Pencil Rain

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Pencil Rain
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Lincoln, Then: The Earlier Years, Music From Malcolm In The Middle (Promo)
year 1988
first played July 3, 1986 (29 known performances)
run time 2:42
sung by John Linnell


  • In the instrumental bridge, the Morse code in the background translates to "Ay, ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores," which is a line from the traditional Spanish song "Cielito Lindo." In English, that would be "Ay, ay, ay, ay, sing and don't cry."
  • This song's title is a parody of the title of Prince's "Purple Rain", popular around the time of the writing of this song.
  • This song was played over a slow-mo fight scene in the first episode of Malcolm in the Middle.
  • The phrase "finale of seem" is from the poem "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" by twentieth-century American poet Wallace Stevens. The full line is "Let be be finale of seem," and is generally interpreted to mean, let true existence (being) put an end to mere appearance (seeming).
  • The continuous drumbeat and opening line might be a reference to "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha which opens with "to dream the impossible dream" versus TMBG's "The possible dream, finale of seem". Interestingly, Man of La Mancha is the musical version of Don Quixote, the book which famously gave us the phrase "They Might Be Giants". Compare the opening beat/rhythm here.

Song Themes

Colors, Death, Heads, Not In Common Time, Numbers, Onomatopoeia, Poetry, Puns, Spanish, Telecommunication, War, Military, Weather, Writing


Current Rating

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Pencil Rain is currently ranked #434 out of 1009. (120 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.39)