Thing a Week 26 – Re Your Brains

ByJoCo March 24, 2006

If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that being trapped in a mall surrounded by a million zombies would be really troublesome. But how much more annoying would it be if the head zombie used to be your co-worker, and he was kind of a prick even before he got infected? And now he’s right outside and he just keeps talking and talking – still the same jackass, only now he wants to eat your brains?

Also, for those of you who only see this feed, I should alert you that there is now an option to purchase a subsc ription for Thing a Week if you like. Click here for details:

Re Your Brains

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Paul says

Cool, everyone getting together for a little brainstorming.

If my co-workers became zombies I'm not sure I would be able to tell the difference.

Len says

Mr. Coulton:

A Catchy Zombie song. My God man, is there anything you can't do?

You had me at "feast on my flesh".

Love it.

Rob says

Absolutely great! One of my favorites. I love the chorus of zombies, reminds me of a great drunk sing-along. Also my new favorite rhyme is 'compromise' and 'eat your eyes'

dj pie says



AiYume says

And I just watched Shaun of the Dead again last weekend. Great work, JC.

mattie says

A Coulton Classic. I love the line "We’re not unreasonable, I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes".
So much classy, classy awesomeness. Thank you!

owl waxer says

Fantasticle! Thank you for another great song, JC!! WOO!!!!

John Trussell says

I'm sitting in a cubicle right now, having just completed a lunch meeting (on the heels of the third (yes, that's right, third) project status meeting of the week... and I'm having to resist the urge to blast this on my laptop speakers.


(Though the "Re:" in the title should really have a colon. Just sayin'. :)

Robthar says

Man, that guy is brutal. Isn't it bad enough that you're gonna eat his brains, but you gotta talk him to death first??

I'm reminded of a Simpsons moment:
"Dad, you shot zombie Flanders!"
"Flanders was a zombie?"

John Trussell says

" gotta talk him to death first?"

It's all about *process*. Maybe wandering the halls, crashing down doors at random, and eating the brains of helpless co-workers without any sort of dialogue worked in the '90s, but the marketplace has changed. In the new economy, it's a much more undead-dog-eat-dog-brains marketplace. Competition for the grey matter has never been higher, and it's much harder to find quality brains to devour.

And don't get me started about offshore outsourcing.

I don't know if you're working out, Robthar. I think it's time to sit down for a performance review. If you'll just open the door...

Jason T says

hey someone mentioned this song on the Stephen King website. Expect to get a few more hits then normal. If you really want to make some money do a song with King's character Roland in it. You will make a fortune. I think the song should spound like the Bad Company song.

J. F. says

Wow -- it's remniscent of your earlier jems such as De-Evolving; great job!

Mike Muller says

Man, was that somehow related to Great song.

Bob says

Wow. I mean... wow. Another instant JC classic!

I worked with a lot of guys just like that... you know, back when I had a job. :-(

Deadlytoque says

This song is amazingly funny.

Honestly, if Romero's original "Dead" movies were satires of the consumer culture of their time, then this ranks up their on that same classic level as a satire of today's office culture.

Which I guess means that you need to make a bunch of sequels that slowly lose the point, and that you can expect somebody to do an ultra-violet remake in about 20 years that doesn't quite get it, and your song will become such a major cornerstone of a new genre (Zombie-pop) that it will be itself parodied! Whew... that's a big burden to bear!

Deadlytoque says

err ultra-violent

Chipacabra says

I think I have a new favorite Thing a Week. Well played, sir. Well played.

deborah says

I've played this seven times since last night.

I think I'm in love.

Christian says

I now have a reason to get my video camera fixed: to make a video for this awesome song!
But, jesus christ, Jonathan, again with the hand claps?!

Lars nCompany says

Personally, I like the hand claps.

But yeah, I really like this one, especially the chorus (this was mentioned before, but the "no one's gonna eat your eyes" = awesome). I'm really starting to like Thing A Week, it usually takes me several listenings to decide whether I like a song or not, but now looking back, I think some of your best stuff has come out of this. Great job, keep it up.

