Welcome to spooky track series 5 brings you Whole Day off by Oingo Boingo. Boingo has tons of spine tingling songs to choose from, and I might discuss another one at a future date. However, today I am talking about Whole Day Off because it hits all the cylinders.
Seriously, the opening heaviness of the bass, then the addition of the xylophone(?) and saxophone really gets the fear flowing. Using these instruments in this fashion sets the stage for the listener, informing them they are about to enter a strange and wild world. There’s almost a circus feeling to music, or at least some kind of twisted carnival.
Later in the song, when the 80s’ synth comes in, that feeling of being at some kind of reject carnival from Something Wicked This Way Comes shifts to a more industrial feeling. Instead of imagining a circus and all that weirdness, my mind calls forth a nightclub. Someplace seedy, with lots of smoke and mirrors. So sure, still a carnival, just a different kind.
But the music is only part what places this on the spooky track series 5 train. The lyrics are the other part, and howdy are they some weird and wild stuff. Elfman comes in on the vocals with his signature high pitched voice, providing a haunting melody. But then, when you listen to what he’s saying, your mind goes aghast at the images.
First, he’s singing about his lost girlfriend, asking if anyone’s seen her. He then tells us she lives in a pigpen and that he thinks maybe she’s hiding under a blade of grass. Then he just wants to take the whole day off because really, all of this is too much. And who can blame him?
Spooky Track Series 5 Whole Day Off Lyrics are terrifying nonsense
On the surface, the lyrics seem like nonsense. Or like they were written by someone who’d done too much acid and saw some shit. And who knows? Maybe they are nonsense words written by a drug addled mind. Or, maybe they speak to the near universal sensation of feeling overwhelmed. The narrator in the song goes through a litany of weird and terrifying situations. He is often confused, but like a carnival barker is always asking if people have seen something. Have you seen my girlfriend? My garden? My new house that looks like a dog house?
These are weird questions to ask listeners, which adds a sharp edge to the freaky nature of the song. This edge gets freakier when he starts describing the things he’s looking for. His girlfriend, as noted above, lives in a pigpen an can apparently hide under a blade of grass. Unsettling, this mental image is, even as it makes me smile at its absurdity. But I think that’s kind of the point of the song, and what really makes the terror sing in this spooky track series 5 entry.
And the absurdity continues. His house walks into the ocean and someone describes it as an ivory boat. It’s easy to read these as lyrical nonsense, word salad, jumbled. However, I still think they serve the purpose of presenting us with a stress addled man. Here is a person who seems to be slowly losing his mind because of one bad day. Nothing has gone right for him, and he just wants to take the whole day off. The refrain of taking the day off speaks to needing downtime, a reset of sorts, but he’s never going to get it.
Searching For Things That Don’t Exist Drives You Mad
This song, as ridiculous at the things described in it, bares forth a horrible truth. The modern life is killing us, and we can drive ourselves mad if we go searching for things that don’t exist. It’s an existential style of horror and its insidious.
This is evident in the bridge section when he describes his day. In this segment of the song, which is when the music leans hard into the synth styling of its time, we hear a man unraveling. He wonders if this is a bad dream but he knows it isn’t. Then he goes to a payphone on a bathroom wall but forgets who he wanted to call. It’s okay, buddy. Happens to us all.
Then we finally get to the garden, and some real horror. Of the monster variety, not the oppression of the universe kind. See, his garden is a fucked up place. It has thing that grow in it, but they don’t look like plants, and he can hear their voices.
That is creepy stuff. Change my mind.
So that’s it for spooky track series entry 5. What did you think of the song? Of my thoughts? Let me know in the comments if you feel like chiming in and suggesting a song. Stay happy and healthy out there, dear readers. All three of you.