Interpretations:Last Wave

From This Might Be A Wiki

The push-pull of death[edit]

TMBG sing about death a lot, but this feels like actual death, not death as a metaphor or entropy or a curiosity. The juxtaposition of the real agony of the "we die alone" chorus with the peace of "last wave", Flansburgh's "unhappy" barely distinguishable from "I'm happy", the surreal merriment and appeal of dying in some extravagant fashion ("make out with a biplane" and "dance with a carcass") refuted by sincerely horrified cries of "no! why!"... all tremendous and intense. This could be someone suicidal trying desperately not to give in to it (both "afraid to die" and "tired of waiting, my heart is cold"), or someone terminally ill grappling with the inevitable. This is absolute real true no-fooling death breathing down your neck.

The trailing off of the guitar and drums at the end leaves us suspended, never knowing when the end will come, slowly realizing it already has, with no neat conclusion to bring us catharsis and reassurance. It also makes this a weirdly perfect song to play on loop if you like crying.

(I am playing it on loop. And crying.) -- Rosefox (talk), 2017-12-12

This is the best interpretation I've seen on this site in a while. I agree 100%. A lot of the Linnell songs on I Like Fun I think are focused on death in a very real, non-goofy or metaphorical way, like rosefox said. The Johns are growing older and probably having to face the true reality of death more often than they used to and I think this song along with Turn Back the Hands of Time and I Left My Body are some incredibly honest and humble songs about death
(Also playing it on a loop. And crying) --elilupe 15:32, February 13, 2018
I wanted to write an interpretation of this song based on the lyric "don't ask why" but I cannot refute this logic --Dysfunkt (the bouncing wizard) 22:58, December 15, 2018
Agreed. This is maybe the darkest TMBG have gotten. The typical dry wit/‘fun’ looks at death is absent here. It’s just extremely intense death. I Like Fun is full of moments like this - “The Greatest” is almost as sad as this is dark. There’s not much wit, just raw concept, quite un-TMBG. I almost wanna ask the Johns if they’re ok. —- macdrown 04:58, February 27, 2019

Let's Get This Over With[edit]

Don't forget Let's Get This Over With - also about death, right? --hailahh, 2017-02-21

well, hailahh, maybe —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, July 26, 2018

Horror Movies?[edit]

There's the first line about a movie and eating supper. The possibility that the horror movie is based on actual events (or a story that it was). The chorus is about the people in the movie dying. The biplane, the dance with a carcass in space, both the kind of thing a movie would have in it. Antlers is the name of a horror movie, so instead of literal antlers, you need to buy Antlers the movie. Take it back to the postman might be returning your movie via a netflix like service.

The titular "wave" may be the last wave or story beat in the movie? Possibly the last deaths that occur. --Emmett 11:33, June 9, 2018

What the “wave” might actually represent[edit]

Every time I hear this song, I always picture the wave as in a wave of a classic space shooter arcade game or a wave goodbye. This is definitely not correct, but the dying alone part could just mean John Linnell maybe lost at Galaga or something and he’s mad about it. Silly explanation, but it would be funny if this were true. The waving goodbye is probably the sounder theory, as Last Wave is the end off track on I Like Fun. I don’t know. An over analyzation is an over analyzation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AnaNgInASpaceSuit (talkcontribs) 22:20, December 29, 2018

The demo version + video explain all[edit]

Now that we know that this song was written to sync up to the mouth movements of Run DMC and Steven Tyler in the classic "Walk This Way" video, it explains many of the more arbitrary lyrics (especially the "antlers" line, as that is when Tyler is putting his two fingers next to his head). Of course, TMBG have been writing these death songs since at least as far back as Lincoln, so I guess those words just naturally occur to them... but when combining this with the hilarity of the video, we can laugh at death in a way we haven't before in their songs. Perhaps that is why I think they've shown the video more often than they've performed the song? It just works better for me. Too bad YouTube won't allow it, but it's still available here: --Greatquux (talk) 13:53, 12 August 2019 (EDT)

The Last Wave[edit]

"The last wave" is an arty thriller directed by Peter Weir. The film ends with a giant wave about to destroy everything. This is an Australian film made in the 1970s so it's pretty obscure, and the link may be mere coincidence. But I think it's possible one of the Johns saw the movie when it came out (1979 in the U.S.) and it made a lasting impressing which resurfaced in this song. Here's that last scene:
-- Thread Bomb (talk) 00:55, 14 May 2020 (EDT)

Crying how bright[edit]

“Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.“

From the Dylan Thomas poem on old age and death. Re-read it today, no way that’s a coincidence. “Don’t ask why,” but value the smallest pleasures, victories, and compromises, as they are all that flash as they pass by. “Saw that in a movie... I just fixed up the supper... half of that is mine... some of that was true.” A reflection by Linnell not of the wave having passed by, but in the process of going by. There it goes.


I have a very detailed theory about the entire album, how the Johns are actually time-travellers, and how it has predicted all the events of 2020. As yet we haven't reached the "Last Wave" of coronavirus, the first wave is barely over. Let's hope we are actually still in the kitchen, when the lights come on, after the ghastly shit-show that is 2020.

(I totally agree that these two songs felt extremely pertinent in 2020 - PlayfairMoriarty)

Last wave[edit]

The last guitar slash drum beat beat beat is a death rattle