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Sometimes in spite of my best interests, I won't feel ready to sleep, practically insistent I squeeze just a bit more joy out of my day before turning in for the night, intent to steal time from the next day to carry out my selfish plans. Why couldn't I leave that next chapter for the next day? I had no idea, but now I'm beginning to think Linnell might be onto something with this scrap of sci-fi absurdity. Screw tomorrow man. Yesterday man too. ~ magbatz 15:26, 8 March 2013 (EST)


One of the great Linnell Giants' songs. A brilliant surreal tangent on the everyday. Gorgeously brief, you have to keep playing it again.

(Mr Tuck)

Since posting my inital interepretation I can only add that this is the best Linnell tune on the album (You're on Fire - I can only apologise). Small and perfect like a pearl. This replacement of self would make it a good tune to play in a Dr Who Episode (the protagonist sometimes "regenerates" and although remains the same person is physically and emotionally quite different). In Giant's terms it's a bit of a prequel to Till my Head falls off. Another song where perception is questioned. However that song is a more realistic prose on early stage dementia, this is more surreal take on sleep. Works well as a short poem. (Mr Tuck)

This and your other "interpretations" are more like reviews, and I suggest the be moved to "discussions." -- CJSF (talk) 09:51, 6 May 2013 (EDT)

Kids replacing adults again.[edit]

I think Linnell has a bit of a theme running on this album. To me Nanobots, Replicant and Sleep all sound as if they are dwelling on the same idea of children replacing their parents.

Each time the adult goes to sleep he feels as though he is being replaced in the world by his offspring. Thinking about how they eat and drink the things in his fridge, kiss his wife, thinking of how he raised them to think, all the while making him resentful (remniscent of the Nanobots line "wish them away"), yet, at the same time he's happy that he himself is a replicant of his own father.

Bertrand Russell and the Five-minute hypothesis[edit]

According to Wikipedia, "The five-minute hypothesis is a skeptical hypothesis put forth by the philosopher Bertrand Russell that proposes that the universe sprang into existence five minutes ago from nothing, with human memory and all other signs of history included. It is a commonly-used example of how one may maintain extreme philosophical skepticism with regards to memory."

"Sleep" seems to twist this hypothesis into the idea that you spring into the universe newly each day, with your life fabricated before you.

It could also be the very playful idea that people trade lives while they sleep, and hop around the world through each other's bodies on a nightly basis.

MrPassion 23:11, 12 March 2013 (EDT) MrPassion


I don't know, I just get the general feeling of depression from this song. Feeling uncomfortable in your own body. Not feeling like you're in control. Love this song. Reminds me of earlier TMBG. Good, good stuff.


I get the impression that the narrator is somebody who sleeps around with other peoples' wives, but is always worried that his wife will cheat on him. Somebody who's living by a double standard. 00:03, 14 March 2013 (EDT)

Multiple Personalities[edit]

I think this might be about a person with two discrete personalities, who are aware of the existence of the other personality. When the person goes to bed, they might wake up as personality A instead of B or vice versa. As a result, everything is equally shared between them: their wives, their drinks, their thoughts, despite them being "separate" people. This is probably written from the B personality's point of view, due to the reference to him "replacing somebody else". He's sad to go, but glad that he was able to have and interact with these things he feels entitled to, despite his status as a secondary personality that was formed later.

You know, with Kiefer Sutherland[edit]

In the 1998 film "Dark City," a group of beings known as The Strangers perform experiments on humans. They put the entire city to sleep, then switch the people around into different roles and inject them with memories relevant to those new roles. When the people awake, they happily go about their (new) lives.

To wit: each time they sleep, they are replaced by somebody else. But each time they wake, they're glad they took someone else's place. 15:23, 22 March 2013 (EDT)

The Evolution of the Self[edit]

Every moment that passes, you're a slightly different person than you were the moment before. Maybe it's something that you've learned, or someone you met, or something you saw - every day, you become somebody else. Linnell is sad that his currently self will inevitably be replaced with a new, different Linnell - but he's also glad the man he is today replaced the man he used to be. He envies the life that his future self will get to have in his place, but he's proud that he, as he stands today, is the one that gets to exist in place of all his past selves.

Linnell, Kagan, Locke[edit]

The situation as described in 'Sleep' seems to accurately recount John Locke's thoughts on personal identity as articulated by Shelly Kagan in his writing and lectures on Death, albeit with some personal reflection thrown in.

Calidore Tesio (talk) 02:53, 15 May 2013 (EDT)


This seems to be about someone who thinks that they are replaced every night by someone who looks exactly like him. The most interesting thing about this is the line "thinking my thoughts." If the person who replaced him would be thinking his thoughts, then they would actually be him. He is sad because when he goes to Sleep his entire life will slip away from him, and someone else will take over in the exact same manner that he had been living his life. But when he also thinks that when he wakes up in the morning he will have taken someone else's place. What's really interesting about that is that the narrator seems to think that every morning he takes the place of someone else, and every night someone else takes his place. Assuming he's wrong and crazy, that seems to mean that every day of his life he think's that he was not the same person who was living this life yesterday, even though yesterday that other person was thinking the exact same thing, and when he goes to sleep someone else will take over his life, in fact thinking his exact same thoughts, which means that they too will feel sad that they will be replaced with someone else, but glad that they took someone else's place. This song is probably one of the most interesting of TMBG. It's fascinating how this song depicts a tale of someone who think's that they took over from the person who was living the day before, and the only reason why he feels like the same person and has the exact same memories is because he is thinking that person's thoughts. This person seems to have some delusions. But what if he's right, and this happens every time anyone sleeps? That would mean that the narrator is the only one who knows that this is happening, and that's only because the narrator is slightly delusional and thinks this is happening. No one else would know that they took someone else's place because they start thinking their thoughts. Only in this case, the narrator's thoughts are that he had just taken someone else's place and when he sleeps someone else will take his place and start thinking his thoughts. The narrator is delusional, and has no reason to think this, but if he's right, then taking his place is the only time someone can really know the truth, even though they're learning the truth by thinking the thought's of someone who's crazy enough to think the truth. I love thinking about this. -ASelfCalledL

The Doppelgänger[edit]

In keeping with Linnell's love for creepy things (to the extent that many of his songs are little horror stories), this songs seems to refer to the classic archetype of the Doppelgänger. This is a German word meaning "double walker". The concept is perhaps best known thanks to Dostoevsky's novel "The Double", about a man whose life is taken over by someone exactly like him (this was made into a movie written and directed by Richard Ayoade, and starring Jesse Eisenberg, in 2013). Sightings of one's doppelganger are most likely to happen during sleep paralysis.
-- Thread Bomb (talk) 00:00, 25 February 2020 (EST)

The Myth Of Persistent Consciousness[edit]

The idea is that, upon sleep "You" cease to exist, because consciousness is interrupted, so each time "You" sleep, a different "You" is the one who wakes up. Lansburgh (talk) 10:16, 3 November 2020 (EST)

A man who doesn't understand dreams[edit]

When the narrator dreams he thinks that he is taking the place of a real person experiencing what's happening in the dream. Logically, he assumes that someone is swapping with him and living his life while he takes theirs. He still enjoys dreaming, though, he just doesn't quite get it. ButterBee (talk) 01:56, 28 November 2022 (EST)