Road Movie To Berlin

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Road Movie to Berlin
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Flood, Flood + Apollo 18
year 1990
first played June 23, 1988 (72 known performances)
run time 2:22
sung by John Flansburgh


This song was actually written back when the Berlin Wall seemed like something that would actually never go down. It's weird. It's really a dated—I feel like it's actually sort of a topical—like, you know, pulling out my anti-Vietnam song. You know, it was written at a time when it was just obvious that the Berlin Wall was gonna be there forever. So, it's kind of strangely dated.
  • Flansburgh later stated in an interview with Rolling Stone:
    This song was designed to feel like a fragment of some bar room song just starting up again and again. Even though the verses resolve, there is a little bit of tension that is left hanging each go around, and that hopefully is a bit more unsettling with each verse. My voice is slowed down, which is kind of creepy.
  • The liner notes for Flood included an additional verse not featured on the album, but often performed live during the song. Flansburgh: "There were a bunch of alternate lyrics written, but it didn't seem like the song should be that long" ( Q&A). Flansburgh later said in Rolling Stone that the verse was "inadvertently left out." The extra verse's lyrics:

You said you were the King of Liars
And I believed you and called you sire
But I realize now that I have been deceived

  • "If memory serves, a combination of a Sammy Davis Jr. blast and a stock Casio FZ1 brass sound." -Flansburgh on the source of the orchestra hit sound in the instrumental section (via Twitter)
  • The chord progression of the song uses every note of the chromatic scale.
  • Covered by Frank Black on the the TMBG tribute album Hello Radio: The Songs Of They Might Be Giants.

Song Themes

Cities, Death, Drinking, Drinking Glasses, German, Kingdom Of Loathing Reference, Movies, Problems with Liner Notes, Religion, Supernatural, Swing Feel, Time, Transportation


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Road Movie To Berlin is currently ranked #488 out of 908. (105 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.11)