Things that make Danny Elfman & Co. want to dance
March 18, 2006 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Songs that prominently feature insects, spiders, or other terrestrial arthropods in the lyrics, but do not mention them in the title (thereby escaping my searches).

You've been laying eggs under my skin
Now they're hatching out under my chin
Now there's tiny insects showing through
All the tiny insects look like you

"Kingdom of Love" by the Soft Boys

This is for a mix cd for students in a college level entomology class, so I'm not looking for marine invertebrates, and children's music should have some degree of adult appeal.
posted by Eothele to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"The Spiderbite Song" by the Flaming Lips
"Bugs" by Pearl Jam
"Apologies to Insect Life" by British Sea Power
"Ants" by Dr. Octagon
posted by maxreax at 2:23 PM on March 18, 2006

but do not mention them in the title (thereby escaping my searches).

posted by maxreax at 2:24 PM on March 18, 2006

Pulp - Common People:
But still you'll never get it right,
cos when you're laid in bed at night,
watching roaches climb the wall,
if you call your Dad he could stop it all.

posted by matthewr at 2:34 PM on March 18, 2006

"Blue in the Face" by No Doubt

You're always in a hurry
Blue in the face
You always tend to worry
'Cause you're just like a honey bee, you panic, you sting, then you die
Just like a honey bee

There's probably a lot of metamorphosis songs I don't know--but there is one by that name by the Pet Shop Boys

It may not last, but here am I
Once a caterpillar, now a butterfly
It can seem strange, but when you reminisce
It's all about change, it's a metamorphosis

posted by divka at 2:34 PM on March 18, 2006

Magazine's "A Song From Under The Floorboards" which is originally found on The Correct Use of Soap. It might even score you points with hipster college kids who know a bit about 80s music
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 2:35 PM on March 18, 2006

If the only reason you're asking for songs without the insects in the title is that you've already found all the ones with insects in the title, then I'm going to suggest some anyway in the hope that you haven't already found these yet - better to risk telling you things you already know than withhold good material:

Ken Nordine: Good Year For The Spiders (you must hear this)
Captain Beefheart: Ant Man Bee
Mercury Rev: There's Spider Eggs in the Bubbla Yhum
Vashti Bunyan: Glow Worms

You might also be interested in Jonathan Bepler's The Man In Black, from the soundtrack to Cremaster 2: there aren't any relevant lyrics, but it's Dave Lombardo from Slayer drumming along to 20000 African bees.

Oh yeah, and along similar lines, House Fly by Tricky Disco - an early 90's rave tune featuring the sound of a housefly. The b-side was called Flyspray, and featured the sound of someone spraying flyspray.
posted by nylon at 2:45 PM on March 18, 2006

The Presidents of the United States: "Boll Weevil" and "Body".
posted by blackkar at 2:59 PM on March 18, 2006

Field mice, head lice, spiders in the kitchen
Don't think twice 'bout whatever keeps you itchin'
Ice water, flyswatter gonna get you through the day

Eels - Flyswatter.
posted by sveskemus at 3:14 PM on March 18, 2006

Smashing Pumpkins - Glass and the Ghost Children

As she counted the spiders...
As they crawled up inside her

posted by terpsichoria at 3:23 PM on March 18, 2006

Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" of course namechecks the Spiders from Mars. And Adam & the Ants' "Stand and Deliver" exhorts listeners to "join our insect nation." (Adam & the Ants had other songs about ants, too, but they're all in the titles, so not relevant here.)
posted by scody at 3:41 PM on March 18, 2006

There's a song the fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream sing to Titania. Lots of people have written music to it. The relevant lines:

Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
posted by agropyron at 3:55 PM on March 18, 2006

If you can get your hands on the Oil episode from The Young Ones, record the clip of "Buddy Holly" singing Kinky Daddy Long Legs:

Saturday night
Hanging round for a bite
Find a real cutie with the dust mite blues
Hangnail, high tail, fairy tale, very well
Finding anything that I can chew

