With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
These lines are totally discombobulating—which is certainly the point.
Right away, this song throws us off balance. We're upside down, our head is collapsing, and we don't even know what it means to try and spin a "trick." The song hasn't yet asked, "Where is my mind?" but we already know it's not where it's supposed to be.
Songwriter Frank Black has said that he doesn't think too much about what's being said in his songs, but rather strings together words and syllables that sound good together and come naturally. We believe him.
Still, these lyrics aren't totally random gibberish. They definitely give us a sense of disorientation and confusion, but it's because they're talking about disorientation and confusion, not because they're throwing out incomprehensible lines.
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimmin'
This experience is getting weirder.
It sounds like the speaker is having something like an out-of-body experience—except that, instead of feeling like his mind is looking back at his body from the outside, his body is looking out at his mind.
Not all of us can relate to the exact experience that the song describes, but this song has enjoyed tremendous popularity, and these lyrics are certainly part of the reason for that. We're willing to bet that you've asked yourself a version of the question "Where is my mind?" at some point in your life.
Despite its weirdness, then, this track hits on a universal experience: questioning what you can really know about your own thoughts, where they come from, and why it's possible to feel like things just don't make sense.
I was swimmin' in the Caribbean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
This is one of the few Pixies lyrics that can be traced directly to an experience of Frank Black's.
Frank Black said in 1997 that this lyric "came from me snorkeling in the Caribbean and having this very small fish trying to chase me. I don't know why—I don't know too much about fish behavior" (source).
Neither do we, but we can see how that experience could be a memorable one.
Bump into me
Swear he's tryin' to talk to me
Said wait, wait, wait...
Frank Black doesn't always enunciate clearly.
Take a look at a lengthy discussion of these lines on Frank Black's forum to see how many different interpretations people have come up with.
The band Nada Surf doesn't even bother to sing the last few words in its "Where Is My Mind?" cover. The official Pixies lyrics are some help, but they don't include the "wait, wait, wait," part, so we can't be entirely sure we've got that right.