Two headed boy
All floating in glass
The sun it has passed
Now it's blacker than black
I can hear as you tap on your jar
I am listening to hear where you are
I am listening to hear where you are

Two headed boy
Put on Sunday shoes
And dance round the room to accordion keys
With the needle that sings in your heart
Catching signals that sound in the dark
Catching signals that sound in the dark
We will take off our clothes
And they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine
And when all is breaking
Everything that you could keep inside
Now your eyes ain't moving
Now they just lay there in their climb

Two headed boy
With pulleys and weights
Creating a radio played just for two
In the parlor with a moon across her face
And through the music he sweetly displays
Silver speakers that sparkle all day
Made for his lover who's floating and choking with her hands across her face
And in the dark we will take off our clothes
And they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine
And when all is breaking everything that you could keep inside
Now your eyes ain't moving now, they just lay there in their climb

Two headed boy
There is no reason to grieve
The world that you need is wrapped in gold silver sleeves
Left beneath Christmas trees in the snow
And I will take you and leave you alone
Watching spirals of white softly flow
Over your eyelids and all you did
Will wait until the point when you let go


Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by riverajosie2, adngai, Mellow_Harsher

Two-Headed Boy Lyrics as written by Jeff Mangum

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Two-Headed Boy song meanings
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126 Comments

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  • +8
    General Comment

    i dont think in any way this is the correct interpretation of the song, but i think its interesting to see what people think.

    for the sake of clarification, i believe the two headed boy is one person [possibly and probably Jeff] who is torn between the real life and a dream state. there are obvious references to an object and its opposite, which are the juxtaposition of real vs dream.

    the sun and the grass in the first stanze symbolize reality and when the sun passes, night falls and in dreaming he encouters the one he loves. he follows her taps on the jar to find her in him subconscious.

    in the second stanza he is telling himself to participate in the dream, to dance and be free. it goes as far as a sexual encouter "we will take off our clothes" but he brings himself back to reality by talking about the "notches in your spine" possibly reffering to the malnutrion in the Houlocaust, or possibly just the fact she is dead and he could never do anything about saving her. she has died now, even from the dream

    in the third stanza he recognizes the mental anguish he puts himself in, "the pullys and weights." but all he wants to do is play music like that of the stanza before when he was happy, just for him and the object of his affection. again, "the moon across her face" its night time when he has these dreams about her . but she is still dying "floating and choking." again something sexual "in the dark we will take off our clothes" but her death is still real "notches in your spine." she is once again dead.

    in the fourth stanza hes talking to himself. saying there is "no reason to grieve" because shes still alive in his dreams "wrapped in gold and silver sleeves." he lets the notion of him ever being with her in reality die. he lets go "will wait until the point when you let go."

    indieishon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    Well, I find quite funny watching so many people trying to get dark, confusing and deeply intellectual explanations to the song.

    Guys, I think they're talking just about records. Yep, vinyl records and turntables.

    Check this out:

    • Two heads: A and B.
    • Floating in glass: plastic inner sleeves
    • Blacker than black.
    • Hear, listen...
    • dance round...
    • needle that sings
    • catching signals that sound in the dark (vinyl)
    • take off clothes: taking the record out from the sleeve
    • place fingers through... : taking the vinyl
    • about the eye, refering to the eye of the vinil, that stands in the center one you put it in it's place
    • pulleys and weights of the turntable
    • radio played just for two speakers
    • music...
    • silver sparkles: the sparkling sound of the needle running over the vinyl
    • made for his lover, who's floating and choking etc. : the needle floats inside a magnet coil (a coil aroun the needle, hands across her face), the cartridge, etc. The needle takes the signal, for his lover, the coil. The coil then sends a signal to the amp, and the amp to the speakers.
    • It´s harder to get the meaning from the last part, but again, we find the end of the record, back to the sleeve, spirals (grooves on the vinyl are a huge spiral, that looks white in it's reflection in cotrast to the blacker vinyl of the grooves)...

    Of course, it's so much cooler to find oniric, dark, creepy, historic and crazy meanings to this song. But I really thing that it's just an ode to the vinyl.

    No one will be able to find so much meaning for such a big part of the song, so directly related to a simple explanation like mine. So, I guess I won the contest !!! HA!! :P

    icoboson November 22, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    I don't know how many people know about this, but back in the day circuses and carnivals used to have a section with weird wonders in jars, in which they would take bizarre inanimate things and put them in jars. One of these things were the body two headed fetuses that died young due to lack of care. I always thought that this was at least an aspect of the song that remained strong through out it. There seem to be plenty of parts of the song that suggest it.
    "Two headed boy All floating in glass The sun it is passed Now it's blacker than black I can hear as you tap on your jar I am listening to hear where you are I am listening to hear where you are"

    I think that this is pretty self explanatory.