Coo coo daddy longlegs
Rough it up, rough it up, oh oh oh oh
Rain fly pie with a mosquito side salad
23 years on a meat-free diet
Beetles, crickets, gonna get you sick
It's here's a little sucker and you ought to try it
Coo coo, daddy longlegs
Hope it makes more money than "Peggy Sue"-ue
Ha ha ha ha ooooh
posted by necessitas at 4:17 PM on March 18, 2006

"Lullaby" by The Cure has the following lyric:
On candystripe legs,
the spider man comes
soflty through the shadows
of the evening sun.
And continues from there to talk about something like being devoured by a giant spider. The video, however, paints this event as a horrible manifestation of vagina dentata.
posted by kaseijin at 4:32 PM on March 18, 2006

Two songs from Stephen Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures":

Chrysanthemum Tea
Ahhhhhhhhhh …
A spider on the wall!
Signifies success.
Whose success I cannot guess …
Unless …

A Bowler Hat
I wind my pocket watch.
We serve white wine.
The house is far too small.
I killed a spider on the wall.
One of the servants thought it was a lucky sign.
I read Spinoza every day.
Where is my bowler hat?

"Life with Father" from "By Jupiter" by Rodgers and Hart
'Won't you step into my parlor?'
Said the spider to the fly.
Like him I'm meek.
That's my technique.

"Let's Do It" by Cole Porter
And that's why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love


The most refined lady bugs do it
When a gentleman calls
Moths in your rugs they do it
What's the use of moth balls

The draggonflies in the reeds do it
Centimental centipedes do it
lets do it it
lets fall in love

locusts in trees do it
bees do it
even over-educated fleas to it
lets do it, lets fall in love!

"The Jitterbug" (cut from "The Wizard of Oz")
"The Jitterbug....."

Who's that hiding in the tree top?
It's that rascal, The Jitterbug!
Should you catch him buzzing 'round you,
Keep away from, The Jitterbug!

Oh! the bats and the bees and the breeze in the trees have a terrible,
horrible buzz!,
But the bats and the bees and the breeze in the trees couldn't do what The Jitterbug does!
So be careful of that rascal, Keep away from The Jitterbug!

The Jitterbug!

Oh! The Jitter! Oh The Bug!
Oh! The Jitterbug, Bug-a-bug, bug-a-bug, bug-a-boo.
In a twitter, in the throes, Oh the critter's
Got me dancing on a thousand toes, Thar' she blows!
posted by grumblebee at 4:40 PM on March 18, 2006

Just off the top of my head, Soundgarden's 'No Wrong No Right', from Louder Than Love:

Spider moving up your wall
To the ceiling he slowly crawls
Weaves a web above your bed
Egg that cracks falls on your head

posted by macdara at 4:51 PM on March 18, 2006

"South America" by the incomparable Jazz Butcher:

South America
Muggers, spiders and parasites
Crawl about the streets
So late at night

Lyrics and an MP3 sample.
posted by LarryC at 5:12 PM on March 18, 2006

I don't know of any recordings off the top of my head (and I don't know if "cooties" and "bedbugs" are relevant creatures - perhaps children's song or jumprope rhyme compilations?

I've never been to Harvard
I've never been to Yale
The only place I've ever been
Is the good old county jail

I woke up there one morning
And looked upon the wall
The cooties and the bedbugs
Were having a game of ball

The score was six to nothing
The bedbugs were ahead
The cooties hit a home run
And knocked me out of bed!

posted by nonane at 5:12 PM on March 18, 2006

Ahead by a Century - The Tragically Hip.
"That's when the hornet stung me and I had a feverish dream,
With revenge and doubt tonight we smoke them out."
posted by fionab at 5:16 PM on March 18, 2006

Y'know, I've been thinking my next mix cd would be bug related. Please post your final list here!

Here's a few. Sorry that there's only two that meet your not-in-the-title criterium, but I'm with nylon in thinking maybe I got some to share you ain't found yet.

Quintron - Road Hog ("Bug attack on San Francisco..." etc.)
Half Japanese - Calling All Girls ("I got stuck by the love bee/He stuck his thing in me"
Stevie Wonder - Venus Flytrap and the Bug
Blondie - Attack of the Giant Ants
Disco Tex and His Sex-o-lettes - Hey There Little Firefly
James Brown - I Got Ants In My Pants (And I Just Want To Dance)
The Fall - Cyber Insekt
The Fall - Ladybird (Green Grass)
Bedhead - Lepidoptera
posted by hydrophonic at 5:24 PM on March 18, 2006

Here's link to a site that has TWO cassettes of songs almost exclusively about bugs and such, by an entomologist.
posted by QuasimodoJones at 5:50 PM on March 18, 2006

These have bugs in the titles, but they belong on the CD, and I bet Eothele's search didn't find them.

