Complete Paranoia

From This Might Be A Wiki
From the "Snail Shell" video.

song name Complete Paranoia
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Direct From Brooklyn (DVD), Podcast 6C (only partially played), Podcast 47
year 2003
run time 3:30
sung by John Flansburgh, backed up by John Linnell


  • This track "pretends" to be the audio for "Snail Shell" on the Direct From Brooklyn DVD, and makes direct references to the video in its lyrics. It can be heard by listening to the audio commentary track for "Snail Shell". An instrumental version with an interesting vocal arrangement of the tune also can be heard on the commentary track at the end of the DVD during the video credits. Flansburgh addressed this on Tumblr in 2022:
We did record the song at the audio commentary session to spice things up. It was a very old song from our original repertoire, customized for its unusual placement.
  • The chorus of this song is a parody of the Chock full o'Nuts jingle, originally written in the 1950s by Bernie Wayne and Bruce Silbert. Listen here. Compare:
"That Heavenly Feeling
(Chock full o'Nuts Jingle)"

Chock full o'Nuts is that heavenly coffee
Heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee
Chock full o'Nuts is that heavenly coffee

Better coffee a millionaire's money can't buy
"Complete Paranoia"

Messages written in heavenly bodies
Heavenly bodies, heavenly bodies
Messages written in heavenly bodies

Doesn't take a millionaire to see
  • The song's refrain is a reference to a quote by infamous cult leader and convicted murderer Charles Manson in the June 1970 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.[1]
Have you ever seen the coyote in the desert? Watching, tuned in, completely aware. Christ on the cross, the coyote in the desert — it’s the same thing, man. The coyote is beautiful. He moves through the desert delicately, aware of everything, looking around. He hears every sound, smells every smell, sees everything that moves. He’s in a state of total paranoia, and total paranoia is total awareness.
  • Flansburgh would elaborate further on the song's origins in 2023[2]:
It was a very old song – I think something we did in the very earliest round of songs. But I don't even think besides being on Dial-A-Song it showed up anywhere except the commentary track on the Gigantic DVD [sic]. As for its name, I don't know if it was called something else. The melody is a minor-sized version of the Maxwell House Theme [sic] so it might just have been called that.
  • Flansburgh has also mentioned that the song may have been performed while busking on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in 1983.[3]
  • At 1:58, the second occurrence of "Doesn't take a millionaire to see", there is a slight recording goof as Flansburgh starts singing "Better hide your silverware under the ground" instead of "Doesn't take a millionaire to see."

Song Themes

Easter Eggs, German, Medical, Money, Occupations, Paranoia, Science, The Senses, Space, Tableware, Telecommunication, Titles And Honorifics, Writing


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Complete Paranoia is currently ranked #546 out of 1009. (30 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.17)