Gun-Shy by Grizzly Bear Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Emotional Tapestry

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Grizzly Bear's Gun-Shy at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


The sky keeps staring at me
Frozen in my tracks (Nothing else to see)
And when I move my face left
You’re always standing there (A shadow I can’t see)
And even then I can’t trace
You’re walking away

I put my ears to the ground
Always pushing down (Nothing I can hear)
I found the worst half in me
We’re cut off at the knees (Can’t even take a stand)
Against your words and beliefs
We didn’t wanna freeze

(All of the years, leaving me here Gun-shy)
I don’t want to say it all again (the pain, losing my aim)
Never seem to see (And why?)
Do I always feel it all the same
The blisters in my eyes (Recite)
A guide that has only led me stray
And even as I limp (you smile)

The cold keeps tearing at me
Slowing down my blood,(Unable to speak)
I left my mind long ago
Choosing some false (Always letting go)
And when I try to face you
You’re walking away

(All of the years, leaving me here Gun-shy)
I don’t want to say it all again (the pain, losing my aim)
Never seem to see
(And why?) Do I always feel it all the same
The blisters in my eyes
(Recite) A guide that has only led me stray
And even as I limp (you smile)

Full Lyrics

Grizzly Bear’s ‘Gun-Shy,’ a track from their critically acclaimed album ‘Shields,’ presents a labyrinth of emotional textures that implore a deep dive into the psyche’s vulnerability. The song lyrically toys with themes of introspection, paralysis in the face of personal change, and the struggle for self-awareness within the wilderness of one’s mind.

It unfolds with an almost eerie tranquility, layering harmonics over meticulously crafted soundscapes. The song does not just demand attention; it commands a sensory expedition into the significant silences between the lines, the space where the echos of personal introspection resonate the loudest.

The Mirror of the Mind: A Closer Look at Self-Reflection

The opening lines of ‘Gun-Shy’ immediately immerse us in a scene of stasis and introspection. The sky, an omnipresent force, becomes an entity that ‘keeps staring’ at the narrator, symbolizing a universe that watches, demands answers, or simply reflects the narrator’s own gaze back, forcing upon them the weight of self-examination.

As the song progresses, Grizzly Bear cleverly uses the forces of nature — the ground, the cold — as metaphors for the internal struggle and resistance to change. It’s in the friction against these forces that the narrator’s existential angst is meticulously unpacked.

The Anatomy of Paralysis: When Progress Means Standing Still

Grizzly Bear’s vivid imagery of being ‘Frozen in my tracks’ and ‘cut off at the knees’ speaks to a universal sensation of being immobilized by fear or indecision. The song delves into the state of being gun-shy: the reluctance to act because previous experiences have taught us that the fallout is often painful or disappointing.

The track’s enveloping warmth belies its lyrical desolation, creating a stunning contrast. The melody becomes the sweet painkiller for the sharp sting of the lyrics, allowing the listener to wade through the immobilization and feel the chill of the ‘cold tearing at me’ as if it were their own.

Straying from the Guide: The Hidden Meaning Revealed

‘A guide that has only led me stray,’ sings Grizzly Bear, plunging deeper into the heart of disillusionment. These lines hint at a profound betrayal: perhaps of one’s intuition, traditional wisdom, or even an external advisor. The song suggests a loss of trust in the structures and senses we rely on to navigate life’s trials.

The motif of straying indicates a journey where deviation from expected paths becomes inevitable. The narrative here isn’t just personal but echoes a wider human condition, where reliance on flawed guides is an innate part of our growth, one that leads us through necessary detours and experiential wisdom.

Echoes Untouched by Sound: Embracing the Silence

‘I put my ears to the ground / Nothing I can hear’ — the absence of a discernible voice or direction is piercingly brought forth through these lines. Grizzly Bear underscores the irony of a silence that speaks volumes, a quietude that is loud with the clamor of unmade choices and unused voices.

In ‘Gun-Shy,’ silence becomes a character, a deafening presence that taunts the narrator with its potential to be filled yet remains a void. This metaphor extends to an intimate portrayal of the fear of speaking up or out, as well as the reluctance to listen to the self within the quiet.

Between the Lines: Grizzly Bear’s Most Memorable Lyrical Moments

‘All of the years, leaving me here Gun-shy,’ the song’s almost-confessional refrain, reiterates the temporal aspect of this affliction. It is not the instantaneous recoil from fear, but rather an accumulated response shaped by the years of navigating life’s arduous topography.

Furthermore, the captivating repetition of ‘And why?’ throughout the track bleeds into the existential, transforming a simple question into a complex cry for understanding. These memorable lines reflect a core desire for clarity and a yearning to unravel the internal mechanisms that lead us to repeat our cycles of hesitance and pain.

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