Interpretations:Hall Of Heads

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Interpretation 1[edit]

This is a song about a nightmare. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Checkers Piece Face (talkcontribs) 19:39, 12 August 2004

Interpretation 2[edit]

Okay, so this is going to sound really weird, but I could swear that this has something to do with a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. You see, in a city named Sigil, there are three 'factions' who make and enforce the laws: The Harmonium, The Fraternity of Order (Guvners) and The Mercykillers. The three parts of this song perfectly represent them: The first for the harmonium the police and warriors, the second for the Guvners, and the third for the prison run by The Mercykillers, which is (in this song) the hall of heads. It all makes sense, to me anyway. Okay, there's my rant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 2 November 2004

Interpretation 3[edit]

There's actually a pretty good chance that this song is about a satirical story called FROM HAND TO MOUTH, which was published in 1858 by Fitz-James O'Brien. The story is about a magical hotel that can not be escaped. After you stay for a few days, your legs are removed, and although technically all the people in the hotel are torsos, they're still referred to as "heads" in the book, thus the title "Hall of Heads." The fact that the patrons of the hotel have their legs amputated would explain the passages "your feet won't let you run." The reason that "you can't really hide" is that each room and all of the halls in the building have gigantic eyes installed in the walls. This is a little bit more iffy, but the meaning of the lines "you can't really hide, once you hear the call, the song of the hall of heads," could be a reference to the chapter where the protagonist is actually goin to leave before it's too late, but he hears the singing of what he imagines is a beautiful woman in distress. He turns out to be correct, and stays so that he can try to save her, dooming himself. At the end of the book, the entire story is revealed to be a dream. ~ Carc

Interpretation 4[edit]

Could it be about a piggy bank? -Drumstick

Interpretation 5[edit]

I've always thought this was describing torture - someone being tortured by being forced to look at the severed heads of his executed friends. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 2 December 2005

Interpretation 6[edit]

The first time I heard this song I thought of Futurama (anyone who's seen the show will know what I mean). Though now I read the lyrics, that doesn't seem to fit anymore... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 28 December 2005

Interpretation 7[edit]

I have thought about this for a while and decided that it is simply about a museum, a common ordinary museum, but a girl decides to snoop around a bit, somewhere in the museum there is a spider-like claw machine testing various detatched heads by placing them onto what appears to be a headless body straped onto a table.(instrumentals)and deep in the bowels of the museum the girl finds a majastic red doorway with intricate gold swirling designs. She hears someone singing so she looks through the keyhole (you look through the keyhole, duh) and sees a man, but she can only make out his head. Then the door gives way and she falls through (one step through the doorway) and finds herself in a long, long golden majastic hallway, and realizes the person singing is not a full person, but a head on a pedastal in the middle of the hallway, right in front of the door, with a label "special head". The walls are covered in shelves with heads on smaller display stands. A red carped starts rolling from the very end of the hallway, going down each stair and ending right at the special head (roll out that special head) all the heads are singing. Two large headless figures wearing black sports coats walk down the red carpet, they have the build of 2 bodyguards. One lifts the special head, it is still singing. The girl runs, in a dark room one of the heads suggests "hide underneath the porch", she runs and hides under the porch but an old forgotten head shakes the dird off itself as it pokes through the dirt, and tells her that she is not safe and to hide somewhere else (hide down behind the furnace) She runs down to the basement, but the two headless bouncers are close behind, passing the head between them and twisting it on like a top as they chase the girl. The head still sings. She ends up in a room and realizes that there are heads taking up every space she tries to hide in they are shouting "you can't realy hide", the headless figues have cornered the girl, and the figure now carrying the head places it on the others sholders, screws it on, and the figure now wearing it swivels it around on its neck as if it were stretching, then it raises a sythe/axe and, suddenly we see the girls head on the special pedistal (first *BUM*) she opens her eyes with terror (second *BUM!*). and so yea, thats all I got from that. --Diet Poop 09:30, 26 Jan 2006 (EST)


I think the song is about the insidious appeal of the academic or intellectual life -- the so-called "life of the mind". The hall itself might be a major University or something more abstract, like the stable of contributors to The New York Review of Books. --Nehushtan 22:55, 26 Jan 2006 (EST)