Also, is J.F. who I think it is?

kp says

A song about zombies? Lampooning biz-speak? Beauty. Rapture. Joy.

Eat your eyes/compromise has replaced Norsemen/divorced men in the funniest rhyme category.

The zombie chorus is great, and the hand claps reinforce the mindless bloodthirst. (Though I am starting to wonder if you need to go to Hand Claps Anonymous.)


Eric Ginsberg says

Dude, the fucking chorus of zombies. Oh man. I'll be honest, a) I wouldn't have understood it as well if you hadn't explained it (which isn't as good) and b) this is the kind of song that lends itself perfectly to that idea about which you and I have been talking. I smell fan contest!

C Ya,

Randal C says

And I've posted a livejournal entry, which I should have done long ago, so you'll get TONS (okay, maybe three) more hits.

JohnBoze says

Got a defintite "I Am Legend" vibe off this, with zombies for the vampires, with the guy outside shouting his name to open the door?

You do know "I Am Legend," right?

kp says

You know, the more I listen to this track, the more I get the "Thriller" vibe off the handclaps. Maybe we don't need to send you to HCA.

There's also an "I Love Rock & Roll" and "We Will Rock You" vibe to that stuff. Were either of those playing when Laura went skating by? ;-)

Peace. -kp

IG-88 says

Wow, that song made my day. It totally rocked! Funny too! Keep up the good work!

JoCo says

Thanks all, I'm pretty happy with this one. Yes, the handclaps are becoming a problem. I'm going to need to get a talking drum (talking drum is to hand claps as methadone is to heroin). Thriller, I Am Legend, yep, they're all in there somewhere I'm sure. My favorite thing about this character is the way his zombie and corporate sides war for dominance - Tom, how about we compromise by EATING YOUR BRAINS!

Dennis Gray says

Please climb out of my head already! As a row crop in a cubicle farm, this strikes just a little too close to home, OK!

BTW: The double feeds are showing up twice in iTunes...I thought I was seeing double while the zombies chewed on my optic nerve.

Arlo says


Great song; definite earworm material, too. ("Earworm" takes on a whole new meaning when a catchy song is about zombies. Ew.)

Favorite lines:
But here's an FYI / You're all gonna die... screaming.
But Tom, that's what I do / and I plan on eating you... slowly.

I'm surprised that there hasn't been more commentary about the wonderfully apt music behind the lyrics! The beat is plodding, insistent, unchanging; the guitar solo actually sounds like something a zombie would play. Trying to interpret the meaning behind an artist's work can be a setup for embarrassment, but I can't imagine that those sorts of things weren't deliberate decisions.


Mr. Me says

I expect a music video for this on YouTube to appear *any second now*.

Luce says

Damn, just when I manage to get Skullcrusher Mountain out of my head, you come out with another one I walk down the street singing along to and getting very strange looks to. I can tell its gonna last a while...

Bob does kind of remind me of a boss I once had.

dragavan says

As somebody whom just recently discovered the mastery that is the music of Jonathan Coulton (thanks to a few podcasts I listen to) and instantly falling in love with some of the music, this song has beat them all aside as my favorite of the heap. I had to listen to this thing six times in the first hour I downloaded it. It's also already well entrenched in my iTunes top 40 most played songs list after this weekend. Keep up the great work.

New Orleans says

Another excellent tune! I do hear Weezer in their though, essence of "Beverly Hills." Not a problem though, because this is just a good damn song.

Zombie Squad says

The fellas over at love it. :)

JoCo says

Arlo's the only one who gets me man...

John McMullen says

I'll just point out that Matheson's I Am Legend was one of the inspirations for Romero in creating the original Night of the Living Dead.

And yes, I like this a great deal.

As I like all of the songs I've found by you, Mr. Coulton.

