"Swamp" as written by and David/frantz Byrne....
Now lemme tell you a story
The devil he has a plan
A bag a' bones in his pocket
Got anything you want
No dust and no rocks
The whole thing is over
All these beauties in solid motion
All those beauties, gonna swallow you up

Hi hi hi hi hi,
One time too many
Too far to go
I-We come to take you home

And when they split those atoms
It's hotter than the sun
Blood is a special substance
They gonna pray for that man

So wake up young lovers
The whole thing is over
Watch but touch monkeys
All that blood, gonna swallow you whole

Hi hi hi hi hi
What's that? Who's driving?
Where we goin'? Who knows?
I-We come to take you home

How many people do you think I am
Pretend I am somebody else
You can pretend I'm and old millionaire
A millionaire washing his hands
Rattle the bones, dreams that stick out
A medical chart on the wall
Soft violence and hands touch your throat
Ev'ryone wants to explode

And when your hands get dirty
Nobody knows you at all
Don't have a window to slip out of
Lights on, nobody home

Click click- see ya later
Beta beta- no time to rest
Pika pika- risky business
All that blood, will never cover that mess.

Hi hi hi hi hi
So soft hard feelings
What's that, who's driving
No tricks lets go
I-We come to take you home
I-We come to take you home
Hi hi hi hi hi
Etc.


Lyrics submitted by worthand

"Swamp" as written by Christopher Frantz Chris Frantz

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Swamp song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is the entire Reagan Era, spelled out for anyone paying attention. ("Making Flippy Floppy" is the other brilliant Byrne comment on era it was made in---when thugs and sociopaths like Ed Meese, Alexander Haig and James Watt were running the show.)

    I always heard Byrne saying not "Hi hi hi hi hi hi" but "High high high high high high" as in the glorification of the nation state and the desperate clinging to the hoary idea of World Dominance. It's a embodiment of the Nuremberg mindset that came over much of America in the 1980's, exemplified best by the mass hysteria of "patriotism" at the 1984 Olympics.

    Notice Byrne in "Stop Making Sense", while singing "Swamp"; he's subtle about it, but at one point he raises his arm in a modified fascist salute, while singing the "High high high high high" chorus.

    It also doesn't hurt that this is an absolutely stunning piece of music too.

    Just brilliant.
    snesichon November 16, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationSounds like he's talking about the devil's big plan to destroy the Earth by corrupting leaders to start a nuclear exchange. He wants everyone to stay and watch the "beauties in solid motion" so he can collect their bones.

    Then aliens who have been watching will realize these people dropped the bomb "one time too many" and we have no way out. So they come to take people to a new home.
    tideallon July 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commenttoday i discovered that this song is even more awsome than usual whne u blast it going down a highway at night at 90mph
    im not saying u should try it but whne the "hi hi hi hi...." part plays.... oh damn so fucking cool
    its_a_mad_worldon October 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI do love the lines "How many people do you think I am?" and "Click click - see ya later, pika pika - risky business" ... I was told by my dad [who made me know Talking Heads] that in the part of "How many people do you think I am?", it is the Devil who talks...
    FoRevEr_SPooNeron November 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about capitalism, greed, burning out of city types and that Michael Douglas film "Falling Down". and maybe the temptation to become "dirty" to keep up with everyone else and have all the material things they have, but when you get caught...

    Risky business...all that blood....no window to slip out of...when your hands get dirty.....
    amigamarkon June 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcoolest song ever? quite possibly.
    perintasticon August 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me think of a schitzophrenic street bum- you know the kind, definitely in thier own world/worlds, but still able subsist in this one, and pass by you uttering random things that seem to have no connection to anything - except they do.
    IDs_Egoon January 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnuclear holocaust
    imrighton January 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentis this not a bloody cool song!!!

    perfect for walking or marchingtoo like he does in stop making sense - love it
    cartlidgeon October 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationYes, most definately about nuclear weapons/dangers-risks of psychotic presidents and dictators and their nuclear weapons:

    "Click Click, See Ya Later;
    Beta Beta, No Time To Rest;
    Pika Pika, - Risky Business;
    All That Blood Will Never Cover That Mess"

    click click - sound a geiger counter makes
    Beta Beta - decay where a beta particle is emitted from an atomic nucleus... measured in time
    Pika Pika - Flash (flash of an atomic or radioactive BLAST in japanese)
    All that blood Will Never Cover that Mess - could mean many things - the blood of the inoccents will never cover the crime? the blood of the supposed aggrieved party (for instance the US after Pearl Harbor... but if you believe that you should do some serious research into who in the US knew and actually even insured the japanese would attack pearl harbor before Dec 7 1941) will not cover the blood of those murdered by nuclear weapons.. plenty can define this line.


    A great song. By a great writer and a great band.

    Thanks, Dave Byrne.
    KPRyanon January 26, 2013   Link

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