Misheard Lyrics

From This Might Be A Wiki

I've turned off my hearing aid...

Every band produces songs with lyrics that are misheard by their own fanbase, but They Might Be Giants are among a notable, smaller group where their lyrics are often somewhat surreal in the first place so misheard lyrics (also known as mondegreens), can go unnoticed by the listener for a long time.

To check to see if you have been hearing a TMBG song correctly, check the lyrics page for the song in question.

Contents

2082[edit | edit source]

"Action figures unmistakably your own"

Anaheim[edit | edit source]

"All asleep with pizza crumbs on my clothes"

A Ton Of Stuff[edit | edit source]

"Planting a broom!"

Absolutely Bill's Mood[edit | edit source]

This is actually a misreading, rather than a mishearing: until very recently, I could have sworn that the title of this song was "Absolutely Billy's Mood!" Tutt 16:03, 12 Oct 2005 (EDT)MasterChivo

"I've been saying" [instead of "I'm Insane"]
"My room is comfortably small
With rubble on the walls"

After realizing the real lyric, my whole personal interp of the song changed. I get it now.

"Life's just a movie
We're not allowed to see"
"I called school each morning when it occurred to me"

I honestly think this makes more sense than the real lyric. --ZippZapp 23:46, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Am I Awake?[edit | edit source]

"And something else besides my head is growing from my head"

Ana Ng[edit | edit source]

"Eighty dolls yelling small world after all, 
Who was at the DuPont Pavilion, 
Why was the bed still warm, who had been there?

Or the time when the storm tangled up Newark, 
At the horn at the hole at the busty pole, 
Ana's back on the edge of hearing, 
These are the words that the voice was repeating"
"Where the world goes by like the human hair" - [[User:Tgies|]]

Linnell says this line instead of humid air frequently in live performances. Maybe he's balding. -Ed

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That would be so tragic! ~Anna Ng hears your words. 21:54, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
"All along at the '64 World's Fair
Eighty dolls yelling "small girl after all"
Who was at the DuPont Pavillion?
Why was the bench still one who had been there?"
"When I was driving once I saw this planet on a bridge"
"I Don't Want the World, I just want to wear hats"
"To the horn on the pole in the rusty hole"

I kind of thought like, pole and hole rhymed, so I just assumed that's what it was.. --Your Half 03:20, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

"I don't want the world, I just want your hat."
"To the horn in a hole at a busty pole"
"Listen in and hear my words"
"Anna Thang and I are getting old
and we still haven't walked in the glow of each other's majestic parents
Listen Anna hear my words
They're the ones you would think I would say if there was one before you"
"Who was at the pied pavillion?"

I always thought that it was referring to a pavillion with a picture of the Pied Piper or something.

Who was at the DuPont pavilion?  Why was the vegetable one who had been there?
"I don't mock the world, I just want to know how

Another First Kiss[edit | edit source]

"Another furred kiss"

Answer[edit | edit source]

"It may take an ocean of whiskey and time / To wash all of the lint down out of your mind"

Au Contraire[edit | edit source]

"Jodie Foster held two pair, Bobcat three of a kind"
"Jodie Foster held two pair,
Bar cats real kind,
'God!' he said, 'With my full house,
I will blow your mind!'"

Bangs[edit | edit source]

"Below my mind, your royal flyness"

Bastard Wants To Hit Me[edit | edit source]

"And who the crud is he"

I still hear this, no matter how hard I listen or how many times in a row I play that line. Ahhh, my faulty ears.

"He's waving another so he can hit me"
 "Clown in, turn the ignition" and "How long has it come to this pass?" 

Bee Of The Bird Of The Moth[edit | edit source]

"Neither one is equal to the challenge of the frequel called
The bee of the bird of the moth"

It's such a shame. I thought "frequel" (freak + sequel) was ingenious. -pat 11:39, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

"Sani-tangerine colored nuclear submarine"

Become A Robot[edit | edit source]

"Open you door, become a robot"
"Here's hoping you don't, harbour a dentist."

This is the live version that I'm referring to, of course.

