million times" but can't because he's at a "grown up" place (How many children go to dog shows?) and everyone else is acting sensible.


"Why did they send her over anyone else? How should I react? These things happen to other people They don't happen at all, in fact"

This is where my interpretation differs from most. "Send her", to me, says she's died. She's been "sent" TO heaven (not from it). And he's confused ("How should I react?") and slightly in denial ("These things happen to other people")

"When you're followin' an angel Does it mean you have to throw your body off a building? Somewhere they're meeting on a pinhead Calling you an angel, calling you the nicest things"

Perhaps while they were together he promised to follow her anywhere. Well now he's "following an angel". Well how do you do that? Does that mean you have to kill yourself? ("throw your body off a building") meeting on a pinhead calling her an angel/nicest things could be a funeral in reference to the testimonials and general well wishers.

"I heard they had a space program When they sing you can't hear, there's no air Sometimes I think I kind of like that and Other times I think I'm already there"

Space program immediately makes my think of heaven with singing angels who you can't hear. Sometimes he thinks about how he'd like to be alone with no one around to hear him, a common thought when dealing with grief. The last line could be about the fact that he doesn't feel able to open up to anyone about the thoughts he's having at the moment, so he's de facto already in a place no one can hear him.

"Gonna ask for my admission Gonna speak to the man in charge The secretary says he's on another line, Can I hold for a long, long time?"

He goes to church looking for answers to his dilemma from God (The man in charge) but the secretary tells him it's not his time to die because God has other plans for him (On another line) and he'll have to wait for, what feels like to him, "a long, long time".

"I found out she's an angel I don't think she knows I know I'm worried that something might happen to me If anyone ever finds out"

The first two lines I'm stuck on I'm afraid... Perhaps it was very early in the relationship and she was aware she was doing something/had an illness that might kill her and didn't tell him. To protect him, or maybe she was afraid he'd leave if she told him. The other two lines could be talking about his fears that people will panic if he opens up about these thoughts of suicide, people wont look at him the same way.


There, like I said it's probably completely off the mark. Oh; and if you've read the whole thing... Thank you and sorry for it being so long - Imposing Snail


I think it's about a guy asking what he do to get such perfection: "I met someone at the dog show she was holding my left arm, but everyone was acting normal so I tried to act nonchalant" I think the "dog show" means that the world is just a place where we are judge for our good looks and not for our kindness and personalities. Saying he met her, is saying that he comes to this realization. "We both said 'I really love you' The shriners loaned us cars, we raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times" Is saying that they have been together forever (twenty thousand million times will take a while!) "Why did they send her? Over anyone else? How Should I react? These things happen to other people, they don't happen at all, in fact" This is the realization. Why did she decide to love me? Why not the more attractive people? She could have got way better than me (I'm assuming that he is wrong) "When your following an angel, does that mean you have to throw your body off the building?" This means that some of her family members and friends say she could have done better, and he's saying "I've done so much, what more do you want?" "Somewhere they're meeting on a pinhead calling you an angel, calling you the nicest thing" This could either mean sarcasm or that people are always commenting on her, and he wonders if he deserves getting those comments (because they are together) "I heard they had a space program when they sing you can't hear, there's no air" means that he isn't hearing the good things (singing) over the bad things (no air) that people say about them "Sometimes I think I kinda like that and other times I think I'm already there" Before they were together, he kind of liked the idea of being with her, and getting criticism, good and bad, but now feels that he probably got criticism for thinking that "Gonna ask for my admission, gonna speak to the man in charge" This is when John decides to switch it over to her literally being an angel. He prays, asking "Why me?" "The secretary says he's on another line can I hold for a long, long time" Is saying that he felt that he had no response because "the man in charge" is too busy with the prettier people. "I found out she's an angel, I don't think she knows I know, I'm worried that something might happen to be if anyone ever finds out" Is saying that she really is too good for him, and he's worried that if someone realizes that she is too good for him, they might try to convince her to leave him or something. It's kinda sad for him to think that she would cheat on him or do something of that nature just because she is out of his league. --Dunklekuh81


Recently I've finished reading Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles in school, and to accompany this we were given an essay to read of one critic's interpretations of the symbolism, signifiers, and themes in the story. It was while reading this essay that I came upon an excerpt from the seventh phase of the novel that hadn't been of great interest to me at the time I must have read it, but which the essayist was trying to prove as significant to the fateful portrayal of Tess and Angel's (main characters) love. I recalled the passage as pertaining to their escape to the infamous Stonehenge, site of Pagan worship (as we are now learning), and the passage reads thus: "The wind, playing upon the edifice, produced a booming tune, like the note of some gigantic one-stringed harp." What the essayist wanted to draw from that was a symbolic transformation of their love throughout the novel, which earlier on was the endless melodic and harmonic combinations that could be generated by a harp, which Angel plays, but which finishes as one solid, brooding note created by the passing wind, denying any freedom to the lovers. Immediately after re-reading that passage, I had the first few bars of "She's An Angel" run through my head, and the "one stringed" "booming tune" had a new meaning. I saw a good opportunity for some inventive interpretation, and so I speculated for a while and possibly saw what might have been the Giants wishing to give another upbeat tune a dark underlying significance (hey! that's juxtaposition!). In retrospect, it's probably not a very significant bit of insight, but its amusing enough to suppose it was deliberate. -B.S.


