"They'll Need A Crane" as written by and John S./flansburgh Linnell....
Love sees love's happiness
But happiness can't see that love is sad
That love is sad
Sadness is hanging there
To show love somewhere something needs a change
They need a change

They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
To take the house he built for her apart
To make it break it's gonna take a metal ball hung from a chain
They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
To pick the broken ruins up again
To mend her heart, to help him start to see a world apart from pain

Lad's gal is all he has
Gal's gladness hangs upon the love of lad
The love of lad
Some things gal says to lad aren't meant as bad
But cause a little pain
They cause him pain

They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
To take the house he built for her apart
To make it break it's gonna take a metal ball hung from a chain
They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
To pick the broken ruins up again
To mend her heart, to help him start to see a world apart from pain

Don't call me at work again no no the boss still hates me
I'm just tired and I don't love you anymore
And there's a restaurant we should check out where
The other nightmare people like to go
I mean nice people, baby wait,
I didn't mean to say nightmare

Lad looks at other gals
Gal thinks Jim Beam is handsomer than lad
He isn't bad
Call off the wedding band
Nobody wants to hear that one again
Play that again

They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
To take the house he built for her apart
To make it break it's gonna take a metal ball hung from a chain
They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
To pick the broken ruins up again
To mend her heart, to help him start to see a world apart from pain

They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
They'll need a crane


Lyrics submitted by qshapadooy

"They'll Need a Crane" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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They'll Need A Crane song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentYeah, this song is about a divorce. I even seen a show a few years back talking about how at first it seems like a happy little song, then you start to listen, then it's not so happy.
    NormStormon March 06, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me, this is about a break up, or pending break up, of a couple who's become pathetic. they're complacent and out of love, but their lives are built around each other and it'll take a force like a crane to break that structure. he's tired of it and she's turned to drinking, they're both depressed and need a change but they don't know where to begin. this is one of my favorite break up songs, and TMBG songs.
    snozzberryon August 16, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah i think the line:
    "They'll need a crane, they'll need a crane
    To pick the broken ruins up again
    To mend her heart, to help him start to see a world apart from pain"
    sums up the song really. The relationship is in ruins and it will take a big force to help them get over it/move on (the crane)
    goto_www.bodmas.tkon June 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI heard that this song is about John Linnel's parents getting a divorce. Many people believe this to be true. I was surprised to see that nobody has mentioned this yet.
    mumbomanon March 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis is certainly a break up song, though not necessarily about divorce. I am going through a divorce right now, and yeah it definitely describes it pretty well. It is not a hateful divorce, just a difficult one. Before we even filed for divorce my wife had a fiancé. Maybe I should be offended, maybe I should be insulted, maybe I should be angry. Yet I am not. No, I am more worried about her moving too fast and making rash decisions. Really, that's what this song is about... the relationship is over, but we still care about one another. I want her to be happy. I want her to be successful. I do not want to see her in a bad relationship.

    This isn't the typical breakup song. The couple in it has become so intertwined with one another that they need heavy machinery just to separate their lives.

    I spent the last three years living my life for my wife. Now suddenly she is gone, and I am left with a house of good intentions that I need to tear down. I cannot move on with my life until I tear it down and let go of all the emotional baggage associated with it.

    As I said earlier, it is not just about divorce.

    I played this song a lot in 2005. I was in an on/off long-distance relationship for 5 years, and it had just ended. It ended because I am an idiot. I was an absolute idiot. I wanted to spend my life with her, but was not able to see myself dropping my life "here" to move "there." Biggest mistake of my life. I only ended up with my wife because I fucked that relationship up.

    Now I look back with everything that I know, at the mistakes I made, and there is not a god damn thing I can do about it. I never tore down the house from the first relationship. The way I feel has not degraded a bit in the past 4 years. So I relate to this song, and to tearing down the relationships I once had to move on with my life. I am someone who lives through his music. I had sincerely hoped I would never find this song on my playlist again. Yet there it is... reminding me of current tasks and past mistakes.

    I think I might be rambling... but I am going to post this anyways.
    cabanastyleson June 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about two people who have been together a long time whose relationship is drifting apart, but since they've become so dependent upon each other for happiness they don't know how to live without each other. "they'll need a crane, they'll need a crane/ to take the house he built for her apart," that house is attachment, and they're saying it'll take something big to get them apart. This song's about how love fades and people stay together just because it's the life they know.
    LostMonsteron January 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with everyone but at the same time i'm wondering where the hair went
    chillisunfireon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard that this song is about John Linnel's parents getting a divorce. Many people believe this to be true. I was surprised to see that nobody has mentioned this yet.
    mumbomanon March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI completely agree with LostMonster. My favorite part of the song is the bridge in first person:

    ".....There's a restraunt we should check out where the other nightmare people like to go, I mean nice people, baby wait, I didn't mean to say 'nightmare'.."

    Great song.
    LucklessPedestrianon April 28, 2007   Link
  • -2
    General Commentthis song is about a relationship that's become so horrible that it would take a "metal ball hung from a chain" to fix it. they need to both break up and hit the gym
    bdbthinker77on October 09, 2010   Link

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