The Bells Are Ringing[edit | edit source]

"The bells are bragging: The people ran!"
"A gorrila gotten in her ears"

Birdhouse In Your Soul[edit | edit source]

"Blue canary in the alley by the lightswitch"
"Lukinary in the outlet by the lightswitch"
"Luke and Aaron in the outlet by the lightswitch"
"Blue canary in the attic by the lightswitch"
"Blue canary in the oven by the lightswitch
Blue washes over you"
"Say I'm the only B in your body"
"Say I'm the only B in your butthead"
"Say I'm the only East in your bunny"
"Say I'm the only one bein' your buddy"
"Who can hear you in the oven but the lightswitch?"
"Who can hear me in the alley by the lightswitch..."
"Bluebird of friendliness, like argent angels it's"
"Blue canary in the up ends by the lightswitch"
"Bluebird of friendliness, like guardian angel zits"
"Blue canary in the yellow by the light switch"
"After killing Jason off and countless screaming argument"
"Like the Longine's Symphony, it doesn't rest"
"Like the laundry, it's infinite, it doesn't rest"
"Like art and angels it's always here"
"There's a big chair opposite me of my primitive ancestry"
"Like the Launching Symphonette"
"Fill up busted vigilantly"

My sister was singing:

"Bluebird of feminists"

Boat Of Car[edit | edit source]

"Can you sing bass?"
"Daniel, sing bass"
"Have you seen base?"
"Daniel sang bass"
"Daniel saying 'base'"

Blind[edit | edit source]

"Taking off my shit
I don't need to wear this shit
Shit is for squares"

This was while listing to Clock Radio with the sound turned up real loud!

C Is For Conifers[edit | edit source]

"Large junipers and fir"

[This error went unnoticed on the wiki for sixteen months.]

Canajoharie[edit | edit source]

When the prototype 
Exploded on the lawn, she sighed 
Canada Harry,
Canada Harry
Candidate Harry,
Candidate Harry

Can't Keep Johnny Down[edit | edit source]

Outnumber the millions who walk

Cells[edit | edit source]

"Bug or a sunflower, like David Eisenhower."

As if Eisenhower was a sunflower. But TMBG have done some strange things.

Circular Karate Chop[edit | edit source]

"Never turned a plastic fork in self-defense"

As if Daffy Duck were wielding a plastic fork in his famous routine, Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!

Cloisonné[edit | edit source]

I kept on hearing

My craft is exploding 

as

Minecraft is exploding 

Contrecoup[edit | edit source]

"As if there's no cinnamon"


I completely misheard the word "contrecoup" itself, thinking the refrain instead went:

"God tricked you, on the rebound
God tricked you, hurt me again"


I never really knew what it was (until I looked here). But to me it sounded kinda like:

"And the second was worse my father the first"

Courage The Cowardly Dog[edit | edit source]

"...Wants to destroy our humble nowhere chat"
"Creepy cereal, someone better get the door"

Cyclops Rock[edit | edit source]

"I'm fried, with a tombstone smile, all the children run away from me"

"It was sweet, like lipane [or "lippin'"] is sweet
But the after-effects left me paralyzed
I just stare, with my one-class eye, hoping
You won't be back again."

"Honey, Twist, Monkey, and Fugue
These are the things I taught to you
Hitch-hike, Boogie, Hypocrite Bop
I'm stuck in a vat outside of New York"

[These imply some sort of bad drug experience]

"I'm stuck in a vat of cyber-time pork"
"I told you how to cyclops rock"
"ITCHY BOOBIES, HYPOCRITE ROCK!!"

My reaction to the above mishearing was "HUH?!?!"

 "It was sweet, like living is sweet
But the after-effects left me paralyzed"

Well, it makes sense, in a way.

"It was sweet, like lemonade is sweet"
"Hitchhike, boogie, hypocrite scum"

Makes enough sense.

Damn Good Times[edit | edit source]

"When it comes to opera she is awesome pie"
"When it comes to opera she is awesome bot"
"When it comes to opera she's an ocelot"

Dark And Metric[edit | edit source]

"No magazine bag"

D Is For Drums[edit | edit source]

"D is for drugs!  Yes, D is for drugs!"

Dead[edit | edit source]

"And I won't pay the rent ever anymore"
"I'll never see myself in a manner with my eyes closed"

Destination Moon[edit | edit source]

"Soon the man who sweeps the room
Brings the secret telegram:
'Emancipation interplanetary exploration'"

Doctor Worm[edit | edit source]

 "My friend Rabbi Bull will play the solo"

I always thought the combination of the words rabbi and Bible (Rabbi Bull) was absolutely ingenious and it turns out the combination didn't even exist. Frankly, I like my lyric better than theirs.

"My friend Rabbibo [pronounced rab-bye-boe] will play the solo"
 "When I get intimate 
 I can't tell if you are watching me 
 Twirling the stick"

It seemed casual for TMBG to have a song that involved a worm being intimate with a stick.
"Twirling the stick", huh? Is that what they're calling it now?

Don't Let's Start[edit | edit source]

I always thought that it was

"Who believed for all the world..."


 "Wake up
 Smell the caffeine
 in your bank account"
"Wake up
Smell the caffeine 
In your back cow
Don't try to stop till
It wags the hound"

(Personally, I think "smell the caffeine" fits the Johns better than "smell the cat food", even if it doesn't make as much sense in the context of the song!)

