Interpretations:You Probably Get That A Lot

From This Might Be A Wiki

Compound cephalophore[edit]

I just thought this was worth pointing out, because it didn't realize it the first dozen listens - a headless horseman holding a bodiless baboonsman is effectively a two-man cephalophore. And that's just crazy. -j2

Ah, but have they been sanctioned by the Pope? :p --Tyranny Sue 11:52, 20 August 2011 (EDT)
They're the same person. St. Christopher was martyred by decapitation, so he's sometimes depicted as a cephalophore. He's also sometimes depicted as a cynocephalus, a dog-headed giant based on traveler's tales of baboons. So that lyric is about the decapitated St. Christopher talking to himself while holding his own head.

It's never simple with Mr Linnell is it?[edit]

"A cephalophore (from the Greek for "head-carrier") is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head; in art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading. Handling the halo in this circumstance offers a unique challenge for the artist. Some put the halo where the head used to be; others have the saint carrying the halo along with the head." Wikipedia

I don't get any of the other references in the song! It scans like a love song to yet another inanimate object. Linnell's being doing this kind of thing for years, most famously with Birdhouse in Your Soul, and yet the fascination is watching an introvert sing and perform songs that insist on being oblique to keep us all at arms length. From a musical view, a classic TMBG song, probably written on piano in his home studio, and then adapted by the band. Polished production that Linnell has employed since Factory Showroom/State Songs the vertical see saw melodies scream hit single. Now just to get the radio to play it... (Mr Tuck)

Just a thot[edit]

You probably hear "How did your head come off?" a lot. You've heard it so many times, you can lip-sync it as someone asks.

Crush song?[edit]

Sounds to me a bit like one of their crush songs (e.g. Snowball in Hell - assuming the "panacea" is a crush, Sleeping in the Flowers, I'm Your Boyfriend Now, She's an Angel, potentially The Statue Got Me High...) with the singer's crush beatifying (in his own mind anyway) the "cephalophore". --Tyranny Sue 11:50, 20 August 2011 (EDT)


I like the little spot about the speaking severed head which has been the subject of some controversy in hagiography. Several Saints are said to have continued speaking, or to have begun speaking, after having the head cut off. A couple hagiographers seem concerned with the pneumatic impossibility but it seems silly to worry about pneumatics if you've got guys without heads walking around :-)

"Sarcastically lip syncing along". Sarcastic = not to be taken literally? Seems more likely this isn't about the words being spoken by the recent cephalophore, but more about the hagiographic discussions about speaking after having the head cut off.

"Words that were spoken spontaneous". Spontaneous = sudden, without warning? Seems especially likely for e.g. Paul of Tarsus in the Golden Legend. "And as soon as the head was from the body, it said: Jesus Christus! which had been to Jesus or Christus, or both, fifty times."

We all carry our heads around[edit]

The thing that interested me about this song was how it keeps talking about "millions of cephalophores" walking around. Of course, there aren't in a literal sense, but if you look at the literal translation of the word "cephalophore" it just means "head carrier". And we all carry our heads around—not in our hands, but on the top of our necks.

I've heard the expression "use your head for more than a hatrack" to talk about people who don't seem to do much thinking. Perhaps in a similar vein the cephalophores the narrator mentions dismissively could be said to represent all that kind of people in the world—people who don't do much more with their heads than just carry them around. Or, if not people who don't think much, people who don't live much, since the cephalophore the song is addressed to is in the habit of "swing[ing her] head while strolling fancy free" (which I thought was a cute little wordplay on the meaning of cepahlophore, to be sure).

John & John seem to do a lot of songs relating to heads, don't they? A skull-head is always waiting where your eyes don't go. Roll out the special head!

But I guess I'm done. My head fell off. :)

Robotech Master 02:46, 23 August 2011 (EDT)

This is actually just about the line about the headless horseman and bodiless baboonsman. Maybe the baboonsman is his head, which he is carrying. It would be bodiless. And if he was a baboon, or just called one, it could be a baboonsman. The head could be said to ride the body, and he is the "horseman" because he is riding a horse.

Self important idiot and a Jerk[edit]

The person singing the song is a huge jerk. He thinks that there are a ton of people who don't have heads on their shoulders, or rather, that they're not nearly as intelligent as he is. This explains his use of cephalophore to describe the people around him; he's using his expanded vocabulary. The girl that he's singing/talking to is someone who's completely and utterly confident in her idiocy. She does everything with confidence, purpose. She walks as if she has no care in the world; she KNOWS that green tea is made of things that are green, so she drinks plastic army men. The singer is at least intrigued, if not attracted to her confidence

As for the headless horseman bit, that's the speaker's attempt at being poetic, once again implying that most people are idiots because they only have the brains of a baboon.

