"Sleepwalkers" as written by John Flansburgh and John Linnell....
See them over there
See them moving down the road
Their arms held out ahead
And their eyes, their eyes are closed

Don't make any noise, cry out loud, or stamp your feet
You'll wake the girls and boys who are walking in their sleep

Every night they throw aside their blankets
Swing their feet down, stand up, and move out to the street
Like they're under a spell and together they roam across the country
And they're walking in their sleep

You'll recognize them when you see their rumpled hair and stocking feet
It seems like they want something but we don't know what it is
But here they come again
Yes here they come again

Move aside and let the people go by
They don't see you thinking that they're home in their beds
They must not be disturbed when they're wandering all across the country
And they're walking in their sleep

Perhaps when they awake they'll remember everything
They'll think it was a dream
It will be forgotten then

But don't make any noise, cry out loud, or stamp your feet
You'll wake the girls and boys who are walking in their sleep


Lyrics submitted by Spacecow

"Sleepwalkers" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Sleepwalkers song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI reckon it's a subtle criticism of US politics in the Bush Jr era, specifically post-9/11. The sleepwalkers are the ones who are just going along with the rapid changes and dereliction of rights, while those who are angry at the changes are the ones being ironically warned not to "cry out loud" or "stamp your feet".

    A couple of things support this (in my view):

    - He sings "Let the people go by", which reminds me strongly of the line "Let the people crawl inside" in their much older, political song 'We Want a Rock'.

    - The sleepwalkers are found "all across the country"...

    - "Perhaps when they awake they'll remember everything / They'll think it was a dream, it'll be forgotten then" is a criticism of the way people are quick to forget past transgressions when it's their political party involved.
    pidgon May 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about how people get into a routine and do the same thing day after day without thinking. They are, in essence, sleepwalking. The song is sung from the perspective of someone that has either broken from the routine or was never entrapped in this sleeplike state at all.

    "see them moving down the road": I imagine a bunch of people in their cars during rush hour
    "their arms held out ahead": to hold the steering wheel.

    The narrator ponders what would happen if you would "wake" them AKA point out the trite nature of their actions to them. Perhaps they will say "Man, what a waste of my life", but the narrator is quick to remind us not to wake them, maybe because the narrator wants to keep the exclusive quality of consciousness. Either that, or it's just about people sleepwalking.
    eOgason February 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about the dream-state of childhood. It is transient and the narrator, an adult, fears that the others will wake them from this phenomenon of almost blind innocence.

    Of course, that routine thing previously stated is pretty interesting too...
    DamnGoodTimeson September 14, 2008   Link

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