Third Eye Blind – “How’s It Going to Be” Lyrics Meaning

Photo of author
Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“How’s It Going to Be” by Third Eye Blind is a brutally honest look at the emotional turmoil that comes with the end of a relationship. It asks the burning questions we often ponder but can’t always articulate: What happens when the love fades and you become strangers again? The songwriter, Stephen Jenkins, captures the essence of that impending separation and loss, blending melancholy with a yearning for understanding. He paints a picture of the void that appears when someone significant turns into “someone you used to know.”

Curious to discover the raw emotional undertones of a song that has touched so many hearts? Read on to unveil the poetic intricacies hidden in “How’s It Going to Be” by Third Eye Blind.

“How’s It Going to Be” Lyrics Meaning

Right from the start, the lyrics “I’m only pretty sure that I can’t take anymore” set the tone for the song. This line signifies not just emotional exhaustion but a real questioning of the relationship’s worth. Then comes the line “Before you take a swing, I wonder what are we fightin’ for,” hinting that the emotional labor of keeping up with a crumbling relationship may not be worth it anymore. It’s as if the combativeness has lost its purpose, or maybe it never had one to begin with.

“I want to get out of this, I wonder is there anything I’m going to miss” reflects a state of emotional confusion. On one hand, the protagonist wants to escape the pain, but there’s this gnawing fear of missing out on something good. It’s a conflicting set of emotions that many experience but find hard to put into words.

The song’s repeating chorus, “How’s it going to be when you don’t know me,” is the centerpiece. It’s a haunting refrain that delves into the idea of mutual strangers—a condition worse than enemies. When you were once close, how do you adjust to being just another face in the crowd?

Lines like “Where we used to laugh, there’s a shouting match, sharp as a thumbnail scratch” bring out the contrast between then and now. What used to be a shared space for joy is now a battleground.

Towards the end, the song dives into oblivion, as if acknowledging that this end may also be a form of escape—escape from a relationship that has turned toxic, from a connection that has turned into a curse.

The Story Behind “How’s It Going to Be”

When Stephen Jenkins penned this song, he navigated the complex maze of human emotions accompanying a breakup. It was an artistic expression born from personal experience, a cathartic endeavor that resonated with audiences far and wide. The song captures the raw vulnerabilities that most are too afraid to confront, let alone share.

Jenkins doesn’t shy away from exposing the messiness of love lost. The feelings of uncertainty, regret, and even resentment are captured in, not just the lyrics, but the song’s instrumental structure. The music creates an ambiance that mirrors the emotional disarray one often feels during these trying times.

At the time he was writing, Jenkins was also observing the relationships around him fall apart, not just his own. This allowed him to add layers to the song, making it universal and not just a product of personal grief. The song has stood the test of time because it wasn’t just a snapshot of a moment but a timeless examination of the complexities of love and loss.