People sink your boat
When you cut a tragic figure
They drink their lemonade
And throw you a line

Boil your problem down
To yes or no, what's the matter?
They bomb your promenade
And this makes it shine

So you must play the comic
If they want one
And describe their moment
When they're in one

People pass you by
Passing up the chance to know you
They're irregular
In the usual way

You should crack a smile
Once in a while, it makes you pretty
It makes you want to give them
A piece of your mind

But they can't be people
Not if I'm one
If I have to be like them
I'd rather be no one

Couldn't make the scene
Not with all the people looking
All these connoisseurs
On guard all the time

Rather spend the day
Blank as hell by the window
Looking out of my
Stained glass eyes

La la la la la la la la la . . .

Lyrics submitted by lost_in_twlight

Stained Glass Eyes song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentso underappreciated, this song is fantastic and rather self-explanatory. Man I miss Elliott.
    markwetton May 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbut they can't be people
    not if I'm one
    if i have to be like them
    i'd rather be no one

    too good. really.
    mtolskyon January 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI can hear so much of John Lennon in ES's songs. This one is no exception. It's recently become one of my favorites. I don't know if there's any other versions, but the one I have is very stripped down, which I think fits the song perfectly. I used to listen to ES all the time when he was alive, and now that he's gone it's almost too painful. When I was feeling my most sad and low I would listen to him and he would absorb all of my pain. I lost a close friend when he died, and a large part of my life, and I didn't not know him personally at all, that's a powerful artist(person).
    loaferon March 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyou should crack a smile
    once in a while, it makes you pretty.

    i love that line. and the whole song is just beautiful this is one of my favorie elliott songs. he was so amazing.
    xomissmiseryon October 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBrilliant. I don't have much to say about this one, but I love it so much. What lyrics.
    Puts that whole feeling into a little phrase: "stained glass eyes."
    HighwayDanceron December 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBeautiful song, interesting the line 'You should crack a smile
    Once in a while, it makes you pretty', the word pretty is used in I think the same context in the basement song Pretty (Ugly Before), pretty -looking all good on the outside, having it all together rather than the standard pretty girl meaning of pretty
    xtheuniverseon February 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentone of Elliott's most beautiful.
    lost_in_twlighton April 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti highly agree!
    RomanCandleon April 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthe was so brilliant.
    elleonon January 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI could be wrong about this but it seems like this could be about working on "Miss Misery" and songs for the Goodwill Hunting soundtrack. The people drinking their lemonade and passing "you" by would be producers or other people who live high up on the film-making hierarchy.
    Often the role of a film composer is to augment the meaning of the film-maker, not to interpret the film in your own way (depending on the film-maker). So, he found that he had to "describe the moment" of the film.
    Not being able to make the scene might refer to the way that Elliott saw himself. He always said he didn't see himself being "up there." Also, during the making of this film, Elliott was in company with Danny Elfman (one of the biggest film composers today). Looking at Elfman, he probably felt a bit intimidated. I imagine that the "scene" could be the film industry, or simply fame? Either/Or. :)

    Here's where my own interpretation comes in. When I read the "They can't be people" verse, I read people as "artists." I take this verse to mean that all of the producers and various people who had an indirect input in the film were budding in on his work more than he liked. Or at least that they were not artists. After all if they ARE artists, then an "artist" is not what he wanted to be. Staring blankly out the window is better than what they are doing.
    Also, stained glass eyes has the obvious implications of being glazed over, but beautifully. I think that staring out a window through stained glass eyes implies that the beautiful ideas would remain inside his mind, rather than being released through his art.

    What do you all think?
    Jahanon February 22, 2009   Link

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