"I Palindrome I" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
Someday mother will die and I'll get the money
Mom leans down and says, "My sentiments exactly,
You son of a bitch"
I palindrome I (I palindrome I)
I palindrome I (I palindrome I)
And I am a snake head eating (snake head)
The head on the opposite side (snake head)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)

See that bulletproof dress hanging from the clothesline
See the medical chart with the random zig-zag
Now I'll help it decide
I palindrome I (I palindrome I)
I palindrome I (I palindrome I)
And I am a snake head eating (snake head)
The head on the opposite side (snake head)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)

"Son I am able," she said "though you scare me."
"Watch," said I
"Beloved," I said "watch me scare you though." said she,
"Able am I, Son."

See the spring of the grandfather clock unwinding
(Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age)
See the hands of my offspring making windmills
(Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age)
Dad palindrome Dad
I palindrome I (I palindrome I)
I palindrome I (I palindrome I)
And I am a snake head eating (snake head)
The head on the opposite side (snake head)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)
I palindrome I (manonam)


Lyrics submitted by sawg

"I Palindrome I" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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I Palindrome I song meanings
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38 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commenti think ur all looking a little too far into he fact that the entire band likes booze



    A LOT!
    belthazaron June 18, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA serpent eating its own tail is the symbol of eternity or infinity, depending on how you look at it.
    SocialParasiteon September 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the fact that the situation is the most obvious palindrome (not really, but somewhat), of them all.

    Mother brings Son into this world, Son takes Mother out.
    xcosxon December 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJust a note for those people saying "It doesn't mean that, you're looking too deep into the song, TMBG aren't presenting hidden messages"... keep in mind that the heading above the text box which we all type these comments says "What does this song mean to you?" By definition, we're talking about opinions and personal interpretations, not right and wrong.
    UglinessManon January 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe beauty of all TMBG songs is how they take really ugly truths about the world (that a son would care so little about a mother that he only values her for her bank account) and make it into a fun little song that you can whistle to. It's the secret to a bitterless existence. Just like George Carlin says: Life is a freak show and when we are born we all get a ticket. Enjoy the show.
    angryroboton April 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see this song as saying that the mother is already in the hospital, and her son is trying to finish her off. The "bulletproof dress" could be one of the lead aprons that are used x-rays. I picture the snake heads as the Caduceus (☤) that features two snakes facing each other, and is often used erroneously as a symbol for the medical profession.
    patrick9241on November 21, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that the point of the song is that the narrator's children kill him. His offspring "making windmills" means his children making a circle, completing a cycle, by killing him. Also, in the line "Dad, palindrome, dad", the "I" from earlier choruses becomes "dad," i.e. "I became a dad." Also, the word grandfather denotes generations. This is the big palindrome of it: you reap what you sow. The song is about essentially the same thing as BSG.

    Another thing I just noticed: Egad a base tone denotes a bad age. I have never heard this line in the song, but it might mean something about a "base" of evil denotes, or leads to, an entire age of badness. That is, one act of evil results in ages of bloodshed. But that's just a thought.
    Radical3on March 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about a son who is very open about his desire for his mother to die. The bullet proof dress is what it's saying she needs to wear to protect herself, and when the speaker mentions the medical zig-zag that he has control over, he's thinking about sabotaging her while she's in the hospital. It's sort of like a palindrome, them going back and forth, and of course the song is filled with palindromes. An interesting line is when the mother says "Son, I am able." Abel was another character who was killed by a member of his own family.
    reubencoon November 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is filled with palindromes, and a somewhat twisted meaning.
    The first one, "I". I is only a single letter, so it is a palindrome. I is still I both forward and backward. The title, "I Palindrome I" is a palindrome if you consider each word, instead of each letter. Mom, dad, and I are palindromes.
    While not exactly a palindrome, the irony of your mother calling a son of a bitch, well...if you're HER son...anyway, the idea is that they are both waiting for the other to die so they can collect insurance, inheritance, etc.
    Next, is man-o-nam. Man of VIETnam? *shrug* It's still a palindrome.
    The bulletproof dress hanging from the clothesline is hanging there because it was not worn! As a result, someone is in the hospital, presumably the narrator's mother. The medical charts random zig-zag gets some personification, IT is deciding whether the mother will live. The son can "help it decide" by either killing her outright or by disconnecting her life support.

    The "Son I am able" verse is a palindrome word by word. It could mean that the mother says she doesn't need any support from her son (Son I am able) but she fears he will kill her (though you scare me). The son basically says "Watch! I'll scare you yet!"

    The next palindrome is "Egad a base tone denotes a bad age". It is a palindrome by letter. Lastly, we have "Dad palindrome Dad", another palindrome by word.
    cprompton November 25, 2001   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCould I have put it better myself, I think not!

    Now, Dad, see: Logo-Lee's Dad won
    JamesDon April 17, 2002   Link

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