"Spiraling Shape" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
Down, down, down you go
No way to stop
As you fall, hear me call
No, no, no
Listen to this warning and
Consider these
Simple words of advice
Stop, stop, stop

Fogging the view, cupping face to the window
In darkness you make out a spiraling shape
Putting all reason aside you exchange
What you got for a thing that's hypnotic and strange

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

And nobody knows what it's really like
But everyone says it's great
And they heard it from the spiral in their eyes

This could lead to excellence
Or serious injury
Only one way to know
Go, go, go
Go ahead, wreck your life
That might be good
Who can say what's wrong or right?
Nobody can

Put out your hands and you fall through the window
And clawing at nothing you drop through the void
Your terrified screams are inaudible drowned
In the spiral ahead and consumed in the shape

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

And now that you've tried it, you're back to report
That the spiraling shape was a fraud and a fake
You didn't enjoy it, you never believed it
There won't be a refund, you'll never go back

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

And nobody knows what it's really like
But everyone says it's great
And they heard it from the spiral in their eyes
(Spiral in their eyes)

Fogging the view, cupping face to the window
In darkness you make out a spiraling shape
Putting all reason aside you exchange
What you got for a thing that's hypnotic and strange

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

Don't spend the rest of your life wondering
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

Don't spend the rest of your life wondering
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
Don't spend the rest of your life wondering
(Everyone wants to see that thing)


Lyrics submitted by doortodoor

"Spiraling Shape" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Spiraling Shape song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI've read several good points here, but listening to the song, I can't help being reminded of that Japanese movie 'Uzumaki'. It's a movie about spirals and a town that’s infected with them. How people get so obsessed with these spirals that it causes their death.
    The first time I listened to this song after seeing the movie, it scared me how similar they were.
    It’s a very good song anyhow, no matter what the meaning.
    phowkson September 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about one of those roadside attractions, like "The world's largest margarine statue" or a potato that looks like Elvis. The signs draw you in, but once you're there it's a total flop. You can't get your money back, and you went forty miles out of your way.
    LittleBriddieon September 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song describes the relationship between two friends during WWII. The speaker is advising his friend not to become a nazi (the spiralling shape is a swastika in motion) but the friend does anyway, and then after the war the friend claims he never *really* believed in the nazi agenda and didn't enjoy it, but the speaker can't forgive him. The friend can "never go back" to being just a normal person again.
    Tuckeron November 19, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about addiction. It tells of the cycle of becoming addicted to something, being trapped by it ("the spiraling shape") and then claiming to be free and that they'll "never go back", but they do.
    Burninatedon December 07, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTHis song could mean many things, but I've always thought that it was more about the vicious cycle of conformity. The main motto of the song is "don't spend the rest of your life wondering." That's the principle the whole song is founded on.

    I can also easilly see it being about buying into certain things like Nazi-ism, as Tucker said, but it's not specific to just WWII and the Nazis.

    It's my favorite song in the world because i listened to it 50 times in one sitting when I was on acid.
    JakeLandison May 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti was going to bash a few (in my opinion) lacking interpretations here, but instead i just offer my own, rather short and sweet.

    drugs.

    you really can't know unless you try it yourself.
    often one of the most concrete memories you can hold on to while you're on your way up from a far-too-large dose is of that person who told you not to do it, or what their trip was like, or what it's was supposed to feel like when you take it.
    and then you're there, dropping through the void, wishing you hadn't taken it, wishing you'd listened to the people who'd told you not to.
    you wanted to know the unknowable, but only managed to journey far enough to pick up a few mental scars and a very vague image of something just beyond. someday, before they set of to discover it for themselves, your friends will ask what it felt like, what you saw.
    that unknowable is of course without description, but you offer your best:
    "it was like a spiraling shape..."
    KSOfmon November 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlways thought it was a song about a man committing suicide by jumping from a tall building, (from his floor, depressed at his cubicle-office job?).. spiraling shape refers to how he falls to the ground, we all know when an object falls from a great height it adopts a spiral pattern, the heavier the less evident eg. a human, the lighter the more pronounced eg. a feather.

    "Down, down, down you go
    No way to stop
    As you fall, hear me call
    No, no, no
    Listen to this warning and
    Consider these
    Simple words of advice
    Stop, stop, stop"

    Imploring the person not to jump.

    "
    Fogging the view, cupping face to the window
    In darkness you make out a spiraling shape"

    Looking out (his? I'll assume it's a man) office window, he sees the possibility of jumping and of course the beauty behind it. ("Putting all reason aside you exchange" ie, after contemplation he jumps by impulse, putting reason aside. "What you got for a thing that's hypnotic and strange" exchanging his life for the allure of death, perhaps he views it as freedom. The height of the building is dizzying, almost hypnotic, and suicide is a strange thing as no one knows what is beyond the jump.)

    "Put out your hands and you fall through the window
    And clawing at nothing you drop through the void", describing his descent.

    "Your terrified screams are inaudible drowned
    In the spiral ahead and consumed in the shape" His screams are inaudible, "consumed" by his jump.

    "The spiraling shape will make you go insane" loses his mind as he falls.

    ........

    "And now that you've tried it, you're back to report" B00M! It was actually a bungie jump as he tried to get a feel for the suicide he was about to commit. Turns out the allure was just that, an allure, and the experience has changed him. "That the spiraling shape was a fraud and a fake
    You didn't enjoy it, you never believed it
    There won't be a refund, you'll never go back"

    He'll never go back to his suicidal ways, he won't spend the rest of his life wondering and will go on living. Awesome.
    hughmyron7on September 18, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe 'religion' theory on this song is the closest to my interpretation. it's about some search for the unattainable.

    but hey: who can say what's wrong or right? nobody can..
    NQArbuckleon May 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about taking lsd
    mouseboyon October 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti like this song alot, but in trying to figure it out i can't get past that it might just be about one of those old toys like a hypno ring, think about it. the sprialing shape, but also those things never worked and they were a fraud, but still people always wanted to see them and to see if they worked

    and the "don't spend the rest of your life wondering" means that you should give it a try because what have you got to loose.

    i think i could have worded that better, but regardless love this song.
    imthatoneguyon July 11, 2008   Link

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