Talk:What Is Everyone Staring At?

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The Big Question[edit]

WHY is it unreleased? What makes "Sleepwalkers" better? Anybody know anything about it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deathgecko (talkcontribs) 03:00, October 6, 2007

That's one of the universe's greatest mysteries :\ --༺𝄞𝄆Ⓠⓤⓔⓛ⎈Ⓓⓞⓜⓜⓐⓖⓔ𝄇༻ 00:42, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I've occasionally wondered what possessed John Linnell to look at this song and think, "Here's this old Dial-a-Song tune we've never released. This will make a great kids song. Just get rid of the description of people jealously staring, add a peppier keyboard part to make it a bit more playful..." I mean, WHAAAA? It's akin to the Four Of Two (Demo), which is infinitely darker than the No! version. I like all the various versions of these songs, but TMBG has always had material about the darker sides of life; why these particular versions of the songs have remained unreleased in favor of the kiddie-fied scrambles is truly befuddling. --MisterMe 13:22, 10 September 2012 (EDT)

Mr Tuck weighs in[edit]

A wonderful example of how a simple change of lyrics and tone can transform a piece of music. This is the Giants version of Child of Nature to Jealous Guy by John Lennon, and as with Lennon's song, I prefer the rewrite, so well done Linnell, Sleepwalker is great! (Mr Tuck) 14:47, June 17, 2015

Yeah, I too think "Sleepwalkers" is definitely an improvement. This song is a little lackadaisical (I believe the term you prefer is "plodding"), and the concept doesn't seem fully developed. I mean, so people are staring at you, what's the big deal? If the narrator had something usual about him, like let's say a fang, then it might be understandable. Anyway, the version for No! might initially seem like a letdown, since it's about such a vastly different and kid-friendly topic, but it's subversive in a way that only begins to dawn on you long after you've heard it. Well done, indeed. --MisterMe (talk) 11:04, 2 April 2020 (EDT)
I would argue that the reality that there is, in fact, nothing out of the ordinary about the song's narrator to make him worth staring at, and it's all his own paranoid self-consciousness brought on by the anxiety of being in love, is the entire point of the song. I think it has some similar energy to "Man, It's So Loud in Here" that way, or a whole lot of other songs of his about intense projection and general weird brain stuff, actually. --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 18:33, 2 April 2020 (EDT)
I like both songs, but What Is Everyone Staring At hits me harder... maybe because it's about a more painful topic. If on the surface Sleepwalkers is a charming children's fantasy, it could also be a dark statement about the herd instinct & how most people go through life unconsciously. Fair enough for punk rock, but Staring is about a failing relationship and "my failure of a life". Also, I imagine each sonic element of the song as an analogue to the man's state of mind. It starts with a lilting harpsichord as he claims all is well. But the music ratchets up as his repeated questions turn demanding. The melody's pitch rises like an enraged voice as the beat becomes a war drum, until the key change pushes the song into a psychotic space. There it gets 'stuck' - as if he's having an episode. Then the sudden musical shift "back to normal" illustrates how unaware he was of his disproportionate rage. So yeah, I gotta put Staring over Sleepwalkers. --Nehushtan (talk) 09:41, 31 May 2020 (EDT)