Tapioca Tundra

Album: The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees (1967)
Charted: 34

Songfacts®:

  • Mike Nesmith wrote this song inspired by a large collection of old 45 records from the '20s and '30s he purchased at a yard sale. Along with "Magnolia Simms," this was a tribute to the ragtime and jazz of the '20s, even going so far as recording using gramophone technology to mimic the echo and the skipping of an old recording. It was also the basis for Nesmith's first major solo project in 1968, The Wichita Train Whistle Sings. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brian - Providence, RI
  • The title is not mentioned in the lyrics. Mike Nesmith had a habit of doing this a lot on his compositions ("Papa Gene's Blues," "Auntie's Municipal Court," "Daily Nightly," etc.). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Barry Kesten - Bellmore, United States

Comments: 14

  • Hal from Los GatosI may have some excerpts of these lyrics on my epitaph. They're enchanting. Remember Yeats: "Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by!"
  • Randall from Las VegasNez rejoined the band in 2012, 2013 and a couple of appearances in 2016. During those shows he mentioned that the song was about the fans. He said he noted that he could perform but in the end the translation of the song, the music, etc. would be in the lap of the listener. "It cannot be a part of me for now it's part of you." He also occasionally performs this much slower and with only an acoustic guitar.
  • Richard Pandolfo from NcI think "Tapioca Tundra" is Nesmith's worst effort as a vocalist and songwriter. To me, this track sounds like it was done badly on purpose, strictly as a joke. From start to finish, the song is plagued with unnecessary stupidity, ranging from off-key whistling in the intro to, worst of all, Nesmith's HORRIBLE moaning and groaning at the end. It sounds like someone falling to his death. This was totally uncalled for and it sounds terrible, especially in stereo. As for the rest of the song, Nesmith staggers through the verses and choruses sounding like a drunken, babbling idiot. The lyrics are absurd and so is the title (how on earth could a faded dream be saddened by news?!)
  • - from ----, AfghanistanI don't think this song has any sexual connotations at all. A group whose main fan base at the time would be teenagers, aren't going to write songs with sexual connotations like the commentator at the top says. I think he's over thought the lyrics some what.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxOne of Mike's many songs where the title appears nowhere in the lyrics. He said he did that to get under people's skin a bit.
  • David from Boerne, TxI think "Tapioca Tundra" has a sexual connotation. As in: semen ejaculated onto pubic hair... "tapioca" into "tundra". "It cannot be a part of me for now it's part of you."
  • George from Belleville, NjI remember having the original 45 single back in the 60's.I always thought this was a weird but interesting record.I think it is a briiliant idea for a pop song.Music was more inovative and creative back then.This is another example.A very entertaining tune.
  • Sean from Chicago, IlOK, are we listening to the same "Tapioca Tundra"?? I've never heard a version of it with hiss and scratch...I think you're all thinking of "Magnolia Simms."
  • Dennis from Kalamazoo, MiI remember listening to this on '45 as a kid (I still have it, too!), and wondering what the heck it was about - and I loved the descending "ah" in the coda. Considering the context of the Monkees, this song was almost as "psychedelic" as "I am the Walrus."
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxI love the old hiss and scratch on this song - I love old jazz and ragtime and band music too.
  • Amy from Rockville Centre, NyThere are songs like "Circle Sky" from the Head Soundtrack that do mention the song title
  • Mike from Escondido, CaSadly, the Monkees will never be recognized as producing progressive music, like "Tapioca Tundra."
    Their resume is full of gems such as "Randy Scouse Git," "Aunties Municipal Court," and the "Head" soundtrack, just to mention a few.
  • Anna from Berkeley, CaWhile "waiting ghosts" might make a lovely lyric too, "waiting hopes cast silent spells" really is the original. Nez does kind of a guttural thing on the 'h' that makes it a little hard to hear.
  • Cheryl from Hollywood, FlShouldn't the lyrics in the first verse read, "Waiting ghosts cast their silent spells?" (Referring to the 'ghosts' of the music of 'yesterday?')? Just a guess, here...
see more comments

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