    "Now your eyes ain’t moving now They just lay there in their climb"

    I always thought that this kind of displayed the image of the two headed body in the Jar just laying there while it was being used for the circus for it to keep on keeping on, to climb. I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to say what the rest of the song means to me though. But I thought it was neat how it seemed to reference such an obscure fact of history.

    musky_oxon December 11, 2005   Link
  • +4
    My Opinion

    This song reminds me of the bizarre testing they used to do in Nazi Germany on twins, more specifically seeing how, if any, psychic or telekinesis powers existed between identical twins. Some cases they would injure one child to see if the other would respond.

    I rather enjoy the ambiguity of the lyrics though. The song is much more passionate when felt rather then dissected, any persons concept of it is as good as the next. Truely great song!

    Pcooney13on July 08, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I think this song is actually about the holocaust. Here's some of the reasons why, although they are incredibly morbid and depressing...

    "And in the dark we will take off our clothes, and they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine."

    When the Nazis were selecting which Jews they were going to gas, they would have them take off their clothes and line up. The skinniest and sickliest would be taken, while the ones that were still strong enough to work would be kept around for a while longer.

    "And when all is breaking, everything that you could keep aside. Now your eyes ain’t moving now, they just lay there in their climb."

    When you're being gassed you try climbing to the top over the weaker people to get to the fresh air near the top of the chamber. Further, the people on the side would try to climb up the walls, breaking and splitting their fingers in the process.

    guaranaon September 28, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I haven't read all of the comments yet, but I joined this sight specifically to comment on this song. Two-Headed Boy does sound romantic, especially in the context of the whole record. As my friend said, this CD was like "catnip for indie girls," back in the last millennium.

    But let's be honest, this song vividly conjures up the image of something you might see at a museum of anatomical oddities (there's one in New Orleans). Literally, he's singing about some freakish fetus or newborn, with two heads preserved in formaldehyde, which they used to do all the time for research (read: gawking). Look,"floating in glass," "jar," the lighting, fixed eyes etc. all make it pretty clear to me. To top it off the song is followed by what that track that sounds like a Creole funeral procession (they have those in New Orleans too).

    It's a metaphor of course. For what, I haven't a fecking clue... I'm not a literature type of person. If it's a love song, he's certainly taken the scenic route... and rather grotesque one at that. But that would be consistent with the material on this record (think suicidal fathers juxtaposed with someone's first sexual experience on Carrot Flowers).

    That said, this is one of my all-time favorite songs. Still gives me chills.

    Matty Dubson December 19, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I really wish there were more analysis of this song, as there are parts I really don't understand at all. I'll give the last four lines a shot, however.

    And I will take you and leave you alone Watching spirals of white softly flow Over your eyelids and all you did Will wait until the point when you let go

    I think there is someone who is leaving the two-headed boy to die in the snow. The spirals of white would be snow falling over his eyes. The line "all you did will wait until you let go" I think means that all his memories will stay with him until the point that he gives up and dies.

    Raving Lunaticon March 25, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    No. That cannot POSSIBLY be the case. Know why? This album was released in 1998. Episode III came out last year. slap

    Triangle Manon February 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Superba, I think that "climb" still fits in with a depiction of sex, as in the climb to orgasm (as his eyes sort of roll back into his head and stop moving, you know?)

    As for the two-headed part, I was thinking more along the lines of a freak sort of thing, as he's "floating in glass" and taps on his jar, like everyone's watching him like he was some sort of mutated lab rat. I think that he's not necessarily disfigured or anything, it's just a figurative depiction.

    Given the Anne Frank take on things, the lines "the world that you need is wrapped in gold and silver sleeves, left beneath Christmas trees in the snow" is an allusion to the epitome of non-Jewish holidays. It's kind of a defeatist stance to take on the whole Christian assault on the Jews.

    Not a sermon, just a thought.

    Sporkuson February 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I've always thought of this in a completly different way...That Jeff Mangum is actually in love with the idea of Anne Frank...A sort of Miniver Cheevyesque story of him being born too late to love his soulmate. If you go about the entire album in this way, it becomes one of the saddest and most beautiful love songs ever. The whole CD seems to be one long song--One descriptive transgression of Jeff Mangum, very much about the holocaust, but also about the sexual confusion of the singer--like in Holland, 1945, "The only girl I ever loved Was born with roses in her eyes But then they buried her alive One evening 1945."

    coming back to the THB...I feel that two heads describes both his walk through reality and his dreamstate.

    " placing fingers through the notches of your spine" could be describing the horrific experiments on and the post-mortem uses of parts of the victims' bodies by the Nazis--such as the human skin lampshades, the body fat soaps, bone funiture...vertebrae could be made into rings if ground around the outside. A person could quite literally put his or her fingers through the spinal canal of a vertebral ring.

    I know that's pretty graphic...but it's my interpretation and only an opinion.

    the_skidon June 26, 2005   Link

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