After that confrontation
You left me wringing my cold hands
We shared some information
We might not recover from
And I watch your convictions
Melt like ice cubes in an ocean
You were so poorly cast as a malcontent

You've got them all on your side
That just makes more for doubt to slaughter
"I never knew he thought that!"
I heard you say falling out of the van
"Don't ask for his opinion
They ought to drown him in holy water!"
Will you remember my reply
When your high horse dies?

We'd like to go the distance
But not a one of us it gonna
You see nobody is wise enough
To turn this ancient boat around
These are the muddy waters
I'm swimming in to make a living
That I might drown in them
Should come as no surprise

You want them all on your side
That just makes more for doubt to slaughter
"I never knew he thought that!"
I heard you say falling out of the van
"Don't ask for his opinion
They ought to drown him in holy water!"
Will you remember my reply
When your high horse dies?

You've got them all on your side
That just leaves more for doubt to slaughter
"I never knew he thought that!"
I heard you say falling out of the van
"Don't ask for his opinion
They ought to drown him in holy water!"
Will you remember my reply?
One finger parallel to the sky...


Lyrics submitted by doobeydoobeydude

Mine's Not A High Horse song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentRegarding the last two lines of the song, he is pointing his finger back at her--not giving her the finger. The sky is horizontal, and his finger is parallel to the sky...so he's pointing at something. If he was giving her the finger the last line would be "one finger perpendicular to the sky." :)
    EnidCaulfieldon June 14, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree that the song is clearly about a split between former friends. It is possible that the break-up in question is between between songwriter/bandleader James Mercer and their original bass player, Neal Langford.

    > falling out of the van
    The Shins original touring vehicle was a van.

    > they ought to drown him in holy water
    Neal Langford went to a Catholic high school.

    > These are the muddy waters / I'm swimming to make a living
    > That I might drown in them should come as no surprise
    James and Neal were friends before they were band mates, and the professional realities of operating a successful band necessitated a difficult decision. Here, James recognizes that the business aspect of the music business isn't pretty, and that the decision for Neal to leave could cost them their friendship even if it doesn't result in success for the band.
    Vogelfrei23on August 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, the parallel finger means he's pointing. Something accusatory, possibly.

    I think the song has something of a "I told you so" superior sense to it. There's numerous references to the person the song is directed at having some strongly held conviction (maybe religious) and then losing it, and the singer then feeling smug ("will you remember my reply when your high horse dies?")

    My favourite line is at the beginning of the chorus (these lyrics have it slightly wrong): "You've got them all on your side / that just makes more for doubt to slaughter", i.e. I don't care that lots of people agree with you, that just means more people to eventually be proven wrong (slaughtered by doubt).
    sam99fosteron May 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, there's a lot of soggy, cold imagery here. Ice cubes, water, swimming and drowning. There's a lot of religous type things to be wondered about...
    But most importantly, it seems he got in an argument (possibly with a girl) and that this girl's got the 'gang of friends' -all on her side, and everyone is against him on whatever the argument was about...
    But the religious stuff? the ancient boat = Noah's arc? and is he the religious one, or her?
    So much to answer for
    Personally, I think he's against the religious right, and he's criticizing her and her high horse
    GeeMoon April 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the last two lines of the song:
    "will you remember my reply?
    one finger parallel to the sky"

    It sums up the entire song perfectly.
    EnidCaulfieldon October 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWe shared some information
    We might not recover from
    Will I watch your convictions
    Melt like ice cubes in an ocean?
    --i like that part. i'm agreeing, this song must be about an argument with his girlfriend and everyones against him. i think someone cheated
    bermudababe273on November 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see this as a rebuttal to having been spurned by a sanctimonious former-loved-one (and her entire circle) after an unrecoverable altercation, one which he was never even given the chance to defend himself or his position against. Here he's pointing out that she herself isn't the picture of perfect morality, "Will I watch your convictions melt like ice cubes in an ocean? You were so poorly cast as a malcontent..." and further acknowledges that having ended up in show bizness, he was bound to be surrounded by temptation that would inevitably prove too powerful to resist. The ancient boat is the Ark-like vehicle intended to spare the righteous from the flooding of the sinners, but doesn't necessarily insulate the passengers from the evils right outside. Even if they had been able to foresee trouble, they wouldn't have been able to prevent it as long as 'swimming in the muddy waters' was the nature of his breadwinning. The bottom line is that she knew what she was getting into when she got involved with him, and therefore is in no position to condemn him to the extent that she did. Clearly she enjoyed the benefits of his rising stardom, and could have been more understanding in the face of hardships.
    bugout429on January 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think this is necessarily based on religion...but it is about someone who just acts better then him, and has many people backing [her] up. She talks very confidently and also talks a lot of crap.
    attackofthehearton February 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou left out my favorite line!
    "Will you remember my reply
    One finger parallel to the sky?"

    This song can be interpreted in so many ways, but one of my favorite parts of the song is,
    "We'd like to go the distance
    But not a one of us it going to
    You see no one is wise enough to turn this ancient boat around"
    -To me this is talking about being in a rut, doing things the same stupid way we've always done them but yet no one is smart enough to stop the chain of bad actions and habits. The pattern will continue because that is human nature.
    evapor8edon March 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"We'd like to go the distance
    But not a one of us it going to
    You see no one is wise enough to turn this ancient boat around"
    Yes it's discussing how no one is going to be the bigger person and end the feud. That's how I see it.
    attackofthehearton March 25, 2005   Link

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