Album: Narrow Stairs (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • Frontman Ben Gibbard discussed this track with VH1 News: "I wanted to create this character that's going through the motions, not really sure of why they're necessarily doing it because it's just the thing that they have to do at this point and it's expected that they're going to be doing this. It's not necessarily a story about any particular person in my life; it's as much an amalgam of a lot of different elements of how we move forward with our lives and what's expected of us and how we transition into those places."
  • This takes inspiration from the classic novel Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Bronte. "Cath" is Catherine Earnshaw, who marries Edgar, a "well-intentioned" man of prominent social status despite being in love with the lower-class ruffian Heathcliff. The music video, directed by Autumn de Wilde, is set during the wedding ceremony, with Beth Riesgraf playing Cath, the bride, and Lukas Haas playing the unwanted guest, Heathcliff.
  • This peaked at #10 on the Modern Rock chart.
  • This was used in the MTV reality series The Hills in the 2008 episode "Boys Make Girls Cry."

Comments: 3

  • Ian from Ragama, Sri Lanka (ceylon)Even the video to this one shows a girl in an alter waiting for the groom..
  • Alex from Pompton Plains, Njthis is my favorite song on narrow stairs. ben's lyrics on this one really hit home especially the line, "and your heart what dying fast and you didn't know what to do" brilliant. this is a truly amazing song.
  • Loren from Duluth, MnWhen I heard this song it made me think of a woman who hurried thru her love life because she thought if she got much older it would be to late. Especially with the lyrics:

    "Cath, it seems that you live in someone else's dream
    In a hand-me-down wedding dress
    Where the things that could have been all repressed
    But you said your vows, and you closed the door
    On so many men who would have loved you more"
see more comments

Editor's Picks

JJ Burnel of The Stranglers

JJ Burnel of The StranglersSongwriter Interviews

JJ talks about The Stranglers' signature sound - keyboard and bass - which isn't your typical strain of punk rock.

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.

90s Music Quiz 1

90s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

First question: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson appeared in videos for what artist?

Little Richard

Little RichardFact or Fiction

Was Long Tall Sally a cross-dresser? Did he really set his piano on fire? See if you know the real stories about one of rock's greatest innovators.

Jeff Trott

Jeff TrottSongwriter Interviews

Sheryl Crow's longtime songwriting partner/guitarist Jeff Trott reveals the stories behind many of the singer's hits, and what its like to be a producer for Leighton Meester and Max Gomez.

Tanita Tikaram

Tanita TikaramSongwriter Interviews

When she released her first album in 1988, Tanita became a UK singing sensation at age 19. She talks about her darkly sensual voice and quirky songwriting style.