Recursion

From This Might Be A Wiki

Songs which contain an element of recursion, self-recurring or somewhat loopy lyrics.

Central theme[edit | edit source]

  • Figure Eight
  • Hate The Villanelle - The narrator complains about how hard and restrictive it is to write a villanelle, while the song itself is a villanelle.
  • The House At The Top Of The Tree - The chips travel a recursive path, similar to "This Is the House That Jack Built".
  • I Am A Human Head - The narrator devolves from a human head into a single hair and then evolves back into a human head.
  • I Can't Hide From My Mind
  • I Palindrome I - The narrator grows old and his children treat him how he treated his mother.
  • Mrs. Train
  • Nanobots - "In a van stacked up on other vans / Driving on a tidal wave where they / Grow the nanobots up" - The nanobots eventually grow themselves up, which would presumably lead to more nanobots growing themselves up.
  • 9 Secret Steps - Most of the verses involve recursion (i.e., "Throw away the thing that tells you / Not to throw the thing away", "Amputate the thought that says / You shouldn't ever amputate a thought"); in the bridge, Step 5 is so secretive only the dead know it, so it essentially will always remain a secret.
  • One Everything
  • Pictures Of Pandas Painting - About pictures of pandas that are painting pictures of pandas that are painting pictures of pandas that are painting pictures of penguins that are proudly parading past penguins that are proudly parading past penguins that are proudly parading past.
  • Reprehensible - The narrator's life follows a recursive, relentless cycle
  • Sleep - The narrator laments being replaced in the first verse, but is glad he is replacing someone else in second.
  • Tucson
  • Wearing A Raincoat
  • Weep Day
  • West Virginia
  • Which Describes How You're Feeling
  • Withered Hope - Sad Sack is in love with Withered Hope, who's in love with her alleged "soul mate / living in a city in another state", who's in love with "a beautiful crook", who's in love with "the brand new motorbike", who's in love with Sad Sack.
  • Women & Men - A figurative stream of people pouring off a ship becomes a literal ocean carrying ships full of people.

Briefly mentioned[edit | edit source]

  • A Self Called Nowhere - "Standing in my yard / Where they tore down the garage / To make room for the torn-down garage"
  • Am I Awake? - "Is it that time again? / Wasn't it already then? / So does it have to be / The time it was again"
  • Ana Ng - "And it sticks like a broken record / everything sticks like a broken record / everything sticks until it goes away": both auditory and lyrical recursion.
  • Birdhouse In Your Soul - "And while you're at it / Keep the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul"
  • Cells - "Cells make copies of themselves / and they make copies of themselves / and they make copies of themselves / and they make copies of themselves"
  • Charlottesville - "Gonna pack my rucksack in my backpack [...] Gonna pack my backpack in my rucksack"
  • Damn Good Times - A girl with amnesia is unable to remember seeing a show about someone with amnesia.
  • Dead - Reincarnation is a somewhat recursive affair.
  • Definition Of Good - "Thing that's stored in a larger version of itself", "Arm that stretches around the world and taps your arm"
  • Destination Moon - "You think, 'That's what you think: That's what they all say' "
  • E Eats Everything - E is consumed at the end of this song.
  • The End Of The Tour - The lines with "That it's old and it's totally over now" and "This was the vehicle, these were the people" are very loopy.
  • Indian Ocean - "No box without a box inside / No box without a box inside"
  • Lost My Mind - "I am both the bag and the boxing glove / So I'll apply this wet transfer tattoo showing / A finger pointing at the other one that says I"
  • Miniature Sidewalk Whirlwind - An event that happens to one victim after another, "ever and always"
  • My Evil Twin - "He's even got a twin like me"
  • No! - "If they say no it means a thousand times no": so, when you say "no", it's like saying a thousand "no"s. And each of all of those "no"s mean a thousand more "no"s. And each of all of those "no"s mean a thousand more "no"s.
  • Or So I Have Read - "...a self-consuming timepiece / Called the chronophage"
  • Piece Of Dirt - "I find myself haunted by a spooky man named Me"
  • The Statue Got Me High - "And what they found was just a statue standing where the statue got me high"
  • Subliminal - The last canon part ("Stare into the subliminal, for as long as you can") becomes hypnotic in the sense that every section of the sentence can be heard at the same time, the whole time, once all the voices have joined in.
  • T-Shirt - Squirrels in their tree wear T-shirts with a picture of themselves in their tree on them.
  • Thermostat - "As I was just saying, 'As I was just saying: As I was just saying...'"
  • Thinking Machine - "The word for 'word' is 'word'"
  • Till My Head Falls Off - "Clearing my throat, and gripping the lectern I smile and face my audience / Clearing his throat and smiling with his hands on the bathroom sink"
  • Village Gate Concert Promo - JL: "Tell me John, what I think you've been thinking is more interesting." JF: "You mean what's been going through my mind while I've been on Frank O'Toole's show."
  • Where Your Eyes Don't Go - "Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders what the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of"

See also[edit | edit source]