By the Jim Kweskin Jug Band:

Where Do The Flies Go In The Wintertime

Never Swat A Fly
Includes these deathless lyrics:

Don't step on an ant
In the middle of a plant
He may want to but he can't
The way I do with you

Never kill a bee
When he is going anywhere
You may be busting up
Some fantastic insect love affair
Be careful!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:02 PM on March 18, 2006

"Black Widow", by Michelle Shocked
posted by Guy Smiley at 6:10 PM on March 18, 2006

The traditional song "Froggy Went A-Courtin'," covered by Bob Dylan and many others, usually has a number of lyrics about insects. The song describes a wedding of a frog and mouse:

"What will the wedding supper be?
Fried mosquito and a black-eyed pea."

And many of the wedding guests are insects:

"First to come was a little grey moth,
She laid out the table cloth.
Next to come was a juney bug,
She brought in the water jug.
Next to come was a broke-back flea,
Danced a jig with a bumble bee..."

posted by ROTFL at 6:14 PM on March 18, 2006

Don't miss Of Montreal's "Happy Yellow Bumblebee" (off The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy):

That makes me a happy yellow bumblebee,
all my friends are beetles and centipedes
and all summer long we laugh and we play,
but we don't talk to spiders because they're mean and they try to trick us,
because they want to eat us..
posted by Gortuk at 6:16 PM on March 18, 2006

The Cure: Lullaby:

on candystripe legs spiderman comes
softly through the shadow of the evening sun
stealing past the windows of the blissfully dead
looking for the victim shivering in bed
searching out fear in the gathering gloom and
suddenly! a movement in the corner of the
room! and there is nothing i can do when i
realise with freight that the spiderman is having
me for dinner tonight

And that's the cheery part of the song.
posted by crapples at 6:47 PM on March 18, 2006

Wire:I am the fly
Fad Gadget:Insecticide
and on a similar note
The Human League:Being Boiled
"Listen to the voice of Buddha
Saying stop your sericulture"
posted by Dr.Pill at 6:47 PM on March 18, 2006

White Noise: Here come the fleas

XTC: Summers Cauldron
(to wit)
Me I'm found floating round and round
Like a bug in brandy
In this big bronze cup
Drowning here in Summers Cauldron

Trees are dancing drunk with nectar
Grass is waving underwater
Please don't pull me out this is how I would want to go
Insect bomber Buddhist droning
Copper chord of August's organ
posted by The_Auditor at 7:01 PM on March 18, 2006

"High Hopes"

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time your gettin’ low
’stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant
posted by grumblebee at 7:21 PM on March 18, 2006

"Eric the Half-a-bee" -- Monty Python
Leader: Half a bee, philisophically,
Must ipso facto half not be.
But half a bee has got to be
Vis a vis it's entity.
-d'you see?
But can a bee be said to be
Or not to be an entire bee,
half the bee is not a bee,
Due to some ancient injury.
All sing: La di di, one two three,
Eric the Half a Bee.
A B C D E F G,
Eric the Half a Bee.
Leader: Is this wretched demi-bee,
Half asleep upon my knee,
Some freak from a mena
All yell: No! It's Eric the Half a Bee.
All sing: Fiddle di dum, fiddle di dee,
Eric the Half a Bee.
Ho ho ho, tee hee hee,
Eric the Half a Bee.
Leader: I love this hive employ-ee-ee,
Bisected accidentally,
One summer's afternoon by me,
I love him carnally.
All sing: He loves him carnally...
Leader: Semi-carnally.
The End.
Voice: Cyril Connolly?
Leader: No, semi-carnally.
Voice: Oh.
All sing: (Quietly)
Cyril Connolly
(Ends with an elaborate whistle)
posted by grumblebee at 7:24 PM on March 18, 2006

The Who: Boris the Spider
posted by substrate at 7:26 PM on March 18, 2006

Nobody Loves Me

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me
Guess I'll go eat worms.