I return after so many months because I feel I should credit my sources, that is, name the essayist I speak of. I only paraphrased what he was saying at one point. The guy is Ralph Harrington BA(Lond.), MSt(Oxon.), DPhil(Oxon.) and his essay is titled "The Shadow of Stonehenge: pagainsim, fate, and redemption in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles". -B.S.


I think that this song is about a man who meets a girl and somehow discovers that she is an angel. She has to return to heaven, but he doesn't want her to leave and wants to follow her there, but realises that the only way to get there kill himself, which he is afraid to do.He knew that she was an angel, but she didn't know that he figured it out, and he's afraid that something really bad will happen if God or any other authority figure in heaven finds out that he figured it out. He is wondering why they had to send him one that he would fall in love with and decides that he doesn't care what happens, he will go talk to god and ask him to take him immediatyely, but gets refused. Iknow this is pretty flimsy but its my first interpretation. --D-man 17:57, 10 July 2008 (UTC


I approached this one kind of personally, honestly, because it reminds me of a situation I'm in right now... Pretty similar to how others have interpreted, really, though I think the whole "If you're following an angel, do you have to throw yourself off a building" idea is the idea that he's worried about putting everything he has into the relationship and stepping over the edge, because if he does, he's got to trust his angel to catch him.

Also, personally, I know this might sound weird, but I took the space bit as being an oblique reference to the idea of being spaced out (space) and breathless (no air).


I found out she's an angel

I don't think she knows I know

I'm worried that something might happen to me

If anyone ever finds out


= I found out she died

I don't believe she can see me

I'm worried I might go crazy/depressed

if the rest of me/my brain finds out/if I entirely believe she died

--L


I think it's pretty straight-forward. I won't go through the whole song, since I think the same as a lot of people above me. The guy's in love with a girl and can't believe how wonderful she is and compares her to an angel.

The main difference in how I view the song is that it sounds to me like the girl doesn't really care for him. She said "I really love you," true, but anyone can say that. Comparing her to an angel brings to mind images of fairies and mermaids and such. Those types of creatures were usually vain and rather cruel, sometimes causing men to fall in love with them and then running off.

So the girl ran off, and the poor lovesick guy's following her. No matter how loud he calls and sings to her, she doesn't seem to hear him, as if there isn't any air. Angels are supposed to catch you if you fall off a building, so perhaps that's the only way the guy can get his "angel's" attention. ~~ Spock



This song is so sweet.[edit | edit source]

Okay, this song is really sweet. I think it's about a man (or John,) who meets this girl he likes. So, while dating this girl he realizes he loves her and love makes him think that she's literally an angel. The lyric "When you're following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?" is pretty much stating that the man (or John,) would do anything for the girl, or would do anything to be with the girl because he thinks she's an angel. The lyric "Gonna ask for my admission, gonna speak to the man in charge." is possibly referring to him wanting to speak to God and ask him if he can live in Heaven with the girl, or the angel. I dunno, but that makes the most sense to me. A very sweet kind of love song about how much someone can love. --Sparkling_Omelets

I like how you distiguish "a man" from "John" because he is quite clearly an alien and reproduces asexually. -Apollo.
OMG this comment FTW. Yay for refs only like 5 of us will get. <3333 --Self Called Nowhere 00:32, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

You're talking about Sontarans, right?




I took the space program part as the guy's desperate attempt to reach his angel by being launched to the space. Also, it's pretty clear to me the girl loves him back: "These things happen to other people/ They don't happen at all, in fact". And they meeting at a dog show is simply a way to tell they have the same something silly in common.


I really think that it's about a guy who falls in love with a girl. I think that The line that says "how should I react? these things happen to other people, they don't happen at all in fact" means that it's a rare occasion for him, or anyone to meet someone so wonderful. And the line, "When you're following an Angel does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?" probably means, when you're in love with someone so perfect, should you be willing to do anything for her? That's all i really know about the song, I wonder about the rest of the lyrics



It's about Puppy Love[edit | edit source]

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the age of the characters. To me, this song is quite clearly narrated from the point of view of a CHILD, a little kid (NOT an adult) who falls in love for the first time (e.g. Puppy Love). The mood of the song so clearly depends on that -- this is why the song is so delightful.

"I met someone at the dog-show"

Nice stealth pun.

