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Author Topic: The End of the Tour
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales

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The song "The End of the Tour" (by They Might Be Giants) has been long a subject of controversy, because even though the Johns deny that they had any set meaning behind the lyrics, many fans have pointed out (seemingly right) that the song describes a car crash. I say seemingly right, because the song spells out the details line by line: bent metal and a flaming wreck on Interstate 91, the phrase "this was the vehicle, these were the people, you open the door and expel all the people", 'kissing on the overpass' apparently describing a head-on collision... I won't describe the whole song, but the story seems pretty clear to me.
TMBG aren't big on personal songs, but when they do write them, the point is usually obvious. For example, John Flansburgh's band Mono Puff had a song called "Backstabbing Liar", and according to the lyrics, the subject of a song is a backstabbing songwriter who Flans thought was his friend. (I should point out that Flans formed Mono Puff during a period of when TMBG vanished for the most part, with no new studio album being released between 1996 and 2001; and when they re-emerged, their style and the other guys in the band were very different.) Perhaps "Tour" is Linnell getting a painful experience off his chest?
(Note that I'm not one to read too much into songs - I've been a huge Gianthead for years, but out of all of their songs, "The End of the Tour" sticks out like a sore thumb. Also, I don't want to start a debate over TMBG's "missing" period... they only made one new song together, and put out three albums, "Then", "Severe Tire Damage" and "Long Tall Weekend" that were made up of old material.)

Rest in Peace, Charles Rocket 1949-2005

"On behalf of Gail Matthius and the entire Weekend Update news team, I'm Charles Rocket. Good night, and... watch out."

Posts: 140 | From: Pittsburgh | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ana Ng
Let There Be PCs on Earth

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I fully admit to never having really analyzed the lyrics, but I always thought the song was about the feeling you have at the end of a vacation of anything long, just like, "never again!"

I've been a gianthead for 13 years, but never noticed their disappearance. I did just get "Here Come the ABCs", and it's so fabulous. My kids love it- my three year old always sings "E Eats Everything" in the car.


My great grandfather planted that tree!

Posts: 4862 | From: Brooklyn | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Deck the Malls

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HUGE TMBG fan here...

I always thought The End of the Tour was about a car wreck sung from the POV of one of the cars in the wreck.

Maybe I'm thinking myself in a hole.

Posts: 240 | From: Akron, OH | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator

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