Interpretations:Fibber Island

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Flans understands that kids love of fantasy, fibs and fantasy. Great lyrics and a brilliant melody. A stand out track that works for both child and adult. (Mr Tuck)

The song is obviously about imagination, and imagining your own little strange world in your head..

"to get to fibber island you just close your eyes start fibbing in your mind and see what you can find"


This song reminds me of "The Big Rock Candy Mountain", only even... stranger. Someone on Amazon.com pointed out that it seems more like a spoof of off-the-wall kids' songs than an actual kids' song. I tend to agree. [Random]

Of course, how can you tell a really effective spoof from an extreme example? I think this is somewhat about small children's habit of lying forthrightly and ridiculously. --HearingAid


Speculative but the following line seems like a reference to the "Hidden Picture" games featured in the magazine "Highlights for Children." Mittens were a common hidden item, and peoples' hair was a common place for items to be hidden.

"Here on Fibber Island, we hide mittens in our hair; you might need to stare to see the mittens in our hair"




TMBG seem to want to introduce to children the notion that imagination and lying are both intimately related things. 'Fiction is just beautiful lies,' as the saying goes. Though the Johns make no pretense of being overtly didactic in their children's fare, this song could be seen as instructing children on a constructive outlet for their predilection to 'fib': create a rich imaginary world.


It's a fun song yay. It has no deeper meaning, I doubt it's a spoof, it's absolutely hilarious though. I really like the above interp though. ~AgentChronon


I'll claim that "Fibber Island" is a tribute to the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Strawberry Fields".

Lyrically both FI and LSD describe an imagination-driven alternate universe where everyday things are made from other everyday things. The timing of the lyrics feels similar. SF also takes the listener to a different place, but in a much more vague and dreamy way.

Compare:

LSD: "Picture yourself in a boat on a river"
SF: "Living is easy with eyes closed"
FI: "To get to fibber island, You just close your eyes"

SF: "Nothing is real"
FI: "Start fibbing in your mind"

LSD: "Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies"
FI: "Here on Fibber Island, Our house is made of pie"

FI and LSD both start with a similar arpegiated E chord variant, and they both start on the same E note.

FI features the patented Beatles fake ending, where the song fades out as if to end, then fades back in in an alternate form, then fades out for real. Besides SF, you can also hear it in the Beatles "Hello Goodbye", "Savoy Truffle", and a few others. King Crimson did this too, with "Court of the Crimson King", "21 Century Schizoid Man", "The Devil's Triangle", "Lizard", etc. Other than that, the technique is rarely used.

The FI second ending sounds an awful lot like the SF second ending, and includes SF style Mellotron flute samples (SF is famous for being one of the first songs to feature a Mellotron). And at the very end of FI they're even playing something really close to the dee-dee-diddle-deedle-deedle-dee SF ending theme. ("I burried Paul. dee-dee-diddle-deedle-deedle-dee.")

For the line "Here on Fibber Island, We swim on the ground", Flans' voice is pitch shifted down and like Lennon entering at the famous SF edit point. (SF was constructed from two different recording sessions, at two different tempos and two different keys. George Martin was able to splice them together by speeding up one tape and slowing down the other. At the edit point Lennon's voice is pitched lower than expected sounds a little druggy.)

LSD was inspired by a drawing from Lennon's son Julian, aged about 4 at the time, and that's the target age for the "No!" album. (Well, one of the target ages anyway.) John Linnell's son Henry was probably around age 3 when FI was recorded.

 -- Don Tillman