JL attempts to talk to women, part 19837098446[edit]

If a horseman sits atop a horse, a baboonsman sits atop a baboon. If the baboon in question is slang for a clumsy, not-quite-human guy, that would make the horseman's "associate" his own severed head, "cradled in his arms". So this whole song is him talking to himself about saying very obvious clichéd things to someone he finds admirable, and realizing as he says them that she's heard it a million times before and he wants to come off as the dashing headless horseman but instead looks like a baboon. Narcissism and failed flirtation? That's our John L.

(And yet there are probably thousands of women, myself included, who would hop in his bed in a hot second.)

Beautiful, but stupid.[edit]

I think the word cephalophore is meant as an insult, someone who carries their head around without any use for it. The type of insult a stupid person would never get, making it absolutely perfect. In my mind the song is about the singers observation of a particularly beautiful woman who turns out to be spectacularly stupid.

The song starts with a simple observation of the fact that while the world is full of stupid people such as herself, she does have something extra going on. This "something extra" could in actuality be extra stupidity, but she is sure to take it as a compliment of her physical beauty.

The section pertaining to the "headless horseman" is I believe much less literal, and far more descriptive:

As the headless horseman said to his associate The bodiless baboonsman cradled in his arms.

Imagine one idiot (the headless horseman) holding another idiot (baboonsman) in a headlock. The sort of activity idiotic frat boys might partake in. These are the type of men who would pursue a relationship with the woman in question. The sort of guys she too would seek out. Which leads to the realization that our protagonist is surrounded by morons.

Although millions of cephalophores are marching past my door They're invisible to me except for one cephalophore.

Here we learn that the the "something extra" is in fact an extra helping of stupidity. While other morons are able to pass through the singers world virtually undetected, this one cephalophore stands out. It is obvious she is a moron, she has made it known. Yet once again as the end of the song shows, she takes this exceptional-ism as a compliment.

Green Tea[edit]

Any guesses at the 'melting down some Army guys to make green tea' line, other than the standard toy Army guys are green?

That line has always struck me as rather out of place in the song's narrative. YoungWilliam 16:07, 13 November 2011 (EST)

I think it's just a playful way of saying the subject is disarming; green Army guys melt into puddles of very calm tea. ~ magbatz 16:48, 13 November 2011 (EST)
I think you're on the right track, but the entire song is about a Barbie who has had her head popped off, so the little plastic army men makes perfect sense here. ~Christina Miller, 14:13, 31 January 2012 (EST)

In the Doll World, Barbie is a Star[edit]

What if this is about action figures?

I was puzzled at first because there are not millions of cephalophors in the world, and why would one of them melt down army guys? But there are millions of headless Barbie dolls and melted green army figures.

I agree a baboonsman could be a man who rides a baboon, and the collection of characters in this scene seem odd, but not if we are, say, looking into a kid's toy box. Of all the figures, Barbie would have something special going for her.

She would also not be able to move her lips while she sang, not sarcastically lip-synching along, and not speaking spontaneously. The child holding the Barbie would be singing for her, making the noises, which Mr. Linnell puckishly points out in the video by letting the sound track run on while he has his mouth shut, demonstrating what he's singing. Then his gives a hint of a smile to the camera. Barbie can't say anything spontaneously; she can't talk at all, in fact.

~Christina Miller, 31 January 2012.

Getting that a lot[edit]

Linnell is illustrating the feeling of having people only notice the obvious, surface things about you (like the fact that your head is detached). The fact that they think they're being clever by drawing attention to it just indicates their failure to empathize with another person for the two seconds it would take to realize that you must have heard their "clever" joke a thousand times.

The song takes the perspective of the superficial narrator, portraying his growing awareness of his own obliviousness, which nicely reinforces the effect by forcing the listener to empathize with both characters.

The "bodiless baboonsman" line is a jokey reference to the fact that a human head (literally in the case of a cephalophore) "rides" its dumb, ape body the way the body rides a horse.

I think the "army guys" line just sounded fun to sing in there. Even if it's meant to suggest that the cephalophore in the song is a beheaded Barbie, I don't think it has any deeper meaning except whatever weird chains of thought it sets off in your brain.


It's political in nature[edit]

I think this song is directed to a single person. That person is probably a public figure. In the video John seems to have a bit of contempt in his eyes – directed toward the cephalophore.

The reference to a cephalophore means that they consider themselves a martyr – meaning that they have sacrificed something of themself. Many people view themselves as living martyrs. However, because John is pointing this out in a sarcastic way – this cephalophore is only a martyr on the surface. They only play a martyr for the public eye. The person acts like it is obvious that they are special and/or a martyr. So they must be playing that up to the public audience in order to gain some type of control or power.

The reference to “melting army men to make green tea” makes me suspect that they are a person that is a war monger. By this I mean that they do not mind sacrificing the lives of others for their own benefit. The fact that the person is “strolling fancy free” means that they are care-free - even though they might be causing harm to others (the army men). The cephalophore even swings her head while strolling fancy free. One would think that most martyrs would be humbly holding their severed head as a sign of their sacrifice, but this person is swinging their head as if to get attention.

