Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guided Tour of Binaural: Of The Girl

by stip

Of The Girl

Of the Girl undeniably creates an interesting atmosphere, smokey and seductive, full of mystery and dark, forbidding promises. But at the same time the atmosphere never really goes anywhere. The song spends its time sitting at the bar, fantasizing about the girl at the other end, but never makes it move. The swells in the song during the chorus reinforce this—they sound like they’re pushing something away, instead of drawing it closer. Mike’s leads and fills underneath the rest of the song give it an air of frustrated indecision (especially during the outro, where you can hear him arguing with himself)—someone making the same mistake over and over because they don’t know how to do anything else.

The lyrics in this song are simple, fairly understated, and not particularly memorable, but the sentiment fits the music well, as does Eddie’s lack of commitment (there’s not the resignation of Riot Act here, instead we find someone so familiar with a scene that’s played out for them so many times before that it’s hard to get excited about it. Of the Girl doesn’t tell a story. There are no details here (other than the quarter to four lyric, and I have no real sense of what that’s referring to or signifying). Instead, like so much of Binaural, it’s a warning or a cautionary tale. It’s the story of someone looking for love, looking for meaningful human connections with other people, but because he doesn’t love (or cannot forgive) himself he can’t bridge that gap between himself and the other people. He knows what he needs but every time he gets close to finding it he sabotages himself. He’s trapped in that pattern and can’t figure out how to escape it. There’s no grand conclusion here. The music doesn’t quite fade out as much as it peters out somewhat inconclusively. There’s no need to resolve itself because this is all going to have to play itself out again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that—as long as the subject can’t overcome himself and the barriers he places in his way he’s going to be stuck in this loop forever, this enervating and perpetual now . A number of the songs on Binaural aspire to make grand and sweeping statements, but that’s not Of the girl. It’s just another lonely moment on a lonely record.

1 comment:

  1. I am curious, interpretation of Of The Girl sounds like stip was thinking the lyricist of this song is Eddie Vedder. It is actually Stone Gossard....Maybe I'm wrong but it sounded like he was comparing Eddie's lack of commitment to Riot Act.