Making Flippy Floppy

Have you ever paid attention to these lyrics? I don’t blame you if you haven’t. I haven’t  either. I’m usually too busy dancing. The incredible kinetic energy that Talking Heads achieved on their so-called ‘afro-beat’ albums tends to overwhelm all other considerations. But we should stop not-making-sense to note what an impressively surreal word soup David Byrne came up with as well. This is verbal Cubism, in which the message – a commentary on the frustrations of modern life – is broken down into shards and assembled in a disordered way that doesn’t have an obvious narrative structure but still makes for a skewed but compelling whole. It is both fully literary and fully musical. The lines are designed to fit the beat, so much so that the words become one with the instruments and thus can easily go consciously unnoticed. Yet, surprisingly, it reads poetically on paper too. This collection of lines would feel right at home in your Norton Introduction to Modern Literature.

“Making Flippy Floppy”

Nothing can come between us
Nothing gets you down
Nothing strikes your fancy
Nothing turns you on
Somebody is waiting in the hallway
Somebody is falling down the stairs
Set someone free, break someone’s heart
Stand up help us out

Ev’rything is divided
Nothing is complete
Ev’rything looks impressive
Do not be deceived
You don’t have to wait for more instructions
No one makes a monkey out of me
We lie on our backs, feet in the air
Rest and relaxation, rocket to my brain

Snap into position
Bounce till you ache
Step out of line
And you end up in jail
Bring me a doctor
I have a hole in my head
But they are just people
And I’m not afraid
Doctor Doctor
We have nothing in our pockets
We continue
But we have nothing left to offer
Faces pressed against the window
Hey! they are just my friends
Check this out don’t be slick
Break our backs it goes like this . . .

We are born without eyesight
We are born without sin
And our mama protects us
From the cold and the rain
We’re in no hurry
sugar and spice
We sing in the darkness
We open our eyes (open up)

I can’t believe it
And people are strange
Our president’s crazy
Did you hear what he said
Business and pleasure
Lie right to your face
Divide it in sections
And then give it away

There are no big secrets
Don’t believe what you read
We have great big bodies
We got great big heads
Run-a-run-a-run it all together
Check it out – still don’t make no sense
Makin’ flippy floppy
Tryin to do my best
Lock the door
We kill the beast
Kill it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.