"Everyone was acting normal so I tried to look nonchalant"

A very grade-school thing to do.

"The Shriners loaned us cars"

July4PittShrinerCar600.jpg

"We raced up and down the sidewalk TWENTY-THOUSAND-MILLION-TIMES."

Do grown-ups talk this way? Do grown-ups even race up and down the sidewalk driving their loaned cars?

"These things happen to other people; they don't happen at all, in fact."

He's been growing up thinking that girls have cooties; this is the first time he's suddenly been struck with a crush. It reminds me of the scene in Bambi where the three animals nod and say "Well I'm never going to fall in love", and then fall in love three scenes later, much to their own bewilderment.

BTW, I do agree that the man in charge is probably God, and the narrator is basically saying (the song is really quite straightforward) that he hopes they didn't send such a blessed angel to him by mistake. (This is how kids idealize girls.)

"Space program."

Kids love space programs. Nuff said.






I agree with the majority of these interpretations that this song is about a guy who has fallen deeply in love with a girl whom he thinks he has no chance with. But I'm curious: has anyone else thought that the "dog show" could be a metaphore for life? Think about it: the majority of one's life is filled with different forms of judgement (looks, intellect, wealth, ect.), just like how dog shows involve a group of judges deciding which of the competing dogs is the winner based upon looks, ability to follow commands and so on. I dunno. Just a thought.


It hit me a couple of months ago, and this is how I've listened to the song ever since. I'll keep it short and sweet:

The narrator falls madly in love with a girl. The girl dies. He is now "following an angel". Should he throw his body off a building to join her? The rest, he's questioning why this happened to him. These things happen to other people, wait, they don't happen at all. It's a terribly depressing song in that capacity, which I find very fitting for TMBG. Take it as you may - MSC


While with few religious aspects, I interpret this song to be about a guy who's fairly tentative about love. This girl just falls into his life, and they just fit together ("raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times"). He tries to figure it out, why, why did they send her? He almost feels as if it has to have been a mistake. As for the throwing your body off a building part, I take it to mean giving someone everything. If he's in love with her does he have to give her everything? He gets the feeling she likes him a lot as well, but he's hesitant. I don't know, like I said, not very religious for a song about an angel. It's just my interpretation, try not to take it too seriously.


It's a dream[edit | edit source]

This song has always struck me as a translation of a vivid dream experienced by the composer. Like dreams, it is broken up into (1) bizarre plot points (starts out at a dog show with a girl he doesn’t know acting like she’s his girlfriend; Shriners and cars; calling God and being put on hold; singing in space) and (2) not-necessarily logical reactions (“I tried to look nonchalant”; “why would they send her”; “these things happen to other people”; “I’m worried that something might happen to me”). The thoughts and emotions in the lyrics seem to me the kinds of things are common in dreams.

A few other points about this:

- There’s a class of dreams where one find himself in possession of some sort of treasure that this song captures well; this can be old coins, or love, or friendship with someone famous, or the ability to play a musical instrument

- My favorite line is “these things happen to other people, they don’t happen at all in fact”; I imagine this is what he’s thinking in the dream, reasoning out his situation

- IMO “the space program” from the chorus is heaven; “I think I’m already there” means that he feels like he’s in heaven (because he’s in love)

- IMO the second verse, “Going to ask for my admission..” is about him deciding to go to heaven, to be with the girl, and calling God

- When he gets worried in the second verse, this is a very typical fear/paranoid feeling that is experienced in dreams

71.145.145.99 00:13, 17 February 2013 (EST)


I've always imagined this song was from a dog's point of view. :-) The totality of the infatuation, which a lot of folks mention above, just seems to fit a dog's view of a person better than a person's person-view. Also the "holding my left arm"... 'Shake!' And "raced up and down the sidewalk 20,000 million times..." a total dog-joy. Also, the way dog's at a dog show try to behave seems to fit the social hyper-awareness of the narrator. Super-excited and trying not wag. Last, the beast-man-angel hierarchy getting played with a bit: the trainer at the dog show an angel to the dog: so good! Maybe I just like dogs...


I don't really have any ideas about the song over all but there is something that I always thought about the line "I heard they had a space program when they sing you can't hear there's no air. Sometimes I think I kind of like that sometimes I think I'm already there." I always thought of that line as some sort of statement about stage fright, as in they think that they would like to be singing in space because then they would be able to perform without worrying about what other people thought, and then the next line saying that sometimes they think that no one hears them the way it is, they might as well be singing in space because the audience isn't really hearing them. That's probably not what they intended but it's what I got from it.


I recently realized (or thought, anyways) that the line "When you're following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?" means that the narrator is trying to follow the girl, (who just so happens to be an angel) and he's running on a rooftop, but then she ascends into the sky, and he runs after her but ends up jumping off the building he's on top of. Just my two cents.

- User:FroopLoots