Girl inform me all my senses warn me
Your clever eyes could easily disguise
Some backwards purpose
It's enough to make me nervous.
Do you harbor sighs, or spit in my eye

But your lips when we speak
Are the valleys and peaks of a mountain range on fire.
So let me walk these coals till you believe
I can cut the mustard well enough
cause you know as soon as breathe we scrutinize

Unknown quotients, you must be using potions
How else could you tie my head to the sky
This new confection has left me wondering why
I can't concern myself with ordinary tripe.

Like what's this morning's paper got to say
And which brand of coffee today
This is no umbrella to take into the wind
But before we begin is there nothing to kill this anxiety.

But your lips when we speak
Are the valleys and peaks of a mountain range on fire.
So let me walk these coals till you believe
I can cut the mustard well enough
Cause you know as soon as breathe we scrutinize
The paint away.


Lyrics submitted by rudegirl, edited by nikpeta31, pinkredrabbits

Girl Inform Me song meanings
Add your thoughts

56 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentAlright. So I just kind of skimmed what everyone else commented, but it looks like I might possibly perhaps be the only person who thinks that this song is not just about a guy who's more than hesitant to make a move with the girl he's falling for.

    He's not just hesitant because of possible past heartbreak or because she's too beautiful. I think she's also incredibly smart. He not only feels lifted onto another plane when he talks to her, he wants to prove he's already on a level with her.
    First, he's hesitant that she's deep enough to hold covert intentions:

    Your clever eyes could easily disguise
    Some backwards purpose

    I think that the following holds the most evidence of this theory:

    unknown quotients, you must be using potions
    how else could you tie my head to the sky
    this new convection has left no wondering why
    i can't concern myself with ordinary tripe.

    like what's this morning's paper got to say
    and which brand of coffee to make
    this is no umbrella to take into the wind
    and before we begin is there nothing to kill this anxiety.

    Not only is the diction here suggestive of an intellectual or academic, even pedantic or pompous, conversation (terms like "unknown quotients," "convection," "ordinary tripe") but these verses seem to express a certain revelation. This new contact has made it obvious why he doesn't bother with "ordinary tripe." Tripe, as a slang term, often means worthless speech or writing. So what I'm deriving from this is, now that he's connected with this girl whose speech is evocative of a "mountain range on fire," he wants more than boring, useless talk. He wants to get into things, "Like what's this morning's paper got to say."
    He wants her to know he's on a level with her. After associating their speech with an emblazoned mountain range, he asks her to let him walk these hot coals to prove he can "cut the mustard." He's capable of intense conversations. And he concedes that "we scrutinize" so readily. Someone can immediately be deemed inadequate in her intelligent eyes.

    And of course he's stricken with anxiety to avoid such negative scrutiny. And too much of this will wear "the paint away," making the prospect of their getting together a complete let down. And he realizes this is not just any girl he can take to the wind with (with the umbrella thing). There are gates to pass to be approved of. If he falls all over himself to show his affection, she may not see him worthy.

    Finally, I think aside from the lyrics, the music itself in this song has a kind of uppity tone to it. It's not as carefree or saccharine as a song would sound if it were just about a guy gushing over a girl he thinks is beautiful.

    Anyway, that's just my input. Hopefully at least one other person sees this. D:
    whorlon June 13, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my favorite song by the shins.
    this is amazing.
    he's just describing a beautiful girl.

    it's so sweet & amazing & ahhhh.
    i fucking love them so much.

    halesterron October 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthere lyrics are amazing. impossible to understand but amazing.but i think what zooey said seems right though.
    *music*lover*on December 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is the easiest Shins song to understand -- the signer's infatuated with a girl but nervous that she's just leading him on.
    zooeyon May 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReally? I think the meaning is pretty straightforward, but I agree that the way the Shins write lyrics is amazing.
    zooeyon June 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with zooey, the shins aren't that criptic if you interpret all the words the right way.
    i'm only confused about the cutting the mustard lyric.......
    androidon July 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere are many Shins song that leave me perplexed, but this is not one of them. I'll jump on the bandwagon and say that I think Zooey has it nailed. It's about meeting a girl and then suddenly everything revolves around her. Only you're not with her, and can only guess if her eyes are telling you to approach or if her eyes are like that for everyone. About the cutting the mustard ... I've heard that phrase used for passing gas ... errr farting ... back in the day. And it kinda makes sense - the act of farting in front of another is a sign of comfort and acceptance in a relationship. It's the magical moment when you realize that no ones perfect depsite attempts to the contrary early in a relationship.
    tubesockson August 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBut for the record, "to cut the mustard" can also mean "to make the cut", "to pass muster". I think Tubesocks' explanation works pretty well in conjunction with the part about scrutinizing breath, though. I didn't think of that. Neat.
    theyearlingson August 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, this song's about infatuation, a crush, wanting someone to just give you a chance. The "'cause you know as soon as breath we scrutinize" line however I don't believe is about actually scrutinizing breath, especially since he adds "the paint away" the second time. I think he means we, as humans scrutinize as as much as we breathe. It's natural for us to judge people. Scrutinize the paint away, the superficial masks we put over ourselves. I really like this song... a lot.
    n00ton May 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"unknown quotients, you must be using potions
    how else could you tie my head to the sky "
    mmm the best
    Belotte Driveon April 30, 2004   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain