They Might Be Giants: Ana Ng Meaning
Song Released: 1988
Ana Ng Lyrics
To the name of this town in a desk-top globe
Exit wound in a foreign nation
Showing the home of the one this was written for
My apartment looks upside down from there
Water spirals the wrong way out the...
anonymous Jul 21st, 2012 7:33pm report
An intresting note about the maps in the video. The name Mecombeoni appears on the first map and is located in Peru. The second time we see the map we can see Slobosia located in Romania. Not sure what that means tho or if it is relevent in any way; sadly i sucpect not.
anonymous Jul 3rd, 2011 7:00pm report
Hmm... This song seems to have some spelling and grammar errors and usage of uncommon words, like somebody is trying to communicate in a second language. Also, the Johns are seated behind each other and are constantly on the phone, outraged. That reminds me of USA-Russia relations during the cold war. They do not notice each other's face (personal feelings,) and respond selfishly and frustratedly. (Referring to foreign ways as "Wrong" instead of different, confusion toward each other, stomping on the grate.)
anonymous Feb 22nd, 2008 2:27pm report
"Exit wound it a foreign nation" was talking about the bullet hole you'd make shooting the globe at point-blank range. Saying it means nuking it off the face of the map in that context makes little sense...
anonymous Feb 2nd, 2008 2:10pm report
What I think is the narrator went to the 64 world fair. Met Ana there and began to have a relationship with the narrator. While there, he finds out that everything he had he lost to Ana. There is some Cold War References here. One being "exit wound in a foreign nation" meaning possibly nuclear war. 64 World's Fair is the beginning of modern America and end of the old. "I don't want the world, I just want your half" represents each superpower's bid for other nations. And the Johns represent unity? lol
anonymous Dec 21st, 2007 12:33am report
The name "Ng" suggests that Ana is Vietnamese. The part about the desktop globe suggests an antipodal position. Most of the antipodal positions on earth are not significant. Land on one side, ocean on another. However, there is land antipodally to Vietnam. It happens to be Bolivia.
The song seems to mock the idea of "Soul Mates," Ana's soul mate being this Bolivian man who she hasn't met and never will.
anonymous Jul 26th, 2007 7:17pm report
I don't see why this would be about the Cold War. Pen pla seems more likely.
anonymous May 13th, 2007 5:16pm report
"my apartment looks upside down from there"
could also be a reference to one point when John Flansburgh's apartment was burglarized.
"water spirals the wrong way out the drain"
seems to be a reference to the myth that water going down a sink or toilet drain spins in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere.
anonymous May 9th, 2007 5:35pm report
"My apartment looks upside down from there" Its referring to the fact that our view of the southern hemisphere is upside down compared to theirs.
"Water spirals the wrong way out the sink" In the southern hemisphere hurricanes spin in the opposite direction so the supposed sink being the ocean.
Just a couple of things I noticed. I maybe young but I still love TMBG
That's a superb interpretation.
I feel so naive for never really listening to the words and just thinking it was a song about an international pen pal. I'm such a dummy. Good work, your intellect is truly staggering.
What happened to these guys. If you listen to their songs back then they were like this, almost impossible to interpret save for the highly intelligent and informed, now.. I don't know, I'm just disappointed in them.
anonymous Mar 1st, 2007 3:42am report
The facility in the video is the training facility for the New York City Fire Department. Just FYI.
anonymous Feb 24th, 2007 2:06am report
Dang! I forgot to list a couple more lyric interpretations:
"Exit wound in a foreign nation" = nuclear missile strike: if you to shoot a desktop globe with a gun the "exit wound" on the other side does substantially more damage than the entrance.
"the storm tangled up the wires to the horn on the pole at the bus depot" = fear of nuclear attack. OMG, this one is so obvious! Older folks will remember, but for you post-Soviet kiddies, the US used to have a Civil Defense system to warn against nuclear attack. Warning sirens (which were horn shaped) were mounted high in central areas of towns across America (in this case, on a pole by a downtown bus depot.) In fact, the little town next to me STILL has their CD horns mounted on their downtown water tower. They use them now to mark lunchtime.) Anyway, equal to the fear of nuclear attack was the fear of the CD system failing.
Note the building labeled "1". The wings are only facades. This is obviously a training compound. Whether military or not I do not know, but I think that was their intent in the video. Tied to this facade motif is the image of the menacing shadow walking on the steel grid floor.
The photos held up are of military, political or philosophical leaders, like the "debate" on the album cover.
The statue behind the fish is of a non-US soldier.
The "exit wound" map is of, I think, somewhere in south america. At that time areas of SA were under Soviet influence and were considered a "back door" threat to the US.
The Johns walk in the courtyard, meet and shake hands while looking down. I met a former East German who said that on the street everyone ALWAYS looked down.
Toward the end is a quick shot of a nuclear bomb test and a room of people feeling the shock wave. Well, duh!
Watch the video again and see what I mean
anonymous Feb 24th, 2007 2:17am report
I always thought Ana Ng was a political commentary against the Cold War. When I first saw this video in the late 80's I was working as a government contractor in Germany, and some of the lyrics and images immediately struck me as such. The film location looked like a military training facility with numbered facades, the desks that the "Johns" sat at were the epitome of government bureaucracy, and many of us thought that the Soviets didn't want the world, they just wanted our half.
Bearing this in mind, the political climate of the time, and the significant use of the individual/collective name Ana Ng, I theorize that TMBG was lamenting that there were like-minded people on the other side of the globe they would never meet, and would never meet them, because of politics and the threat of mass destruction.
I could be totally wrong, but consider the idea.
anonymous Oct 1st, 2006 10:51am report
The name ana ng, believe it or not, is the most common girl's name in the world, and the fact that taking a gun and shooting a globe perpendicular to the hometown to get the nation of the mysterious ana ng tells me that he doesn't really know her in the first place and he is just hoping the there is someone who loves him, even if he will never meet her. Yet like all they might be giants's songs, the meaning(if any)is not meant to be known.
anonymous May 27th, 2006 5:27pm report
I think this song is about having a soul mate on the other side of the world that you'll never meet.
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