"Wake up
Smell the cat food
in your bag of chow"
"The world destruction
Over and overature
And do I need a part of this
Tedious destruction?"
"Do you world destruction?
Over an overture
And do I neat a pot's trophy
Does he need this stop shot?"
"N, do I need
Apostrophe T, need this duck shot?"
"Everybody dies frustrated inside and that is beautiful"

Amazingly, though I have listened to this song regularly for over 20 years, I did not know until just now that "frustrated inside" were NOT the correct lyrics. Uncanny.

"Don't try to stop until it... wags the hound."
"And don't try to stop until the wax burns out."
"Don't try to stop until the world explodes."


"Wake up
And smell the cat poo
In your bank account"
 "This is the worst part
To believe for all the world
that you're my precious little girl"


"Wake up and smell the cat food in your bag of cow"

I couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be a bag made of cow (i.e., leather) or a bag containing cow (either a whole cow or some beef). Either way I figured said bag would be messed up if cat food got in it, so it didn't seem to make much less sense than their lyrics usually do.

"Wake up and smell the cat food in your bank account

Don't try to stop until the little axe hits the ground"

I like to make my own visuals for every song in my head, each "clip" corresponding to a line. For this one, I imagined a hatchet hitting wood. When I found the real lyrics, I just kept the image.

"D - World Destruction,
Over an overture
N, do I need a box?
TNT, destruction!"

24.250.52.40 16:24, 15 September 2013 (EDT)

E Eats Everything[edit | edit source]

"And D is just as interested in anything you've got"

Everything Is Catching On Fire[edit | edit source]

For about 8 years, until I was 13 or so, I would have sworn on my life that the words were

"Everything is catching gas, everything is catching on fire"

-- 19:23, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Everything Right Is Wrong Again[edit | edit source]

"Tell me that you like my flat top screen"
"Tell me that you like my flow tapestry"
"Every movement falls
Every floor is walls again"
"Every frog has warts again"

I was always vaguely worried about this as it is traditionally the toad (rather than the frog) that is considered to be the bearer/wearer of warts. Now thanks to TMBW I know the true lyric.

Your reason's overcome with greed
Reason overcome, but not before the damage done by you doesn't stop the feeling

The Famous Polka[edit | edit source]

"Her hair is blonde and mine is brown, they both start with a b,
But with the phone inside her it can't drink, it stops for me."
"Her hair is blonde and mine is brown, they both start with a V"

Feign Amnesia[edit | edit source]

"With that crazy god damn thing behind us."
"With that crazy god dancing behind us."

First Kiss[edit | edit source]

"The black man, she's waiting"

Great[edit | edit source]

If you have a hundred Dollars,
I can take you to 
Hundred-Doll Land

Hearing Aid[edit | edit source]

"Frosty the super-highway
lives by himself"
"Frosty the silver lining"
"... for mean lazy folks like myself"

Hell Hotel[edit | edit source]

"Salutations paying customer"

Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal[edit | edit source]

"They saw a modest sun girl geometrically and then they had forgiven themselves"

This always made me thing of think of the girl on the Sun Maid raisins box.

"They said the net reward would justify the Colossum as it made up their lives"

I didn't know what the Colossum was, but it sounded like the Colossus of Rhodes, so I assumed it was something ancient and big.

Hide Away Folk Family[edit | edit source]

"Hide away, faux family"

It's actually "sadly", but because a father is mentioned in an earlier line, it sounds like the background line is "Daaaaaaddy...."

And sadly the cross-eyed bear's 
Been put to sleep behind the stairs (Da-ddy)

Here In Higglytown[edit | edit source]

The first two syllables are actually the character name "Eubie" but it still sounds like:

You'll see Wayne, Twinkle, Kip and Fran 
All hop and pop around

High Five![edit | edit source]

I always thought it was

"Slappy five!"

...which would have been a lot more funny!

Hot Cha[edit | edit source]

"Never came back to tell his wife."
"Bond two books for everybody."

Houston[edit | edit source]

"My radio!"

How Can I Sing Like A Girl?[edit | edit source]

"And all that ear of corn taught me"

I Got My T-Shirt Back[edit | edit source]

"And the bongos"

Meaning he got his T-shirt back and he got his bongos back.

I'm Def[edit | edit source]

"I gotta listen to ya"
"I'm deaf"

Not so much misheard, but misinterpreted. Completely changes the meaning of the song.


I've Got A Match[edit | edit source]

"I've got a match, you're embracin' my collapse."

Pretty much reverses the whole meaning of the song...XD

"Pick up that stupid looking hat, you ass."

