Song Analysis

That Guy

Tuesday 16 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

“That Guy” is sung from the point of view of a woman whose relationship with her husband is crumbling down as he seems to be deeply depressed and experience some difficulties (“That guy/swears he can walk/and carries a chip as big as New York”). The song then appears as the other side of “Maybe California,” where a mother is on the verge of commiting suicide because she can’t hold her family together when her husband loses his job because of the economic crises.

The following comment Tori made about “Maybe California” gives a perfect insight on “That Guy” as well:

“’Maybe California’ comes out of that kind of crisis, when the husband comes home after being fired ... and then what happens in the bedroom? It’s over. And it’s often the women who are keeping their jobs, because they are cheaper - and a lot of the higher paid men are losing their jobs to inexperienced 20 year olds. They leave saying what do I do, what have I become? And so how do you remake the world after that? Talk about divide and conquer of a people! This is how the system works, this is its destructiveness; and I think the record investigates this. ” [1]

In the song, the relationship of the couple and their intimacy is compromised, but the narrator is unsure whether it can be mended or not as she wonders “will we make up/will we break up/will I wake up with that guy” but she can’t answer this question as it all depends on her husband now. She can’t give him self-confidence or ease his pain, so he’ll have to face and chase his own demons in the end.

[1Music, May 2009.