Long, slim, slimy ones. Short, fat, juicy ones.
Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy, wuzzy worms.
posted by grumblebee at 7:38 PM on March 18, 2006

Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, "Burrow your way into my heart"

When you were a little girl you were stung by a wasp
And the skin on your arm puffed up and went red
Yet you so loved that wasp and all of his brothers that you
Brought the whole damn angry hive into your
Right into your bed

As a child you were riddled with ringworm
So your father cut them out of your skin
Then you felt so alone and remorseful
You tracked each little worm down and put them back in

Have you ever tried to neck with an earwig
Oh, your body is a home to your friends
You've a tick for each nipple and a leech for each finger
And a parasitic love that never ends

Do you have any love left for me
I'm small, but that's a start
Eat me up with your love
Burrow your way to my heart

posted by Eldritch at 7:38 PM on March 18, 2006

Pinball by Brian Protheroe.

Got fleas in my bedroom
Got flies in my bathroom
And the cat just finished off the bread
So I walk over Soho
And I read about Monroe
And I wonder was she really what they said

posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:38 PM on March 18, 2006

I know that the bug word is in the title so it doesn't technically meet the criteria of your question, but don't forget The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades by Sufjan Stevens. What an awesome song, and the whole thing is about a guy getting stung by a wasp. See lyrics here.
posted by crapples at 7:07 AM on March 19, 2006

Misfits - Them
Something wicked this way comes
Creepy crawling giant bugs

Misfits - Lost in Space
Communication's lost we crash to the earth
too late to see the giant Spider Monster giving birth
the future is here...and here is the future

Both songs have further mentions of bugs and spiders, but I just hit the highlights.
posted by raddevon at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2006

I thought of a few more:

James - Skullduggery ("An earwig crawled into my ear/Made a meal of the wax and hair/Phoned friends, had an insect party/But all I could hear was the bass drum drum")
The Magnetic Fields - 100,000 Fireflies
Moondog - Enough About Human Rights ("What about mite rights?/What about bee rights?/What about flea rights?/What about ant rights?")
Moondog - My Tiny Butterfly
The Aluminum Group - Mister Butterfly
Devendra Banhart - Lazy Butterfly
Devendra Banhart - Little Yellow Spider
Ron Hunt - Spiderap
posted by hydrophonic at 9:39 AM on March 19, 2006

this site lets you search inside song lyrics; searching for 'scorpions' finds 93 matches (I don't think I can link to the results directly, sorry), though I assume you'd have to scan through them to find out which ones 'prominently feature' them. Repeat for spiders, ants, or other terrestrial arthropods of your choice (me, I like chelicerates).
posted by primer_dimer at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2006

Alkaline Trio - Sleepyhead

("You're scratching at itching
brought by the spiders beneath your skin")
posted by Lotto at 11:00 AM on March 19, 2006

Acid Bath liked their insect references:

From "The Blue":

We twist beneath forever
Cause do you know what you've done
Ants in the afterbirth
We're slugs under the sun

From "Dr Seuss is Dead":

A cloud of flies obscure the sun
A stone is dropped
A dream undone
Ripples grow and ride the tide
The dead thing crawls from deep inside

With it's dying Sour breath
The burning smell of insect flesh
Hungry things in circles crowd
Around TVs turned up too loud

From "God Machine":

Inject my stomach full of
Cockroach eggs
Their machine is coming carried on a million legs

From "Bleed me an Ocean":

Bleed me an ocean
As the blossom eats the butterfly

From "Graveflower":

Locusts swarm from open mouths
That sing thy kingdom come

From "Diab Soule":

With blood in my cum
In my heart the song plays on
The Insects Requiem

From "New Death Sensation":

Insects play their sunshine games
Splashing blood upon my soul

etc. etc., in addition to songs with insects in the title: "Scream of the Butterfly", "Cassie Eats Cockroaches" and "Locust Spawning".

Whether forcing your students to listen to Acid Bath will cost you your job, I can't say.
posted by nowonmai at 12:06 PM on March 19, 2006

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