For the line "This is our favorite one" I think about the way an aging academic will be celebrated by other academics with a Festschrift. --Nehushtan (talk) 12:13, 26 April 2020 (EDT)

Interpretation 9[edit]

People say this song is about this. They say it's about that. They even say it's about a piggy bank. No. People are missing the point. The song is about a Hall with Heads in it that you can go in but not out. It's just a song made to freak people out (and it does a great job O.o). No deeper meaning. Especially not a piggy bank. Although all the words fit, the overall mood doesn't. It's a scary song, and piggy banks aren't scary. My two cents. ~AgentChronon

Interpretation 10[edit]

The strongest impression I've gotten from the song (besides a Particle Man-esque thought that the song is simply about a place called the Hall of Heads whose caretakers won't let visitors leave) is that the Hall of Heads is a metaphor for the world in terms of society: disembodied human heads, meant to be a horrific sight, represent the sorts of horrors and other unpleasant things humanity's created for itself (murder and other forms of violence, greed and living in self-gratifying opulence, the need to assert oneself as superior, etc.). The Hall is not only representative of the world containing all of these things but the method of presentation -- the heads are always on prominent display, as opposed to something like a movie in a cinema, which isn't always playing. Plus, in a movie, the perspective of the viewer usually changes, so you're not always seeing the same thing. In a place where things are on display, though, there's no way to turn it off. Not to mention, the fact that a lot of these things are often glorified and celebrated ("Roll out the special head / This is our favourite one" is the main lyrical example, in addition to the fact that museums don't usually show off things that they consider bad. A real example would be the way society and media both glorify materialism). Moving from a view of this place through the keyhole to actually standing inside it could be likened to the gradual awakening to these things that we all go through -- the loss of innocence as our field of view opens up. Finally, even though the speaker reminds you many times of how you can't leave, there's one exception -- dying. The same can be said for life -- you're in it until you die, as redundant as that sounds. It's a less than positive view of the world, but it's pretty obvious that whoever's doing the singing isn't a tremendously positive person. You could extend the song, as such, to the words of someone who's so jaded that they consider the world as bad as a constant display of disembodied heads. Makes sense, I think, but it could just as easily be a song written Particle Man-style. Sui 01:20, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I think[edit]

A young boy walks up to a mysterious building, feeling curious. This represents a boy walking to a large building. Then he steps in, which is a huge mistake. This represents moving your feet into a doorway. Then I think the door locks behing him, which represents a door locking behind you. Then I think there are all these sadistic head things that show the "special head" which represents a really freaky bunch of heads. Then he tries to hide/get away, can't, and gets his head chopped off, which represents... okay you get the point. I take this song very literally. ~AgentChronon

Interpretation 12[edit]

Not that the song is about this, per se, but it always reminds me of a big museum hall full of marble busts. The creepy feel also kind of reminds me of those paintings where the eyes seem to be looking at you no matter where you stand.

There also seems to be a bit about horrified fascination, like how, in some situations, no matter how freaked or disturbed you are, you can't stop watching whatever's going on.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 13 October 2006

Interpretation 13[edit]

The song to me is just about like a killers house, where anyone that enters he takes their heads and puts them on display and no matter how hard you try to run or hide becuase your scared of all the heads. No matter what your going to lose your head. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thestatuegotmehigh (talkcontribs) 16:36, 26 February 2007

Interpretation 14[edit]

I always thought this song was based on the movie Return to OZ. There is a lady named Princess Mombi. She has 31 different heads in a hall and all of the heads are able to move and have their own personalities. And some of the heads are not very nice.


Interpretation 15[edit]

Why is it crazy to think it's about a piggy bank, or coins in general? "Hide underneath the porch, hide down behind the furnace" .. isn't that where some loose change might find itself? Can a human being really fit behind a furnace? Roll out that special head...reminds me of coins. I call "heads"! -J

Interpretation 16[edit]

I swear when I heard this they were saying 'Hall of Hats'. I still think that. It's WAY less creepy. Anyway, this is just a song about a hall of heads and looking at the heads and this being their favorite one and such... yeah. I hate interpretations. Too serious. -Salioshy

Princess Langwidere[edit]

