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Music / Apollo 18

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Someday, Mother will die and I'll get the money
Mom leans down and says "My sentiments exactly"

Dig my grave, dig my grave
Every time I look in your eyes
I see St. Peter wave
Dig My Grave

Apollo 18 (not to be confused with the 2011 sci-fi horror movie of the same name) is the fourth studio album by They Might Be Giants, produced by the band (but almost produced by Elvis Costello) and released in 1992 by Elektra Records. It managed to make the Billboard Top 200 list at #99, and stayed on the list for about six weeks.

The album's most notable track is "Fingertips", a series of 21 mini-songs averaging 13 seconds in length. It was intended to "complement the shuffle mode of modern CD players".



  1. "Dig My Grave" (1:08)
  2. "I Palindrome I" (2:22)
  3. "She's Actual Size" (2:05)
  4. "My Evil Twin" (2:37)
  5. "Mammal" (2:14)
  6. "The Statue Got Me High" (3:06)
  7. "Spider" (0:50)
  8. "The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)" (3:46)
  9. "Dinner Bell" (2:11)
  10. "Narrow Your Eyes" (2:46)
  11. "Hall of Heads" (2:53)
  12. "Which Describes How You're Feeling" (1:13)
  13. "See The Constellation" (3:27)
  14. "If I Wasn't Shy" (1:43)
  15. "Turn Around" (2:53)
  16. "Hypnotist Of Ladies" (1:42)
  17. "Everything Is Catching on Fire" (0:12)
  18. "Fingertips (Banjo)" (0:06)
  19. "I Hear The Wind Blow" (0:10)
  20. "Hey Now Everybody" (0:05)
  21. "Who's That Standing Out the Window?" (0:06)
  22. "I Found A New Friend Underneath My Pillow" (0:07)
  23. "Come On and Wreck My Car" (0:12)
  24. "Aren't You The Guy Who Hit Me In The Eye?" (0:06)
  25. "Please Pass the Milk" (0:08)
  26. "Leave Me Alone" (0:05)
  27. "Who's Knocking on the Wall?" (0:04)
  28. "All Alone, All By Myself" (0:05)
  29. "What's That Blue Thing Doing Here?" (0:08)
  30. "Something Grabbed Ahold Of My Hand" (0:12)
  31. "I Don't Understand You" (0:27)
  32. "I Heard A Sound" (0:04)
  33. "Mysterious Whisper" (0:28)
  34. "The Day That Love Came to Play" (0:08)
  35. "I'm Having a Heart Attack" (0:23)
  36. "Fingertips (Whispered)" (0:10)
  37. "I Walk Along Darkened Corridors" (1:01)
  38. "Space Suit" (1:36)

Here In The Hall of Tropes, You Look Through the Keyhole:

  • Action Girl: The woman described in "She's Actual Size" is apparently a force to be reckoned with.
    Big men often tremble
    As they step aside
    I thought I was big once
    She changed my mind
  • Break Up Song: "Narrow Your Eyes"
    Now we'll toast the sad, cold fact
    Our love's never coming back
    And we'll race to the bottom of a glass
    Narrow your eyes
  • Buried Alive: Happens to the narrator in the second verse of "Turn Around"
    And then the ghost of my dance instructor
    Pushed me down into an open grave
    And as dirt rained down, she played a xylophone
    And sang me this song
  • Educational Song: "Mammal" is a song about the common features of mammals.
  • Evil Twin: "My Evil Twin", though in usual TMBG Unreliable Narrator fashion, it's not clear if the singer really has a twin or is singing about one of his split personalities.
  • Exorcist Head: In the last verse of "Turn Around", the train engineer "quickly swiveled his head around" in response to his passengers' horsing-around, revealing a face like "a paper-white mask of evil".
  • Fun with Palindromes: As the name suggests, the song "I Palindrome I" features a lot of symbolism involving palindromes, including:
    • Letter palindromes (With Flansburgh singing "Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age" during the final verse)
    • Numeric palindromes (The song is two minutes and twenty-two seconds long)
    • The bridge is a musical palindrome called a "retrograde canon" or "crab canon", and the lyrics are a word palindrome ("'Son, I am able' she said, 'though you scare me.'", etc.)
    • References to "conceptual palindromes" such as springs, windmills, and the ouroboros ("And I am a snake-head eating the head on the opposite side")
  • Generation Xerox: "I Palindrome I" is about a guy waiting for his aging mother to die so he'll inherit her fortune, and the song is loaded with enough cyclical imagery to end with the implication that he'll get the same treatment from his kids.
    See the spring of the grandfather clock unwinding
    See the hands of my offspring making windmills
    Dad palindrome dad, I palindrome I
  • Genre Roulette: The songs that make up "Fingertips" often switch between wildly different moods and musical genres.
  • Incredibly Long Note: "See the Constellation" ends with the Johns singing the last note of the line "Do you hear what I see in the sky?" for roughly fifteen seconds.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Turn Around" is a jaunty jazz-inspired song about zombies, ghosts, and monsters.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The "Fingertips" suite takes this to new heights. Most of the tracks are barely long enough for one or two lines, and only "I Walk Along Darkened Corridors" is longer than half a minute.
  • Motor Mouth: The second-to-last verse of "Dinner Bell" has Linnell spouting off fifty-nine words in the span of eleven seconds as he tries to decide what food he'd rather eat instead of waiting for the titular bell.
  • Sampling: A sample of Dee Dee Ramone doing a countoff at the beginning of the Ramones' "Commando" is sprinkled throughout "See the Constellation".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The narrator of "Turn Around" describes the mysterious undead caller from the first verse as having " the same obsequious manner / that was the reason I had him killed".
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Implied in "If I Wasn't Shy"; among the things the narrator would do if he were more assertive is burn "all the uniforms", "all the 'Ask Me' buttons", "all the intercoms", and "all the time-clock cards".
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: The mysterious statue from "The Statue Got Me High" causes the narrator to burst into flames.
    The statue made me fry, the statue made me fry
    My coat contained a furnace where there used to be a guy