If I Wasn't Shy[edit | edit source]

"I'd burn all the unicorns"

I am glad to see I was not the only one who thought this!

I Palindrome I[edit | edit source]

"Man, Oh man!"

(I'm quite sure it does say "Man, Oh man!" it makes more sense than manonam, because it is a word palindrome, and that is what the song focuses on. It also seems to fit the story better.) If anyone says anything to the contrary, they will find themselves exactly as they do now.

Instead of manonam, I thought, and argued relentlessly with my brother, that it was:

"In the middle, in the mid"
"Family"
"Beloved acid washed mascara though, said she, able am I son."

I could have sworn:

"Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age!"

was:

"You gotta be stoned to be nuts about this."

Alternatively:

"You've got to be stupid not to believe."

Istanbul (Not Constantinople)[edit | edit source]

"Now it's Turkish delight on movie night"


"Even Old New York was once New Hampsterdam"

When I was younger I seemed to have repeatedly heard nonexistent H's in song lyrics...

"Even Old New York was once New Hamsterdown"

It's Fun To Steal[edit | edit source]

"It's fun to steal, it's fun to break apart"

It's Kickin' In[edit | edit source]

"Shot to work in the middle of the day
In a fire overshadows of the night
And you wonder why the talk is so bold
When it's boring and the story's so cold, oh!

Panic call to her best friend on the phone
Won't sit down but she just can't sit alone
Hard to justify a pardon grand
To somebody with no potted plants, oh!"

"Going good up until we shot 'em down
Bubble wrapped to the other side of town
In a restaurant with so much class
If we'd stop laughing we could almost pass, oh!"

I like the song better like this.

"Stick it in ya"

I once listened to this song in my car while driving with my mother. She gave me a funny look, and asked if this is what the words were.

"Shots wake in the middle of the day
In a fight over shadows in the night
And you wonder why it took you so old
When it's pouring and the sewer's so old, oh!"

I've also been known to hear it as "When it's pouring in the suicide hole, oh-oh!".

 "Bubble wrapping into the other town" 

I should tell you that I didn't understand any of these lyrics before I saw the lyric page. Let's see a couple more of my antics:

 "In a fight, and he shot us in the night"
"credit card to impress her on the phone"
"the disinfected waitress"
"The dissing spitting waitress" 

You get the idea.

It's Not My Birthday[edit | edit source]

"It's not my birthday, so why do you lie? . . .
Set my hands on down, never-marble be around,
Though I wish you were there,
I was less than you could bear,
And I'm not the only dust-mop underage."

Alternately:

"I am not the only dust mite mother raised."
"It's not my birthday, so why do you laugh, shout at me?"

James K. Polk[edit | edit source]

"Mr. James K. Polk, the boyhood of the stump"
"Young victory, Napoleon of the stump"

I actually heard it as sounding kind of like "vic-oh-ree", but seeing as how I had no idea what the heck THAT would mean, I just figured it was "victory".

He was James L. Poke, the boy who knew all the stuff

Judy Is Your Viet Nam[edit | edit source]

"Back to Fortress Poorly-Drawn"

Leeds[edit | edit source]

 "Muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-MILTANK!"

 "Muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-muh-MILTON!"

 "chu-chu-chu-chu-chu-chu-chu-BUILD-TECH!"

Let Me Tell You About My Operation[edit | edit source]

 "Are the eggs on?

  Oh, it was poison, baby

  Are the eggs on?"

I always thought the "operation" was needed because she poisoned the eggs.

Letterbox[edit | edit source]

"I would have a lot of eyes on the other side, wouldn't I?"

London[edit | edit source]

 "At the store I ate"

Lucky Ball & Chain[edit | edit source]

"I lost my lucky ball and chain
Now she's forty years gone"
"Now I rock a barstool and I drink for two
Just pondering this time I'm in my mind"
"But now I rock a parcel And I drink or two"

Madam, I Challenge You To A Duel[edit | edit source]

"I am a maid of honor"

The above one was heard by my dad

Make It The Same[edit | edit source]

"It was the way you watched my weight!"

Marty Beller Mask[edit | edit source]

"Marty gets the mention"

Meet James Ensor[edit | edit source]

"Belgium's famous waiter"
"He lived with his mother and he hated himself"

Meet The Elements[edit | edit source]

"Painting lead on all these elephants..."

"Hang on, who let in all these elements? Did you know that elements are made of elements?"

It was live, and I was very confused when I heard it.

Or alternatively...

"Did you know that elephants are made of elephants?"

Metal Detector[edit | edit source]

"Don't need no volleyball
Don't need no squacking dove
Don't need to look at any baby candy doll"

(No, I have no idea what that would mean.)

