Song Spotlight: ‘Lazy Eye’ by Silversun Pickups


I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience, but there have been a few songs I’ve listened to where, at first, I didn’t pay much attention. I didn’t hate it; I may have even quite liked it, but the second it stopped it completely left my mind. Then, later on, I think about that song again, play it and realize how much I actually love it. 

This particular band and song aren’t particularly well known, which makes sense given their independent status. Even so, they quickly became one of my favorites to listen to whenever I feel like going into a specific mood. If I’m driving at night or just laying in bed, this song, and much of the band’s discography, are my ideal listen. When it hits my ears, I almost feel like I’m drifting off somewhere else and it puts me in a relaxed state of mind. 

This particular band is Silversun Pickups, and the song is “Lazy Eye.”

Silversun Pickups were formed in 2000 in Los Angeles. It consists of guitarist/singer Brian Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, drummer Christopher Guanlao and keyboardist Joe Lester. A mixture of alt-rock, dream pop and shoegaze defines the band’s music. The latter two genres are defined by loud, distorted guitars and vocals, and extensive use of effects pedals. This sound is prominent on their debut album Carnavas, released in 2006. 

“Lazy Eye” is the third single off Carnavas, and one of the band’s most successful songs. It reached No. 5 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. It has also been featured on a variety of video games and movie soundtracks. 

This song is another on the long list of those I first heard on Guitar Hero –; more specifically, Guitar Hero: World Tour. When I first played the song, I remember liking it, but never paying that much attention. After all, I was much more focused on hitting 100% of the notes. When I suddenly remembered “Lazy Eye” and decided to give it another listen, it’s been a favorite of mine ever since. 

The song is a slow, easy build that goes on for almost 6 minutes. It starts with a catchy, ear wormy guitar riff courtesy of Aubert, which continues throughout the song with a few variations and solos. The steady groove is kept by Guanlao’s tight drumming and the subdued bass of Monninger. Aubert’s unique, high-pitched vocals take center stage during the song’s verses. While it is relatively slow throughout the majority of its runtime, it suddenly explodes halfway through, following a fuzz-fueled solo. The last section of the song is an ambient, shoegaze noise fest. Fluttery, distorted guitar, Lester’s sweltering keyboards and Guanlao’s intense drum work are heard loud and clear. Everything slows down for the last minute, with Aubert ending with the same lyrics he sang at the beginning: “I’ve been waiting for this moment.”

Through its cryptic lyrics, “Lazy Eye” is meant to be a tale of unsure love. The singer is obviously in love with someone but is unsure how to approach them or even if it’s the right moment. Ultimately by the end, he finds the courage to approach the person of his desire, and the song ends on a more positive note. However, this is just one idea of what the song is about. The lyrics are so digestible and open to interpretation that there could be hundreds of ideas of what “Lazy Eye” is meant to represent. 

No matter what you think the song is about, “Lazy Eye,” in my opinion, is an indie rock classic. It is the perfect blend of ambient, noisy musical genius and a catchy, fun melody. The song is a perfect showcase of Silversun Pickups’ style of Indie rock. I hope many are inspired to listen to the rest of the Pickups’ discography, much like I was.