Jenny says

Yay for the zombies! And (yay for the guy from German who used the word "frelling" I want to compile a list of sci fi swear words)
I've turned you on a a local friend of mine and this song made me giddy when I thought about forwarding the link to her. She never remembers names, though, and just refers to you as the "fucking outside," guy. Lol!

Lurker says

This song is brilliant and funny, and the music and singing are top notch as well! Never been here before, just followed a link from friends.

Tree House Concerts says

Good this came out!

Google Maps for Zombies

Ryan says

An instant classic, and a reminder that there are not enough zombie songs out there. Cause zombies have feelings too.

Fwahobadagadz says

This has gotta be one of my favorite songs you've done. This just rules!! It's probably already made it onto my most played list on iTunes. Like Skullcrusher Mountain (another favorite), it follows the life of a guy who seems like a good guy at times, but then comes out with a line like "We'll put this thing to bed / when I bash your head... open". Hysterical!

One thing I still don't get though is the title. What's it mean?

Michael says

Another corporate fixture: the memo, complete with subject line that begins "Re: ".

Michael says

The handclaps work fine here. And hey, there's precedent...


Jennifer says

This is too effing awesome to even articulate. Why you haven't yet made a kazillion dollars off of songs like this is one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. JC, you are amazing!

angilas42 says

My personal favorite of all the songs of yours I've heard, probably since I have an unreasonable obsession with the undead.

I'm working a video of sorts using random pictures of businessmen, clips from Dawn of the Dead and Evil Dead 2-3, cards from Twilight Creation's brilliant "Zombies!!!" board game and possibly Return of the Living Dead. It'll probably suck since I've never tried anything like this before but, meh.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to support you financially at all, but I have no steady source of income.

Lisa says

Damn, I'm gonna be singing that chorus all month.

Bhryn says

I can stop singing this - and neither can any of my friends. Guess we're zombies then...

Bhryn says

Fneh - and clearly being a zombie has eaten my typing skills - Can't!!! *

Michael says

You know, Coulton, you've ruined me.

Never again will I be able to go to my boss and say, "John, let me pick your brain about--" I shall freeze in mid-sentence, this goofy grin will creep onto my face, and I shall promptly collapse onto the floor in paroxysms of hysterical giggling, and I'll be fired on the spot, and they'll come, and they'll tie me up, and they'll take me away, and my wife will be left penniless, and my dog will starve, and it'll be ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!!

So there.

Mark says

*hysterical laughter* “We’re not unreasonable, I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes”. *more hysterical laughter*

Eli says

I want to wish the above guy with the video software luck. This really does need a music video. I'm picturing something along the lines of a zombie "We are the World." You know, with thousands of zombies in a show of solidarity, holding hands and swaying, possibly a few raising lighters.

Paul says my favorite tune since Code Monkey. Perhaps a funny video could be made from Shaun of the Dead clips.

Bravo Sir, Bravo

Monkey says

Just saw this on YouTube. Freaking hilarious.

My Mommy says

dude ....

someone mentioned the chorus reminded them of a drinking song .... thats what WE'VE been doing!!!!

better than any crap on the radio these days, so go get paid, man, PAID!!!

Prospero says

Hey, Re: Your Brain was featured in the german Podparade - - a chartshow for podsafe music. It's a really good show bye the way, you can register there and vote for you favourite song. (And of course I voted for you. :-)) Let's see if the song will be featured in the regular charts. I hope so.
Ad Astra

Destin says

Hey, great job at the Bookeaters benefit concert last night! I'm glad you've still got this song available for download, as it was one of my favorite surprises of the night. I only knew your Baby Got Back cover and the Hobo Names collaboration, but now I've got to check out the rest of this site.

Peter da Silva says

Best comment: "It’s all about *process*. Maybe wandering the halls, crashing down doors at random, and eating the brains of helpless co-workers without any sort of dialogue worked in the ’90s,..."

OK, I liked Code Monkey. A lot. But the way it turned out was a downer and, you know, I've been on bot sides of the code-monkey-rob discusison and I've really wanted to tell some idiot whose code wasn't functional or elegant to get out of my fucking way so I can write a login page that doesn't suck... or equivalent.