"Don't need to look at any bathing, any doll"
"I'm the inspector open your mind"
"I'm the inspector over the mind"
"Don't need to look at any babe or any doll"
"Metal detector, watch shit shine"

Michigan[edit | edit source]

"Now, robot Michigan"

Microphone[edit | edit source]

"That it's old and it doesn't know it's old and it doesn't know"

Mink Car[edit | edit source]

"She is reaching past my hovercar"

I actually think that in a way, this one makes a little more sense. Sort of. Okay, not really.

My Brother The Ape[edit | edit source]

"My brother the egg!"

...or something like that. It was a live performance.

Narrow Your Eyes[edit | edit source]

"Split up on the things that move our head"

New York City[edit | edit source]

"It's snowing. It's snowing. Gotta hate this weather"

Nightgown Of The Sullen Moon[edit | edit source]

"In the nightgown of the sun and moon"
"There's a feeling of boredom, of the decorum..."

"There's a feeling of boredom, one-two-three-four-dom"

(Here Come the 123s?)

No![edit | edit source]

"All no's need to no no no"

No One Knows My Plan[edit | edit source]

"I think I no one understands"
"In the allegory of the people in the cave by the creek"

Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes[edit | edit source]

"But I don't care if no one's good enough for hair"

Now Is Strange[edit | edit source]

"I liked your hair, why did you change?"
"Have you seen that naughty whore?"

On Earth My Nina[edit | edit source]

"That's the wine of wine... ...that always keeps me earning"

One Dozen Monkeys[edit | edit source]

Thought the monkey's name was Berry.

"Which I named Berry"

and such.

Pictures Of Pandas Painting (Elegant Too Remix)[edit | edit source]

"Pictures of Pandas Mating"
"Pictures of Pandas Mating"
"Pictures of Pandas Mating"
"Pictures of Pandas Mating Again"

It's manifestly easier to mishear this on the remix version, if you haven't heard the original.

Pittsburgh[edit | edit source]

"Mr. Small's Theatre / Park me up with half a freight"

Pretty Fly[edit | edit source]

"She had to relieve children"

Prevenge[edit | edit source]

"Morimoto / On the headfo"

As in the chef.

Purple Toupee[edit | edit source]

"I remember the year I went to camp
Learned about a lady called Salma and Hayek"
"I remember the year I went to camp
Heard about some lady named Salma Handsome Blacks"
"Martin X was mad when they got long bell bottoms"
"Now i'm perfect, im a friggin barbie man"
"Purple toupee in gold and they..."
"Now we're all in rehab on a secret mission..."
"And the only thing that's different is I don't need my hat"
"Purple toupee and gold lime-aid"
"Chinese people were finding something in the park. We tried to help them find it. They appreciated that. Martin was a man, and he wore long bellbottoms"
"Til they stepped on my ear, and they told me was bad. Now currently, I'm a big important man."
"Till they stepped on my hair, and they told me I was 5"
"Purple toupee and gold lamé will turn your grin around"

Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head[edit | edit source]

"Activate somewhere where the worker's son is trying to survive, Gossiping, dunno what he wants, just cruise somebody's head.
"And we'd better think for everyone involved, or you wouldn't have to cry"
"As you take a bath in the beating path that's pounding at your door"
"Shot down at the car wash, didn't have to leave no one a good-bye note..."
"And though the guy's a pig we all know what he wants is just to play somebody else"


"It'd been in the summer when a guy said he's something to put in once"

I don't understand it either.

"Quit it! Nooooowwww!"
"I should probably look down closely at the personal factory..."

"As your body goes down thirsty..."

"As a body flows down third street
The pers'nal [or "first small", or Burmswell] factory closing up"

"Well it's a mighty zombie talkin' up some love 'n' posterity"

"All the bugs on the sidewalk are the
work of someone trying to please the bugs"

"Ads up in the subway 
Worker's summer tryin' to lose their boss
Another guy's opinion of what he wants 
Just to screw somebody else"

"Act up in the summer at the
Work of sunshine to piss you off,
And the guys in pink who don't do what they want
Just to please somebody else"

"Grant - MAAAAA!!! [or "NOOOOWWW!!!"]

