"Exquisite Dead Guy" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
Exquisite dead guy
Rotating in his display case
Exquisite dead guy
Swear I saw his mouth move

Exquisite dead guy
Outside my high rise apartment
Exquisite dead guy
Hanging from a sky hook

How am I supposed to let you know the way I feel
About you

How am I supposed to let you know the way I feel
About you


Lyrics submitted by sawg

"Exquisite Dead Guy" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song always made me think of Lenin as the corpse. I imagine staring at Lenin in his case, then later seeing Lenin hanging from a hook out my window, and not knowing how to tell Lenin how damn cool he is for showing up in my life over and over again. What a world this is, with Lenin in it! Look over there, it's Lenin's preserved corpse! Take a picture!

    I don't know what Lenin looks like, so in my imagination it's just a corpse in a Russian uniform like Stalin wore, except somehow I know it's Lenin and not Stalin. I don't even know if Lenin wore a uniform ever, or if he just wore a lot of furs, but that's the picture that's in my head when I hear this song.
    namingwayon May 07, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's the man in the moon! I spent forever trying to figure it out and then it hit me in the face... can't believe I didn't see it before.
    It rotates in the sky (on a sky hook) outside of his apartment.
    Anwylydon January 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, the lyric comes from a word game called "the exquisite corpse." People take turns writing one word of a sentence, without knowing what word came before, resulting in really weird and surreal turns of phrase. I know of nobody who actually sits around in their living rooms playing parlor games like this, but a lot of writers like to imagine that there are people who do.
    DavidGrimmeron July 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti play it and versions of it; the (slightly) more coherent and more fun ways are with writing sentences or short pragraphs/phrase groups at a time
    but that has little to do with the song
    Wabbajackon September 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTry a Christian interpretation (although I'm not Christian): the "exquisite dead guy" is Christ. He's on display in all the churches, and it wouldn't be too far a stretch to have an image of Christ rotating in a display case somewhere. The singer is imagining that Christ is appearing to him in unusual ways: he thinks that Christ is talking to him, and sees him floating in the air outside his apartment building. He imagines he hears Christ asking him, "How am I supposed to let you know the way I feel about you?", i.e. "I've been trying for centuries to tell you that I love you, but you people won't listen."
    wdfarmeron March 30, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt COULD be about Lenin.... he sees him in the glass casket, then after the curtin falls he sees one of the statues being torn down, on a skyhook.
    J.J.on April 17, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFunny, I think of Lenin too. Haha.
    Solinuson May 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJJ has me thinking more about Lenin now with the notion of his sculptures on crane hooks being taken down... Hmmm...

    Originally, the title made me, too, think of the "Exquisite Corpse" game. Only, in the version I know, it is a visual artists' game where someone draws a head, or part of a head. The drawing is covered down to just above where the first person left off, and the next artist adds the next bit of the body without seeing what has gone before. etcetera.. The result at the end of the night is this crazy body; an actual 'corpse'.

    I had never heard of the writing version until just now.
    Neat!
    warmPhaseon February 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI could be mistaken, but I believe "exquisite corpse" started as a Dada experiment. My poetry group does it once in a while. I thought of that when I read the title, but I can't see how it connects to the song.
    maddsurgeonon March 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI play exquisite corpse on long car trips and with my old girl scout troup...but we didn't call it that.

    And this son reminds me of a 40s film nuar (Sorry i can't spell) i'v tried writing one about it, but it just doesn't work...
    CecilaDarlingon May 24, 2006   Link

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