Monday, September 13, 2010

Dead by They Might Be Giants

I found this song when I was doing research on strange songs people wanted to have at their funerals. I don't know if it's funeral worthy but it is an interesting song. Dead by They Might Be Giants came out on their album Flood in 1990. Dead, like many of their songs is... quirky. (The song is below and you can see the lyrics at the end of the post.)



My initial thought was that it is sung from the point of view of a person who died young or wasn't ready to die-"Accidently taken off the shelf before the date stamped on myself". (Reincarnated as a bag of groceries?) He expresses a lot of regrets about the things he won't ever get to do and wonders how the event (his death) was taken.

After listening to the song a couple times, I changed my view. Maybe it's not someone physically dead but someone who just feels that way. Or maybe he is dead and just lived a life very similar to being dead. "Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do"


They Might Be Giants don't really give a lot of clues as to what they were thinking with their songs. They have on occasion said that some of their songs really don't have a deeper meaning (or even a meaning) to the lyrics but this song seems like it does. Whether they speak of a physical death or more of a spiritual one is open to interpretation.

Dead

I returned a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the expiration date
I came back as a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the date stamped on myself

Did a large procession wave their (Did a)
Torches as my head fell in the basket, (large pro-)
And was everybody dancing on the casket? (cession dance?)

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

I will never say the word
"Procrastinate" again; I'll never
See myself in the mirror with my eyes closed
I didn't apologize for
When I was eight and I made my younger brother
Have to be my personal slave

Did a large procession wave their (Did a)
Torches as my head fell in the basket, (large pro-)
And was everybody dancing on the casket? (cession dance?)

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

(So) So I won't
(Sit) sit at home
(And) anymore
(And) and you won't
(And) see my head in
(And) the window
(And) and I won't
(And) be around
(And) ever anymore
(And) and I'll be up there on the wall at the store

I returned a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the expiration date
I came back as a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the date stamped on myself

Did a large procession wave their (Did a)
Torches as my head fell in the basket, (large pro-)
And was everybody dancing on the casket? (cession dance?)

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

2 Responses to “Dead by They Might Be Giants”

Trish said...
January 7, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I'd be interested in the list of songs for funerals.


Christian Sinclair said...
June 19, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Trish,

This list was recently released by popular vote in the UK on Top 25