Shut down at the carwash
Didn't have to write no one and nob'y I know
They said "The check's in the mail and I'll
See you in church and don'cha ever change"

[Interpreting according to these lyrics I got: A guy's little business shut down, and so his employee was sad, but he remembers the long hours and bad pay or whatever. He goes home, relaxes as he usually does by watching mindless daytime TV ("mighty zombie"). Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the station does a eulogy of the little business, and he realizes if he dwells on that he'll never get another job. So, in a burst of thinking, he decides to start his own business in some innovative way, but he loses his little epiphany when "Days of Our Lives" comes on and all that's left in his mind is the usual way to do business (putting his hand inside the puppet head). To work up some capital he gets a job writing ads but he hates his job and realizes after being fired that he was subconsciously doing bad work to get fired (conflict between his desire for pay and hatred of job). He realizes from this that the typical corporate structure is corrupt and ambition is stupid. Then he gets fired or the business failed ("shut down") at the car wash where he gets his next job. Apparently his vegetative lifestyle and hatred of his only social contact, work, have earned him no real friends: the ones who he might be friends with simply feed him polite nonsense when they see him leave.]

Q U[edit | edit source]

"Make cool sounds together"
"Screw You!"

Rhythm Section Want Ad[edit | edit source]

"There's a place for those who love their poetry
It's just across from the sign that says, Prison Lee"
"So hit me with a band where the chicks here
Say grab you jesus at the wall with the Ramones
If you dig me into, or are NBC a loop to the way we know"
"On NBC with a note to the wayward gnome"
"plenty of time to turn the sticks into rhyme"
"plenty of time to turn the steaks into rhyme"
"So If you'd like a band with chicks here
Say let me dig into the wallet. come on.
Let me dig into the r & b. sing in the note to the way we know."
"You guys must be laughing into the room"
"It's just across from the sign that says, 'Birds are lame.' "
"Rhythm Section wanted."
"Rhythm Section one and"

Road Movie To Berlin[edit | edit source]

"Got this glass suburban" 
"Stake out this last suburban"
"Road moving to Berlin" 

Rocket Ship[edit | edit source]

"...I injured my hair when I fell from the thing..."

Robert Lowell[edit | edit source]

"Two-tone American flags, John is yellow, it's really tan" 

Robot Parade[edit | edit source]

"To build vagina sidewalk!"
(Admittedly, that was from a few rooms away)
Again, this makes the song a lot funnier...

Santa Claus[edit | edit source]

"...a twenty guitar.."

I assumed he was talking about a 20-string guitar. I'm not even sure if those exist.

Santa's Beard[edit | edit source]

"I don't like that that got around"

Santa Cruz[edit | edit source]

Instead of:

"If you close your eyes Darth Vader is Naked"

I heard:

"Close you eyes!! Ralph Nader is Naked!!!"


Totally thought it was:

"Close you eyes, John Boehner's been taken!"

Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love[edit | edit source]

"Sapphire bullets
Bullets up your a..."

[This implied all kinds of interpretations...]

See The Constellation[edit | edit source]

"No sigargle lady on his arm"
"Nosegarnalani on his arm"

I was 15, and obsessed with finding out what a "Nosegarnalani" might be. I imagined some sort of weapon. Oddly enough, it wasn't in the dictionary.

"Stare at the sky, all painted black"
"Just a guy made of dancing lines"
"Just a guy made of dachsund lines"
"Just a guy and a thousand lights"
"Just a guy and a thousand lights"
"Can you hear what's icy in the sky?"
"See the constellation right across the sky"
"Just a guy and a dozen lines

Sensurround[edit | edit source]

"One degree shy of simplistic"

This was one of my favorite TMBG lyrics ever.

"If I could swim under the water
Would I be able to breathe?"

This, on the other hand, I just thought was stupid.

The Shadow Government[edit | edit source]

TMBG references bits of history, so I figured mentioning the Civil War Submarine made perfect sense.

"up the library steps (here comes)
up the library steps (the Hunley)
up the library steps (the Hunley)"

She Was A Hotel Detective[edit | edit source]

"She was a hotel detective, but now she's Vatican NECTed"

Northeast China Transect?

She's An Angel[edit | edit source]

"When they sing you can't hear, there's no earth."
"When you're following an angel, physically you have to throw yourself off of a building.
"So when they're heating up a pinhead, calling you damn angel, calling you the nicest things."

Sketchy Galore[edit | edit source]

"Elizabeth sketchy"

instead of

"Get lifted with Sketchy"

Sleep[edit | edit source]

Going around, drinking all my drinks
Pissing my wife

Sleeping In The Flowers[edit | edit source]

"I proclaim that I want to/two"

Also thought this other line sounded like

"You proclaim a shirt and island"
"I gotta crunch"

Snail Shell[edit | edit source]

"Sir hand
Opposite man"
"Sir hand
Arms and man"
"Or was it something where you acted when you sodomy"
"Or was it something where you acted while you sat on me?"


Instead of

 "Sir hand" 

I distinctly heard

 "Sirhan" 

so I thought the song was going to be (at least in part) about the guy who assassinated Robert Kennedy.

