Interpretations:Twisting

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Obviously she wants to see him slowly twisting in the wind on noose. Hung. Killed.


Just something interesting I noticed... Both Scott McCaughey from Young Fresh Fellows and Peter Holsapple from the dB's have played with R.E.M. Just a coincidence? Probably... Bryn


In an episode of Family Guy, Lois says she has come to see Peter "twist in the wind" Reference? Probobly not. Neat? Yes- Drworm818


A great song about feminism. Flans sings about the modern woman not being impressed by the unreconstructed man. Incredibly right on and new manish (see the DVD tale of two johns for more) this anthem to respecting the empowered female was recently used to help sell pizzas. Sell out? (Mr Tuck)


TimMierz's Interpretation: The cruelest breakup song.
Twisting is one of the cruelest breakup songs I've heard. She'll be happy once he's hanged from a tree somewhere, flushes his fish, burns his property. Not a happy end to this relationship!


What? I didn't even realise any of that! --ThirdAnonymous


For those who don't know, a Marshall stack is a very high quality suite of guitar amp equipment. Marshall is regarded by many as the Rolls Royce of amplifiers. A "stack" in this context refers to separate pieces of equipment. Many amplifiers are integrated into speaker cabinets and these are known as "combos". When the amplifier and speaker(s) are separate components, the components are stacked up with the amp on top.

A smoke machine is a pretty common thing bands use when performing on stage, because it produces a nice vissual effect with the stage lighting.

I agree completely with TimMierz above. Additionally, I believe the lines about the nice stack and smoke machine are a metaphor. Turn off your amp and your special effects -- she ain't listening to you and she ain't lookin' at you any more. Of course, it could very well be literal, and the guy this woman wants to see dead is in fact a member of a band that uses a smoke machine and can afford Marshall stacks.


"she blew out your pilot light and made a wish."
that is quite nasty


What does the pilot light line mean?


When the pilot light of a furnace blows out, the gas permeates the house and can make the inhabitant(s) suffocate and die.

Or, in the case of the unnamed protagonist from Fight Club, fill your apartment with the gas until the compressor in your refrigerator turns on and ignites the gas... Kaboom. --Thaddius 14:38, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I can't believe nobody's mentioned that the tempo of this song is an actual Twist. As in "let's do The Twist, like we did last summer." Anyway, this is a song about a woman getting retaliation on a man who's mistreated her and then dumped her. She wants to see him suffer. The real genius in the song is the pun in the title. -Firelily


Magnet Magazine interviewed many musicians about their favourite power pop songs, and Flans revealed his pick to be "Amplifier" by the dB's (1982). His description of the song has many parallels with "Twisting": "It's the story of a break-up where the girlfriend takes absolutely everything out of their apartment except the dude's amplifier, which of course is a pretty useless object on its own. The detail of the lyric really pulls the song into the real world and makes the heartbreak even more tangible." "Twisting" similarly mentions taking items back after a breakup, Marshall amplifiers and dB's records, so it seems plausible that this song was heavily influenced by "Amplifier". I've also long believed that the line "she's not your satellite" references XTC's song "Another Satellite" (1986).


Whenever I hear "Blew out your pilot light / and made a wish" I always think of some guy's girlfriend using the gas from the pilot light to burn down/blow up his house out of revenge (her "Wish" if you will). I don't see it as a mistreated girlfriend getting revenge, but a bitch of a girlfriend getting the last laugh after she gets dumped.

By the way, are the "Young Fresh Fellas" a band? or is it "Young, Fresh Fella's tape"? as in, his tape.

The Young Fresh Fellows are indeed a band. 82.33.77.141 12:27, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)


I agree with all of the above, and incase you didn't already mention it when John say "slowly twistin in the wind" it means he is hanging from a rope.-drworm 818


I'd just like to say this: My sister has a little toy keyboard that I occasionally mess around with. I found an organ-type sound, and started playing the intro to this song. My mother said that I was playing 'Twisting by the Pool'. This confused me, so I did a little research, and I found a few other songs by that name. Does anyone have any versions of these for download so we could confirm if there is a connection? -- j2

It's a pretty typical intro from a "twist"-style song from the '50s/'60s.
Note that j2 is John Linnell
Au Contraire.

I think this song is about an incredibly cruel, vindictive, and most importantly, fickle woman. The subject is "twisting in the wind" because the girl is toying with him. It contrasts these horrible things that she wants to do to the subject, but contrasts it with wanting to rekindle the relation.

She set your goldfish free and now she's sighing

She killed your fish, but she regrets it.

The best example is there's not a lot of things that she'll take back followed immediately by she wants to see you again x2 Bacon warrior 01:09, 28 Feb 2006 (CST)


One of TMBG's darkest songs, in my opinion. My personal interpuitation is that the boyfriend is already dead, hanging from a tree. The woman is unable to live without him, so she blows out the pilot light, filling the room with gas, killing herself. The fun, bubbly sound of the music is a great counter-responce to the darkness of the lyrics. [jkazoo]


I don't think it's a dark song, and I don't think the girl is particularly evil or regrets anything.

She's breaking up with the person, and doing some mean things to make it clear it's over, but the real impact comes from the clever way the lyrics are arranged and sung. Several times the lyrics are ambiguous, possibly even hopeful, in one line, only to be clarified in a funny and cruel way in the next. "She's sighing" sounds like she's sad, but she's really blowing out his pilot light. "She doesn't have to have [dBs records, YFF tape] back" could be interpreted as "no hard feelings", but then it's made clear she won't take anything back, including things she may have said. But the real clincher is of course in the chorus, when we twice hear, reassuringly, that "she wants to see you again", only to be told next that she wants to see you slowly twisting in the wind. Kind of like the playground taunt "You're pretty... (pause) ...stupid." Jerome 23:36, 6 August 2006 (UTC)


I agree with Jerome. I also think it may be a "response" song. The line about the smoke machine and amplifier makes me think that this is a reply to a song on the theme of "My girl left me, I don't understand why and I hope she comes back", which basically says "Dude, it's over. Accept it."


