Interpretations:Weep Day

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The Duality of Man[edit]

The Duality of Man is a daunting theme to tackle poetically, but I cannot think of a more fitting venue (or a more perfect execution) than the context of 'Weep Day'.

Mr. Tambo and Urine Man are depicted here as two distinct characters, yet one need only put both names side by side to understand that they are, in fact, the same: Mr. Tambourine Man. Dividing such an icon suddenly becomes fertile ground upon which man's duality can be explored. While one experiences "Samba Time" (revelry, presumably), the other is mired in "Weep Day" (abject despair), drawing attention to the fact that most of us walk somewhere in the middle, only reaching either extreme on rare occasion.

The verses tell mainly of a character in constant denial regarding his whereabouts: he was never on a tropical island (despite sightings of him there), he never attended a protest march in West Germany, and, paradoxically, he is not even singing this song. He has separated himself, though is clearly tormented by temporal isolation and his inability to be in two places at the same time. There is a philosophical question herein: if we can experience emotional extremes, why not physical, temporal extremes as well? Would it be possible for this duality to manifest corporeally?

Part of 'Weep Day's' elegance is the exploration of the duality theme on musical terms. Flansburgh echoes nearly all of Linnell's lines in harmony (though never simultaneously) from the beginning of the first chorus onward, until a climactic moment in which the back-and-forth between the two Johns is so frenetic that the aural imagery suggests single person trying to separate himself by dividing up the tiniest details (read: syllables).

Duality is fairly common amongst the themes favored by TMBG, ranging from psychodynamic ('Where Your Eyes Don't Go') to self-incriminating ('Evil Twin') to negligible ('Lazyhead and Sleepybones'). The satisfaction of 'Weep Day' is its dizzying complexity, enough to make one have a weep day of their own. Or a samba time, if you like to dance. --joey 13:06, February 11, 2005

I didn't understand that until the last paragraph, where it made enough sense to be incredibly awesome. -a more different joey 15:20, October 24, 2006
I agree with this mini-essay, in that the song is about duality. Despite denying being on the islands and at the West German protest march, he was seen in both places. He claims that a person can't exist in two places at once, yet it might be that he's actually capable of that very thing. --Thaddius 13:49, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Interpretation 2[edit]

When I first heard this song, I misheard the lyrics as "summer time" for Tambo and "week day" for Urine Man. (Yes, I knew the name of the song was "Weep Day". I have no idea how this happened.) I figured Tambo was on perpetual vacation while Urine Man was stuck in a cubicle. After finding out what the real lyrics are, I still can't shake the image! - Ms Fernandez, 20 Dec 2007

Samba time[edit]

What is samba? Does Weep Day itself qualify as a samba? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:53, February 4, 2011

Interpretation 4[edit]

I think this song addresses individuality both in matter and in time. The first verse addresses that "I" am not the same person that was referred to as me in the past. For instance, I'm certainly not the same person I was five years ago, there can be many distinctions that can be drawn between my personality now and my personality then, which means that it wasn't actually my personality because it wasn't me (or at least the current version of me).

The second verse then addresses how it is that I define "I" by describing the person that it addresses as becoming several different people in different areas of the world, which I think means to say everybody other than myself.

The separation of Tambo and Urine Man is then a reference to how what we commonly perceive as being a single person (taking their whole lives into account) can be split up into very distinct sections, like the word can be if we simply add the concept of time, and then shows evidence through the sambaing and the weeping, saying that we (every man and every woman) are not the same people when we're sad as we are when we're happy. --rilom 10:41, 14 December 2011 (GMT)

You Aren't Who You Say You Are[edit]

Mr. Tambo is the same as Urine-man, as Joey said.

This is a song about someone whose version of reality negates all others, even his own potential reality.

Even though Mr. Tambourineman was in a Tropical Island... Urine-man was the one singing the song and telling the story, and believing he was never there. Look at how many different ways Urine-Man could substantiate his "absenteeism":

  • Split personalities
  • Split physical form
  • Sleepwalking
  • Opinion ("This is no 'Tropical Island' .") **(This's the kicker)**

Essentially, Mr. Urine has his own reasons for denying the fact that he is, in fact, Mr. Tambourineman. This is because Urineman feels like it's always Weep Day for him, and if his beliefs are wrong, it couldn't be Weep Day. How can he believe it's Weep Day if there's no reason? Naturally, he finds them.

He's decided to maintain this delusion. He refuses to participate in the realities of others. And this is why he's selfish: It's not only Urine-man who gets to determine who, what, or where he appears to be. And it's ***Always*** Samba-Time for Mr. Tambo. --SoreThumb (talk) 14:56, 3 April 2013 (EDT)


I'm just analyzing one small part of the lyrics here. "Striking out the batter she became" is one of the song's several impossible statements, at least in the normal physical world--you couldn't run fast enough to reach home plate in time to hit your own pitch. Unless, of course, you're Bugs Bunny! In the film Baseball Bugs, he is forced to play all the positions. He has to catch his own pitches, and through the show's clever animation, is able to do so. --MisterMe (talk) 12:28, 14 January 2014 (EST)

On top of which, the Oakland Raiders play football.

i didn't write the interpretation you see me typing[edit]

"i didn't sing the line before this one" is technically correct both times it occurs if you account for flans echoing linnell's lines --Ncrecc (talk) 08:25, 21 August 2022 (EDT)