Dark TMBW, show me the....


Objectively wrong TMBG song interpretations that I keep around in my head because, hey, death of the author! They're just fun.
I typed all these lyrics from memory and if you tell me I got them wrong, you missed the point of this page.

Birdhouse In Your Soul

A subtitling error turned "Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch, who watches over you?" into a question and made me rethink the song. It goes from a statement to a "Who Watches the Watchmen?" question, but cuter, because if nobody is protecting the nightlight protector, then YOU can: by making a little birdhouse in your soul.

It would make a lovely duet:

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am
Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch, who watches over you?
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it, say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

And of course the verses are sung by the blue canary. I like the added vulnerability of it.

Counterfeit Fake

You were never meant to exist. Somehow, by accident or by trickery, something slipped in the beauraucracy of the universe and you ended up in the temporal and existential space meant for someone, or something, else. Something that deserved that space. And time knows this. The fabric of time has its ways of pruning errant branches and erasing its mistakes. If you don't run like there's no tomorrow, you may have no yesterday.

It's Not My Birthday

A very depressed person is accidentally given a free slice of cake and sung to at a restaurant (you know the ones that do that), which plunges him into a massive existential crisis. You know how it is.

Let Me Tell You About My Operation

Picture for a moment: John Flansburgh as an untrustworthy traveling salesman who peddles lobotomies to lovesick souls. Let him tell you about his operation.

If the first verse (smile wide, scrub side) is a description of his vagabond lifestyle, the chorus could be a sales pitch:

Oh let me tell you about my operation,
Doctors remove your memory
Oh it's good news, it's just a quick procedure
Find happiness through surgery!

Just carefully ignore an "our" or two in the lyrics and this makes perfect sense.


Instead of "world that went south", I thought the lyric was:

"Maine is the whirliwind sound"

and honestly I still like that better.

A Self Called Nowhere

This song is about a side character in a Lovecraftian story, one of those doomed locals who has learned to turn a blind eye to the dark and unfathomable happenings, who knows that there's no getting out of here and something is waiting to eat him alive.

My main points:

I've had vague, dread-filled nightmares just like this song, I think.

You'll Miss Me

This song is about an angry poltergeist.
The narrator's lover has murdered him, and now regrets it, but it's too late. Meanwhile, his ghost is furious, and on an angry quest to Tell-Tale Heart his murderer into admitting their guilt.

Your money talks but my genius walks
Morticians wait with a shovel and fork
While detectives trace my outline in chalk
Your money talks, but my genius walks.

They can't escape him. They can't stop seeing reminders of him everywhere. Even as they race to cover up their crime, they can't stop hearing his jeers. He's gloating, because he knows that he's won their ongoing spat in every way that matters...

...except for having to live, and die, with the pain of knowing that the person he loved most in the entire world wanted him dead that much.