"I Should Be Allowed To Think" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
I saw the best minds of my generation
Destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical
I should be allowed to glue my poster
I should be allowed to think

I should be allowed to glue my poster
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
And I should be allowed to blurt the merest idea
If by random whim, one occurs to me
If necessary, leave paper stains on the gray utility pole

I saw the worst bands of my generation
Applied by magic marker to dry wall
I should be allowed to shoot my mouth off
I should have a call in show

I should be allowed to glue my poster
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
And I should be allowed to blurt the merest idea
If by random whim, one occurs to me
If necessary, leave paper stains on the gray utility pole

I am not allowed
To ever come up with a single original thought
I am not allowed
To meet the criminal government agent who oppresses me

I was the worst hope of my generation
Destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical
I should be allowed to share my feelings
I should be allowed to feel

I should be allowed to glue my poster
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
I should be allowed to think
And I should be allowed to blurt the merest idea
If by random whim one occurs to me
But sadly, this can never be

I am not allowed to think
I am not allowed to think
I am not allowed to think (I am not allowed to think)
I am not allowed to think (I am not allowed to think)
I am not allowed to think (I am not allowed to think)
I am not allowed to think (I am not allowed to think)


Lyrics submitted by sawg

"I Should Be Allowed To Think" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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I Should Be Allowed To Think song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentSometime in ’93, around the time this song was being written and recorded, the city of Seattle was pushing hard for the ban of posters and ads on utility poles and streetlights. The ban went into effect in ’94, and consequently, promotion for local bands and entertainment was significantly restricted. Many Seattle citizens felt that the ordinance impinged upon freedom of speech, as well as would lead to a degradation of Seattle's music scene, the arts, and political communities.

    This song comes from the point of view of someone protesting the Seattle poster ban. Trying to appear intellectual, the narrator cites Ginsberg's "Howl,” which was banned for obscenity in 1956. Not only does the narrator probably not understand “Howl,” but he/she does not seem to comprehend the personal, artistic, and cultural liberties that such bans threaten. Ironically, the narrator believes that the ban somehow interferes with his/her desire to think and spout nonsense, and is fighting for the “right” to leave paper stains.
    ezamoron June 02, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI still see this as a monument to college indie-ism.
    gusscholtzon September 19, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHowl meets Catcher in The Rye?
    kaputnikon February 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentinspired by ginsberg?
    scheisseon June 18, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is such a wonderful teen angst anthem, and not in an annoying way. things like gluing your poster to a wall make perfect sense to someone who's young and feels like it's their personal space, but are automatically shot down by parents and other adults. it gives examples of a lot of things that frustrates young people and speaks to them with that kind of passion. i say this about almost every TMBG song, haha, but this one truly is one of the best.
    snozzberryon August 16, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhy can't it be inspired by ginsberg, but sound totally different? i see a great deal of relation between howl and this song, personally.
    scheisseon June 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGinsberg was an influence on this song- several other lines in this song could be applied to the Beat generation in general or Ginsberg specifically, though overall, it comes off as more of a teenager's interpretation of Ginsberg.

    It also made me totally unable to read Howl without getting the tune stuck in my head, as I discovered last semester >.< I ended up humming this thing for weeks. I'm pretty sure that parts of my term paper have the same rhythm and syntax because of it.
    Dysperdison May 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI LOVE GINSBERG. beat poets are nifty.
    geekgirl87on January 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think it was inspired by ginsberg, but the quote at the beginning is ripped out of howl (says so in the liner notes). but... I dunno, it just doesn't seem that much like ginsberg to me... it's more bitterly ironic. I mean, "I saw the worst bands of my generation applied to whiteboard" seems to be a much more modern attack on the music industry. plus, like all of tmbg's stuff, it's more innocent than ginsberg... at least on the outside.
    windmills221bon April 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe that "I should be allowed to think' is about a special ed student who feels that people don't let him do stuff by himself (like thinking) because he's in special ed.
    John-Paul2on June 08, 2003   Link

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