"Black Eye" as written by and Jeffrey Scott Tweedy....
He had a black eye
He was proud of
Like some of his friends
It made him feel somewhere outside
Of everything and everywhere he'd been

Like his brothers
He emptied himself
And played it safe
Like their father
He wanted to remember
But he almost always
Forgot what he was gonna say

Black eye
Black eye

When he realized
That this one was here to stay
He took down
All the mirrors in the hallway
And thought only of his younger face

Black eye
Black eye

Lyrics submitted by myeyesareopen

"Black Eye" as written by Jeffrey Scott Tweedy Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Black Eye song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. I'm not 100% sure what the lyrics mean, I get the vibe I think as like a rural towns suck vibe. Isn't this the most gorgeous song you ever heard though?
    BorrowedTuneon September 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree completely -this song is incredible, one of my favorite all time songs. It's just hauntingly simple & brutally honest.
    tripperfreekon December 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song too. I've always assumed the black eye is a metaphor for enduring the pains of life. When he was a young man, he took pride in his black eye (and studied his reflection in the mirror), presumably acquired in a macho-teenage brawl. But when he got older, life gave him a more permanent black ring around the eyes (maybe disease related to coal-mining, which half of Uncle Tupelo's songs seem to relate to? or just alcholism/depression/hard labor?). "When he realized/That this one was here to stay/He took down/All the mirrors in the hallway/And thought only of his younger face." I guess to me this is a sad commentary on how the painful initiations of youth, that once were a point of pride, come to mean something all together different when adversity piles up and becomes monotonous and hopeless in the setting so familiar to Tweedy and Farrar, a midwestern community burdened down by hard labor and poverty.
    mkilbyon February 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with mkilby to some extent, but I believe that the "black eye" is more of a symbolic meaning. I think the persons "black eye" is more his reputation. He prided himself in being somebody who everbody knew when he was younger and everybody knew him, but maybe not in an entirely good way. Then, he got older and more mature and everybody still remembers him for who he was when he was younger, even though he has changed, and he can't and doesn't want it to be like that. Kind of like if you have a brother or a parent who is notorious, and everybody assumes you to be the same way even though you are completely different. Just my take on things.
    FallSemester_on March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentonce when i was 18 i got piss drunk and went to a club where i was stumbling into ppl and finally someone got mad enough to knock me a nice black eye. this feeds into mkilby's adolescent machoism theory, we call it beer muscle round here.
    perhaps there is an implied theme of alcoholism here? seems like uncle tupelo's shoe. it wud explain the speaker, like his father not being able to recall events and thusly being at a loss for words.
    im only 22 but im starting to see my face change, i think its from drinking and smoking.. in a few decades ill proly wana take down my mirrors too.
    iyrnon August 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFallSemester's take on the song most closely resembles how the song makes me feel. I'm not really sure if the black eye is a metaphor for reputation though... maybe its more of an event that happened where the consequences stuck with him the rest of his life.
    dagleon April 12, 2012   Link

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