How It Is

Background and Commentary

There are days, no matter who you are or how well your life is going, that you’re a little down. It’s an existential “trap” that even the best of us are subject to once in a while. Maybe the weather even has something to do with it. Some cloudy days are more than just a weather event; they’re a reflection of how we get down in the dumps. On these days, we’re suspended between how it is and how it ought to be. It’s just a part of the human condition. But, importantly, it’s just a moment in a person’s life. Eventually, we’ll move on, and things will go well, and they’ll also go bad, but they’ll move on, up and down. Then, at some point, we’ll once again be suspended between how it is and how it ought to be.

Musically, the piece oscillates between two extremes: a verse of power riffs that recall the Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash and then a soft chorus underpinned by acoustic guitar. Unlike the lyrics, which are all about suspension between two extremes, musically there is no mid-point. Rather, the verse expresses the unsettled feeling of being existentially untethered. The chorus expresses our resignation that only time will heal this wound. But it’s not just resignation; it’s resignation tinged with hope, an acknowledgement by us that we won’t always feel untethered like this.

The line “foot upon the stair, shoulder to the wheel” comes from a line in a Thomas Wolfe piece.

Lyrics

Here’s a little trap
That sometimes catches everyone
When today’s as far as we can see
Faith in bright tomorrows
Giving way to resignation
That’s how it is
How it’s going to be

It’s such a cloudy day
Seems we’ll never see the sun
Or feel the day has possibilities
Frozen in the moment…
The lack of imagination
Between how it is and how it ought to be

Here’s a little trap
That sometimes trips up everyone
When we tire of our own company
Sometimes we’re the last to see beyond the day’s frustrations
That’s how it is
How it’s going to be

It’s such a cloudy day
Seems we’ll never see the sun
I feel the day is all uncertainty
Burning in the moment
Trapped by the desperation
Between how it is and how it ought to be

Foot upon the stair
Shoulder to the wheel
You can’t tell yourself not to care
You can’t tell yourself how to feel
That’s how it is
Another cloudy day

Tablature

By Wally_91

From Ultimate Guitar.

Play around these chords Bm7;D;Em7;A

For the bridge part alternate D with Dsus2

Intro/chorus

E||–2——2-2—|-2—–2————-|
B||–3——3–2–|-3——2—–3-3–3-|
G||–2—2–2—–|-2p0—————3-|
D||–2h4-2–4—–|—–0——2-2-2–3-|
A||—————|————2-2-2—-|
E||—————|———————|

Verse riff
———————————————————||
———————————————————||
———————————————————||
-5-0-2-5–5—55555–0-2-33-3p2p0————————–||
———————————————————||
———————————————————||

From Ultimate Guitar.

Tutorials

“How It Is” bass cover

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~ by rvkeeper on February 16, 2011.

 
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