Someone Keeps Moving My Chair[edit | edit source]

"Mr. Horrible, Mr. Horrible.
Tell a phone call for Mr. Horrible."
"You have to try on these pants so the Ugliness Man
Can decide if they're his as a matter of saying,
We think we have to be sure about this"
"Mrs. Horrible, Mrs. Horrible
It's the Ugliness Man, Mr. Horrible."
"Where your visited friend, next to dead, he was killed"
"...so the Ugliness Men
Can decide if you're just as embarassing as the thing."

I still think "the thing" sounds funnier.

"You have to try on this bag so the Ugliness Men can decide if it's just as embarassing as we think."
"Someone keeps moving my hijack"

The very first time I heard the song (when I was like three or something), I though Mr. Horrible was named "Mr. Carnival." Even after I was proven wrong, I still missheard a lot of the lyrics"

"Mr. Horrible, Mrs. Horrible.
It's the ugliest man, Mr. Horrible!
We're being ugly with you if we wrote a reminder of things that we'll get to do today."
"Some one keeps moving my armchair"
"Of things we'll forget to do today; otherwise,
Using a green Magic Marker,
let us all write on the back of your head?" 

Spiraling Shape[edit | edit source]

"And now that you tried it your back to the part"
"Don't spend the rest to hear that funny thing"
"But everyone wants to see that grove within"
"Don't spin in the vestibule of wondering"

Spy[edit | edit source]

"I wish I could break the spyware-set it free.."

Stomp Box[edit | edit source]

"Little Stomp Box, terraform my heart..."

Subliminal[edit | edit source]

"As went through the windshield, I know this sounds lame"
"My name is Otto, I'm in the subliminal hearing aids"

That's what the backwards part at the end sounded like. -The thing

Take Out The Trash[edit | edit source]

"Go when I take out the trash
I come and go when I take out the trash"

Taste The Fame[edit | edit source]

"While it may be reenacting…"

The Day[edit | edit source]

"The day, the modern day that Phil Ochs got married"
"And my planes hummed with fluffy pillows"

The Mesopotamians[edit | edit source]

"So we'll scratch it all down into the pave"
"So we'll scratch it all down into the hay"

I can't resist singing either of these two lyrics for some reason. I usually have to smack myself and say, "It's CLAY not HAY, you idiot!"

"So we'll scratch it all down into the play"

The End Of The Tour[edit | edit source]

"I was bent metal, you were a flaming red"

I like the real lyrics a LOT better...in fact, "I was bent metal, you were a flaming wreck when we kissed at the overpass" is my favorite TMBG quote!

"I was bad, no, you were a flaming wreck"
"Then came a knock on the door, which was audible"

The Statue Got Me High[edit | edit source]

 
"The monument of granite sent a beacon to my eye." 
"A rock that spoke a word  (and animates it there, a road that can be heard)" 
 
<pre>
"They failed before the monolith that towers over me"

(makes so much more sense than "pale")~AgentChronon

Thermostat[edit | edit source]

"I was a love explosion"

They'll Need A Crane[edit | edit source]

"Let's get this obvious: gal's glad this hangs upon the love of life..."
"...but then Scout says to Lad:
Aren't men as bad, they cause a little pain
They cause some pain..."
"...Gal thinks Jim Beam is handsomer than Lad
He is, in fact
Call off the wedding then
Nobody wants to hear that one again
That one again"
"Gal thinks Jim Bean is handsomer than Lamb, he isn't bad"

When I first heard this song, with the exception of "They'll need a crane," I couldn't understand a word of it, only picking out "Scout," which was actually "Gal," and once hearing "Jem." This made me think that the song was somehow about To Kill a Mockingbird.

 "to make it rain, it's gonna take..." "To render art, to help him start..." and I thought Lad was Vlad for the longest time. 
"Gal thinks Jim Fame is handsomer than Lad"
"Where the other night mare people like to go, I mean nice people to pave the way. I didn't mean to say it like that"
"They need Ukraine, they need Ukraine"

Till My Head Falls Off[edit | edit source]

"There were eighty-seven apples in the bottle now there's thirty left"

"Hitting every pocket on my shirt that's an overcoat"

Tiny Doctors[edit | edit source]

"I've never sat since the day..."

Tippecanoe And Tyler Too[edit | edit source]

"And with him we'll beat little men"

My mom heard this when first listening to the song. And look, it makes sense!

"Fantasy used a pen"

Or, occasionally:

"Fantasy, used-up hen"
"And with them, a beat little van, van. A van is a used-up van."

Toddler Hiway[edit | edit source]

"Take your clothes and play"

Town To Town[edit | edit source]

 "Finally moving from town to town / Towns are moving from town to town" 

Triops Has Three Eyes[edit | edit source]

"And vermin have two legs"...


