"Slippery People" as written by and David/weymouth Byrne....
What about the time?
You were rollin' over
Fall on your face
You must be having fun

Walk lightly!
Think of a time.
You'd best believe
This thing is real

Put away that gun
And this part is simple
Try to recognize
What is in your mind

God help us!
Help us lose our minds
These slippery people
Help us understand

What's the matter with him? (He's alright!)
I see his face (The lord won't mind)
Don't know no games (He's alright)
Love from the bottom to the top

Turn like a wheel (He's alright)
See for yourself (The lord won't mind)
We're gonna move (Right now)
Turn like a wheel inside a wheel

I remember when
Sittin' in the tub
Pulled out the plug
The water was runnin' out

Cool down
Stop acting crazy
They're gonna leave
And we'll be on our own

Seven times five
They were living creatures
Watch 'em come to life
Right before your eyes

Backsliding!
How do you do?
These slippery people
Gonna see you through


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

"Slippery People" as written by Christopher Frantz Chris Frantz

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Slippery People song meanings
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19 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe religious allusions are overt and obviously intentional. References to living creatures and wheels inside wheels obviously evoke the more ecstatic and visionary books of the Bible, such as Ezekiel and Revelation. The Talking Heads frequently discuss different ways of dealing with the crushing oppressiveness of modernity, of life, of certainty. In this song, they seem to defer to the 'slippery people': the prophets, the uncertains, the extremely crazy, hallucinatory elements that inspire faith, foster religion, and provide a counterpoint to the mundanity and meaninglessness of the day-to-day.
    paracleteon April 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningPersonally I think this is derived from David Byrne's experience from taking hallucinogens at his own house party and the confusion and anxiety it brings, whilst this is what I think the base of the meaning comes from I feel it relates to analyses of society and our perceptions of other people.

    The chorus section seems to be a cathartic reaction to such confusion

    "What's the matter with him? He's Alright!"

    Is a release of judgement as to save oneself from becoming too judgemental of another.

    "They're gonna leave.. and we'll be on our own"

    ^For me that is expressing the discontentment and paranoia of not feeling in control of what is going on yet "we'll be on our own" is the antithesis of the want for people to leave; a dilemma. To dismiss people for your own comfort or accept them and be with them.

    Overall I see this song as a balanced and intelligently creative analysis of the naturally judgemental human condition and the benefits from attempting or practice-of unification with other people for mutual benefit.
    SlipperyPersonon November 02, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHey, it might just be me, but this song seems like it was inspired by Arthur Miller's "The Crucible". I mean, things like "turn like a wheel inside a wheel" are almost a direct quote from the play (obviously they both came from the Bible). Other lines like "God help us!/ Help us loose our minds!" and "What's the matter with him?/ He's alright" seem to pretty closely reflect the ideas in that play as well.
    Of course David Byrne wouldn't keep a song restricted to one meaning, like he said about "Girlfriend is better", "I started writing a song about love, and ended up writing a song about something else" (as butcherjuj puts it)

    Anyone agree?
    FBombon November 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationSeems to me this is a song about aliens - slippery people - landing on earth during a time of turmoil and offering a solution.

    Some people are not ready to accept the aliens, and the people that see them as the only hope are trying to dissuade those that would want to kill them.
    Trebuchetton May 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcrazy song. one of the most energetic songs on stop making sense. oh to have been at that show... or any of em.
    Zeppelynon November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favourite Heads song. The SMS version blows the studio version out of the window.
    Boss Manon July 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song sounds like religion. the slippery people are priests and shamans and monks and anyone closer to god basically. they're hard to grasp, hard to understand, but they "see you through" and make sure you survive.
    AliceInWonderlandon July 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThose spirits, those angels, those slippery people that take you by the hand and dance you til you lose your mind and fill yourself with love. They are living creatures and they can come to life, right before your eyes. And when they leave, keep moving like a wheel within a wheel. Yeah. They really were heads. And they really talked...
    de1ysidon February 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems to me that a "wheel inside a wheel" ultimately goes nowhere...
    humancorporationon May 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds like a new parent not liking their neighbors, maybe house-mates?
    WeeKnighTon September 09, 2009   Link

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