Actually, I've DONE that, but rewriting some guy's code into 1/4 the lines and having it work better then having him hammered on code review because he didn't understand his code is a bummer too.

But, man, this just blows Code Monkey away. Best corporate song of all time. I'm picturing one of the guys from Dilbert with "manager hair" as the zombie...

Randi says

I know this is late, but I heard this on Bob and Tom and OMG, you rock. Zombie song = love.

Peter da Silva says

Hey guys. Play this back-to-back with and really get a good bouncy its-the-end-of-the-world-and-I-feel-fine mood going. :)

lineage2 says

Just saw this on YouTube. Freaking hilarious.

The_Zarum (JR) says

Did you really write that? Its sort of incredible....almost like the hulk, but zombified.

The only comment i can really leave about this is....awesome...and i never say awesome...honestly, never.

So i shall say it again, with an added noun. That was awesome dude.

Pete says

My friend had this played at his wedding last week. We his friends were all shambling around the dancefloor, but I'm not sure what the parents' generation made of it all :-)

Michael M. Butler says

I'm with Arlo (no, this is not a suckup). That relentless pedestrian chorus up against the syncopation of the bridge lyric, with the trailing "weak" / grace notes at the end delivering quiet killer punches to the funny bone...

It's anthemic... almost "We Will Rock You" for the office-zombie-vs-ex-co-worker-mall-refugee WORLD. That being your world, I must say, which we just live in.

Only it's better than that, because typical zombies just sing the chorus of "We Will Rock You," with no lyric at all, because that's all they can keep in what's left of _their_ brains. Substituting "Eat" for "Rock", I mean. Boooring. And don't get me started on when they sing "100 Gobbets of Brain in the Mall".

barbara trumpinski-roberts says

Hi...just wanted to tell you that I found your site because wil (OMG) wheaton referenced this song but I would have found you anyway because I have your name on a sticky note on my google page because someone else (and I have no idea who) suggested your work.

John Stracke says

I tried the "Buy the song" link, but got an error message: "There is a problem with the link used. Please contact the site administrator.".

Joei says

Heard this in NC on 88.1's halloween show. Nearly died. Heard it again on the Phantom Frequency radio show, and found out who you were. This is godly.

karen-the-great says

your song makes me happy: that pretty much sums it up. Thanks!

Steve says

Just one thing that i have to throw in with this song:

Greg T says

Typed in "eat your brains" at yahoo and got these sponsor reults...

Eat Your Brains
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Latest Styles & Fashion. Eat Your Brains on Sale. your message here...

Pippin says

Hey everyone my friend Craig and I made a video for RE: Your Brains for MVI. It aired on Zombie beach night July 27 at the Beach Theatre in St. Pete Beach, Fl during Interchangeable Parts performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. here's the link

Zamfr says

There's a world event going on in World of Warcraft right now where zombies are invading the world. Lots of people are quoting this song in game and in forums. Simply a fantastic piece of work sir.

Mark R says

From the moment my friend Ross sent me the link to a video of this on YouTube, I have been hooked. It was my introduction to Jonathan Coulton, and damn, I found someone who is just like me except for having talent. I do chemistry songs (check out Gadjitfreek on YouTube), but I can't play an instrument to save my life (should that actually come down to it). This is great stuff.

wow says

i realy need the words of the song some1 pls link site with them

Spazturtle says

SOOOOO GOOD, this is now used in a Level in Left 4 Dead 2 in a bar

Melody says

My friends and I went door to door singing this last Halloween. It was very fun.

MoFaFeng says

l like the song....

casco says

love that song ,heard it first time on l4d2 .it's just like a movie is starting in my head when i'm listening.great job

nikitafullmoon says

Yay! heard this on L4D2. So glad I found where to get it. Love it!

GZ says

Thanks to Molly Lewis I found you. Thanks to you (via "Still Alive", via Portal) I found Molly Lewis. This is a great song. One of my favorites!