My iPod #346: They Might Be Giants – Exquisite Dead Guy

“Exquisite Dead Guy” is a weird song. It’s weirdly mysterious and dramatic at the same time even though not a lot happens in it. The only overdubs present are those on Linnell’s voice, and apart from that there some cellos, a bass and drums for most of its duration. As a result the track sounds a bit empty, always feeling like something additional needs to be added. But I like it like that. Maybe that’s what attracted me to it.

There are some thories about the ‘exquisite dead guy’ in question being Jesus Christ, and the ascending ‘ba-da-ba’ vocal line is meant to represent Morse code. Those things go way over my head. The song is one ‘of admiration of a departed hero‘, so that’s what I’ll go ahead and see it as.

It’s quite the unconventional track. If the aforementioned ‘ba-da-ba’ scat vocals are the chorus, then those make up the majority of the two minutes the song lasts for. And when those stop Linnell, in a low register, sings about seeing this dead man wherever he goes. Things become surprisingly introspective during the middle part, but the song then returns to repeat the vocal line twice more before coming to an abrupt end.

On a side note, the ‘E’ section finishes tomorrow. Time has flown. What song is next? Wait and see.

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Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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