We then find out that the admirer of the cephalophore is a headless horseman, which means that the admirer is a cephalophore as well. John is not the one complimenting the cephalophore on their "something extra" special. So, the special cephalophore that kills army men and strolls fancy free is a cephalophore that rides a baboon and she is allowing the headless horseman to hold her head or, if you will, her sacrifice.

At the end of the song are the words “While you are sarcastically lip-syncing along - To words they felt were spoken spontaneously”. I feel this means that whatever the cephalophore is saying is not authentically their own words/story (or what have you). The cephalophore is a talking-head. And if you have seen the video John stands quietly during this line – as if to not cooperate – in protest of the cephalophore or what the cephalophore represents. However, when he gets to the end of the word “spontaneously” – then he says “ly” (Lee) as if calling-out the cephalophore by name.

This song is political in nature. The only person that came to mind when I heard it was Leon Panetta – the Secretary of Defense that took the position in April of 2011, but I haven’t figured out if he fits this description yet. Plus, I think the special cephalophore is a woman, so I do not think it is Panetta – John takes special care to call it a “girl”.

Peace - Squishee :)

Valentine's Day[edit]

The song had always seemed fairly straightforward to me--guy sees a pretty girl, guy tries to hit on pretty girl, guy fails spectacularly because guy is not good at talking to pretty girls.

Then I realized something.

You know St. Valentine, the guy who lends his name to Valentine's Day? Yeah, he was martyred by beheading.

A cephalophore is, of course, a saint depicted carrying their own head.

It's quite possible that the narrator is putting the girl in question up on a pedestal--she's not just a girl, not even just a saint, she's on par with the saint who lends his name to a holiday of romantic love and, as a result, he has fallen HARD for her.

(It's probably all just an unintentional coincidence, but I thought it was interesting that St. Valentine himself would most likely be portrayed as a cephalophore...)

--Warhammer Of Zillyhoo 00:48, 5 March 2013 (EST)

Presumptuous Condescention protects this narrator[edit]

Let's look at this pattern: A) Contact person that is possible admirable; B) Tell them they are a great cephalophore. (insult them and their vocabulary); C) Tell them they get this a lot; D) Suggest they are so bitter and condescending about it that they even mouth the words back at the person speaking; E) Suggest that she would melt down a platoon of wanting men simply to have a glass of tea due to how much superiority she has.; F) Believe that she talks to her detached dog-face and tells herself about how everybody else is invisible in comparison.

Wow; This person has a superiority complex. This person uses this superiority complex to defend themselves from the fear that he/she won't be valued for their genuine feelings. That it would place them along the lot of humanity that might even feel the same way. Because of this, each compliment is backhanded. Nothing is meant sincerely, just to protect this person from being hurt.

Part of my series on the thematic interpretation of Join Us.

More catchiness. Nobody knows what cephalophore is, and only few care to find out it's a person who carries their head around. (Thanks, other interpreters!) Moreover, the common mention of how impractical and useless a detached head is implies the narrator thinks he/she's the only one with it 'together'. This delusion protect them from the fear that they are just as clueless as the ingrates that humanity is.

Without accepting the human mind's limitations, one feels that any mistake is a reflection upon one's own value. And that you would have no value if you could ever make a mistake, like say something a person's patiently heard 100 times.

--SoreThumb (talk) 14:26, 16 May 2013 (EDT)

Your parasocial relationship with John[edit]

I was introduced to this song through the music video, which seems to me to have a pretty clear interpretation. It's about a fan of a celebrity coming up to the celebrity and telling them about how important their parasocial relationship is to them. Except TMBG are celebrities, so the song puts the listener in the perspective of the fan, but it's the perspective of the fan as seen from the perspective of the celebrity.

This might seem convoluted, because it is, but TMBG does this a lot. Think of Ana Ng: "Listen Ana hear my words, they're the ones you would think I would say if there was a me for you".

Also, the way the protagonist talks to the cephalophore just reminds me of the way people talk to/about celebrities. Just replace the word "cephalophore" with the word "celebrity" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

"Although there are millions of celebrities that wander through this world, You've got something extra going on, I think you probably know"

"Though there are millions of celebrities marching past my door, they are invisible to me except for one celebrity"

The line where the narrator talks about cephalophores being "marching past their door" is what really cemented this reading for me. Because that's how celebrities work. They're marched past us on talk shows and movies and tours, and we watch the spectacle from the sidelines. You are currently reading this on an entire website dedicated to these people and their work. And I think that awareness of the nature of celebrity is the point of the song. The music video is one big 4th wall break. John Linnell stares into your eyes the entire time, with a look that says "You know, you look a bit silly at the moment".

Hopefully no one feels too called out by this. If you accept this reading as correct and intended and relate to the way the song portrays you and your feelings, it's probably because John Linnell feels the same way about some other celebrity. We do, after all, live in a society.

Grinnace (talk) 10:16, 15 June 2021 (EDT)