Turn Around[edit | edit source]

"When I felt something happy and p'inted
Strike me in the back of my neck"
"There's a thing there that can't be found"  I always thought it was that... It makes the song more mysterious.

Twisting[edit | edit source]

"She said your boat was free"
"She said you're goldfish-free
And now she's sighing"
"So turn off your smoke machine
and marital status"

Unsupervised, I Hit My Head[edit | edit source]

"I could just cut myself
Write out my will"

This gives the song a much darker tone; the speaker would be mentioning self-harm and then writing out his will, implying future suicide. Because this is so subtle, I imagine it could possibly be intentional ambiguity.

Wearing A Raincoat[edit | edit source]

I heard the "comes at a price" part as

"Comes out of rice"
Haha! Rice! :D

We Live In A Dump[edit | edit source]

"We live in a dump
And it is a dump"


We live in a dump
I meant its a dump

We Want A Rock[edit | edit source]

I always thought it was

 "Throw the crypt door wide" 


 "If I were a carpenter I'd hammer on my piglet eye" 

When Will You Die[edit | edit source]

"And the only way to knit a gate would be to know the date"

Whistling In The Dark[edit | edit source]

"And hit my head on the wall of the jail where the Tuvas live today."
"A worm came up to me and said 'I'd like to bosom your mind'"
"A wolf came up to me and said..." 

Who Put The Alphabet In Alphabetical Order?[edit | edit source]

"Barking makes you tight!
Barking makes you easy peasy
So many took the tripe
So many took the Jason fighting!"

Why Did You Grow A Beard?[edit | edit source]

"Why did you go all weird?"

I kid you not. Listened to a friend's CD in the car, thought that was what he was saying the entire time, until I saw the title of the track.

Why Does The Sun Shine?[edit | edit source]

My 5-year-old son was singing:

"The sun is a mass, it easily detaches..."

Why Must I Be Sad?[edit | edit source]

"Ask me now I understand the words that I must say"
"I spit at the sun"

-I'm fond of this mishearing because I imagine someone spitting at the sun only to have that spit fall back onto their own face, which seems to me like a TMBGish thing to happen (a la 'Can't Keep Johnny Down', shaking one's tiny fist, etc)--Philologia (talk) 02:10, 2 December 2016 (EST)

With The Dark[edit | edit source]

"Smashing, smashing, smashing pieces..."
"Smashes, smashes, smashes she said..."
"Of the phone.."

I'm too young to have ears this faulty!

As am I. I heard the following a lot, uhh, naughtier than the actual lyrics were. Because of mishearing a couple of lines, I heard the next couple ones correctly, but completely misinterpreted them. You'll see what I mean.

"I'm getting tired of all my naughty, cool dreams
I'm getting tired of all my naughty, cool things
Bustin' my pirate hump (!)
Rockin' my pirate stump (!)"

And some that are just weird.

"Mama naturally turns to taxidermy
To taxidermy, yeah"

And more naughty.

"Bash his, crash his, smash his pieces
Bash his, crash his, smash his pieces
Bash his, crash his, smash his pieces"

Withered Hope[edit | edit source]

"...glued it to his arm..."

The World Before Later On[edit | edit source]

"Where's our Towel Day?"

Don't panic.

The World's Address[edit | edit source]

"A sad pun that reflects a sadderness"
"A sackpot that reflects a settlement"
"The World's Address. A place that's warm"
"Call the men of science.
Listen to this song.
Tell them have a nice night
And the evidence was wrong" 

Thinking Machine[edit | edit source]

"Will crab tonsils speak and act?"

XTC Vs. Adam Ant[edit | edit source]

Even the centerfold-- bow wow wow--
can't make up her mind


Beatle-based pop vs. Neuromantic

Yeh Yeh[edit | edit source]

"We'll play a melody and turn the lights down low
So that none can see
We got a tuba"
"We'll play a melody and turn the lights down low
So that no one can see
We gotta duwop! We gotta duwop!"
“We'll play a melody and turn the lights down low
So that you can see!”

Never made any sense to me...XD

You Probably Get That A Lot[edit | edit source]

"Or melting down some army guys to make cream teas"

I am English so this made more sense to me.

You're On Fire[edit | edit source]

"I'm a shoot, you're a web you got one of those red combustible heads. I've read enough to go on about them."
"You bumped-a your head"

Youth Culture Killed My Dog[edit | edit source]

"Orange Sandwich jizzed on my dog"
"I don't understand why she took my dog"
"Back in the day bed, used to write his famous songs"
"Back and I hear it, used to write his favorite songs / No one, no one, nobody wear it! Unintentional fall"

External links[edit | edit source]