The character of Mombi in the movie "Return to Oz" was based on the Princess Langwidere in the book Ozma of Oz, who literally has a hall of heads. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 30 August 2009

  • Yes, this. The movie Return to OZ (which is creepy and wrong in so many ways that every TMBG fan should watch it) is based on the L. Frank Baum books: The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz which are just a few of the early books in the Oz Universe. Princess Mombi and her "Hall of Heads" is a Baum character with a name change and dates from 1904-05. If you haven't read these books, I highly recommend reading the summaries on Wikipedia (look up 'L. Frank Baum' and scroll down to the Bibliography for a nice index.) ChaosS 16:54, 11 September 2013 (EDT)

Anybody remember that movie Return to Oz?[edit]

This isn't necessarily what the song's about but every time I hear it I think of that scene in the movie when the witch princess, Mombi I think, has all those heads in her hall and she can remove and replace her head anytime she wants. It creeped me out when I was a kid but when I heard this song about three years later I thought about that scene and realized that this song could very well be based on that scene. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 29 October 2009

That scene in Return to Oz really freaked me out as a kid, so it was the first thing I thought of when I heard this song.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:53, 30 April 2010
YES. YES YES YES. I am right at this moment explaining to Ant the SHEER UNADULTERATED HORROR OF THAT MOVIE AND THAT SCENE IN PARTICULAR, which of course is always my thought too (and I'm sure of any TMBG fan in my age bracket), and I managed to find this clip, PREPARE TO BE SCARRED FOR LIFE CHILDREN. --Self Called Nowhere 10:51, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah: that!—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:46, 18 December 2011

Interpretation 19[edit]

A guy looks into a building through the keyhole and someone invites him in. He goes in and sees that the building is a hall full of heads on shelves. The person who invited him in tells him not to leave and takes a head off a shelf, saying it's his favorite. The guy tries to run away, but he can't; music playing in the building has hypnotized him. The person who invited him in tells him that he can't leave- he is trapped in the hall of heads. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:07, 21 December 2011

Interpretation 20

This is two songs bolted onto each other. The intro used to be an instrumental that got played on dial a song, they bolted on the break and lyrics after. Neither works. The intro shows the musical short comings and sounds like a practice piece for a student learning guitar. The lyrics are just images lazily spun around the familiar Giant leitmotif of heads. There is a kind of kooky humour to it that you might see in a banana split skit, but it's very tired. A good example of how short of material the band were for Apollo 18. Shouldn't have made the album. (Mr Tuck)

Interpretation 21[edit]

This song is about addiction. "You can't run away, you can't really hide, once you hear the call..." --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 19:18, 30 November 2019 (EST)


I don’t claim to know— and am curious what TMBG say the song is about. I suspect the nightmarish imagery and creepy funhouse Halloween mood may be the point in themselves.

But, I have always associated this song with cryogenics. Like, you know how you can pay to have your body frozen after you die in hopes that someday you’ll be able to be resurrected? I remember reading as a kid that it cost some amount to have your whole body frozen but that it was cheaper to just preserve your head. I always found the image of this terribly creepy. So I figure somewhere there is a big walk in freezer full of cryogenically frozen heads. And since these are the cheap seats after all, likely a bored employee or two who might just play a little Bocce with a head or two off the shelf now and then to pass the time.

Admittedly I really doubt Linnell & Flansburgh had cryogenics in mind when they wrote this. I feel like it probably is just an inherently creepy image a la Return To Oz. But, I think of cryogenics every time I hear it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:26, January 21 2022


Does this person (the one with the heads) decapitate multiple people and stuff the heads in rooms? Where are the headless bodies? What does the killer do after the heads rot? Did he/she embalm the heads so the heads look alive? Did they clean the heads? Where do they decapitate the people? | Tmbgweengarywilson (talk) 10:43, 13 April 2022 (EDT)

Dream Horror Scenario[edit]

Is there any doubt when they "roll out the special head" who their "favorite one" is?

I think there's no doubt, and that's what makes it a scary nightmare.

You walk in, you're interested, they bring in that head, you see whose head it is, and NOW YOU WANT TO ESCAPE BUT CAN'T.

Really clever imagery. Filmmakers who deal in awful dreamscapes deal in that kind of creepy surrealism.