I always thought this was a song about a guy dating a sociopath, I always felt that the part about her sighing was just her being bored. --Sarcasmagasm 08:40, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


Doesn't 'Brave New World' end with the protagonist twisting in the wind? It might be irrelevant.


Adding to the response song / Jerome ideas above: The smoke machine / marshall stack lines always framed the song for me. This was written in 1990 or likely before, probably during the age of 'hair metal', in which excessive Marshall stacks and smoke machines were used to enhance musicians' egos and show that they were big 'rock stars' (see Spinal Tap). I always thought the song was something of a glib/mocking response to metal power ballads e.g. Poison's "Every Rose ...", and to that end, perhaps the guy/dumpee in the song was really kind of a clingy annoyance, who needed to lighten up / deserved his fate (being dumped).


I'm feeling much the same as Jkazoo: She wants to see you again - She wants to kill herself so she can supposedly "see" you again

This entire song is pretty much about death. Disturbingly morbid, but also completely made out of whack by the bouncy Twist rythm and meter. Chilling, my friends. Chilling.


The vengeful girlfriend interpretation seems accurate to me. The lines "She's not your satellite / She doesn't miss you" seem to me to be a double-entendre: It could be interpreted simply as "Her life doesn't revolve around you / She doesn't wish she was with you again". However, the thing about satellites is that they orbit around something, and all orbiting really is is endlessly falling toward something and missing (not hitting). She is not his satellite, she isn't orbitting him; she is going to get him quite accurately. --The Almighty Doer of Stuff 04:41, 2 January 2008 (UTC)


On one side it's the dance craze that's sweeping the nation! On the other hand there's a girl who wants her ex dead! --Dunklekuh81


This could also be a song about a guy who's failing to get the clue that his ex-girlfriend is no longer interested in him, despite all the exceedingly unsubtle signs. She wants to see you again . . . yeah, swinging from a tree. -- Catbus


I could be totally off base but I when I first heard this song I interpreted the pilot light line as meaning that she causally destroyed a small but core part of his spirit/heart leaving him unable to feel strongly about anything else.




I think this song is related to 'I'll Sink Manhattan'. In that song, a really bad breakup happens, and the man wants to get revenge by sinking Manhattan and killing his ex. This song is about the girl, and how she wants to kill the guy by having him get sucked into a tornado or some other powerful body of wind. She found a way to make one of these bodies of wind and plans to release it on the man, just like how the man found a way to sink Manhattan. So they are both trying to kill each other through implausible means.


I get that it has to do with a passive-agressive girlfriend that wants nothing to do with her boyfriend (and never directly tells him), but she's not trying to kill him. She doesn't need to. The guy knows she flushed/set free his fish and blew out his pilot light, and yet he still tries to impress her by being or pretending to be a rock star (judging by the smoke machine and Marshall stack). Something like that is no small attempt at winning over a girl, so he's probably been at this for a while. If so, he must be exhausted - so much that when he tries to stand up in windy weather, he twists like a piece of paper or a plastic bag.

Linnell sounds like the person that gives his hopelessly lovestruck friend a reality check, going over his recent history and adding that the girl likes to see him suffer for her. (You gotta love the backhanded wording of that advice: "She wants to see you again...slowly twisting in the wind.")

Consider this: if he's as strong as paper in an everyday wind, imagine what would happen to him in the rain. --Parodyknight 12:01, 29 June 2012 (EDT)



I always saw this song as a metaphor for those relationships that never seem to end. We've all met this couple: they're together, they're broken up, they're together, they're broken up, repeat ad nauseum.

The couple keeps having this huge blowout breakup that involves the giving back or destroyal of property, and the guy gives up on her, only to discover she wants to see him again, they get back together, and the cycle continues.

This girl doesn't really like this guy (she destroys his stuff, is trying to kill him ("blew out your pilot light and made a wish") and has even said so "she's not your satellite, she doesn't miss you" but for some reason, she keeps going back to him.

The guy, on the other hand, is really an idiot for taking her back just so she can screw him over some more. But he likes her, to the point of glorifying her (the "smoke machine and Marshall's stack" reference implies he's making songs about her) so he takes her back, and she breaks his heart over and over. "Twisting in the wind" indeed.

Worst part is, through all of it they're learning NOTHING. "There's not a lot of things that she'll take back" indicates she's said and done things she's never going to apologize for, so each time they start the relationship again, the problems from the last relationship bleed into the next.


Another Satellite?[edit]

"She's not your satellite" always reminds me of the song "Another Satellite" by XTC, which is another harsh break-up song. They Might Be Giants have covered XTC before, maybe they were making a reference/tribute/parody. 70.131.115.14 19:29, 6 April 2013 (EDT)


A Beautiful Crook[edit]

She made your life miserable, You two broke up, She doesn't want her stuff back, Her world doesn't revolve around you (satellite), She wants to see you again (dead?).

pretty straightfoward == I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this pun, but "She doesn't have to have her dB record back now, but there's not a lot of things that she'll take back." I'm almost positive this is a pun. On the literal hand, she is not letting him return her stuff. On a different hand, she does not take back her statements. I think that constitutes a pun.