Category: They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants – Miscellaneous T

ARTIST: They Might Be Giants 220px-Misc_t

TITLE: Miscellaneous T

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: These were single B-sides or remixes for singles

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Kiss Me Son of God, The World’s Address, (She Was a) Hotel Detective, Don’t Let’s Start – all of these in their singles remixes

LINEUP: John Flansburgh, John Linnell, and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: B-sides and a new track released as a good-bye to their independent label.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is a compilation of all of the B-sides recorded and (mostly) released for their Restless Records singles.

It shows the group as profilic, and as always, a good imitator of genres on all kinds of instruments. (“The Famous Polka” for one). As with any odds-and-sods collection, there are highs and lows, and they’re no different. However, for the most part these are enjoyable trifles and novelties. But there are definitely highlights – songs that could have been released on their own (at least I think so).

NOTES & MINUTIAE: In the UK, there was an earlier version that included all of the songs except “Hello Radio”. Also there’s a track of an answering machine conversation left on the bands Dial-A-Song.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE B+: “For Science”, “We’re the Replacements’, “It’s Not My Birthday”, “Birds Fly” are just examples of the tossed-off weirdness and wonder.

They Might Be Giants – Flood

ARTIST: They Might Be Giants 220px-Flood_album_cover

TITLE: Flood

YEAR RELEASED: 1990

CHART ACTION: #75 US, #14 UK

SINGLES: Birdhouse in Your Soul (#3 Alternative, #6 UK), Twisting (#22 Alternative), Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (#61 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Particle Man, They Might Be Giants

LINEUP: John Flansburgh, John Linnell, and a lot of people helping here and there with vocals and other instruments.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The major label debut by TMBG may be their peak in their original style and sound.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Songs? Arrangements? Clever and insightful lyrics? All here!

Hooks? Yeppers.

Fun? Satire? Tributes? Reinventions of classic songs? Oh, yes. 220px-TMBG-Flood-Vinyl

Any album that goes from the eclectic new wavish pop of “Birdhouse in Your Soul”, to the social commentary (serious) of “Your Racist Friend”, to the all-time mid-temp polka (I guess) “Particle Man”, and then later to the perfect western of “Minimum Wage”, is well worth the listen. Then all of the other tracks will open themselves up to you. Even with the oom-pahs, and boings, and other sounds. They’re all brilliantly arranged and inserted.

They probably peaked here. That’s OK. This is a definitive statement of…They Might Be Giants.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: UK producers Winstanley and Langer helped produce. 2/3 of the albums budget was used on four tracks.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A live bonus disc,

GRADE A+: “Hang on, hang on tightly…”

They Might Be Giants – Lincoln

ARTIST: They Might Be Giants TheyMightBeGiants-Lincoln

TITLE: Lincoln

YEAR RELEASED: 1988

CHART ACTION: #89

SINGLES: Ana Ng (#11 Alternative), They’ll Need a Crane, Purple Toupee

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Kiss Me Son of God, Santa’s Beard, The World’s Address

LINEUP: John Flansburgh, John Linnell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A few excellent singles turns more heads and boots them another level in popularity.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: As silly and fun as their songs are, They Might Be Giants understand pop music, hooks, and arrangements. They also understand moods and motifs. This is quite evident as you go through Lincoln, where each song is a stand-alone tribute or pastiche.

That can be risky if you don’t quite hit the marks, and on a few tracks TMBGs are off a bit, but then you have tracks like the singles, the other songs listed above, and weirdness like “Cage & Aquarium” and “Shoehorn with Teeth”. The use of a long conversation in “Snowball in Hell” is also effective. But a few tracks just don’t stand up.

Yet, this is a record you can just put on and enjoy the eclectic silliness.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Most of the weird sounds are from keyboards or drum programs.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a whole whole bunch of stuff in the Australian version.

GRADE A-: If you’re not feeling a certain song – just skip ahead and you’ll find a winner.

They Might Be Giants – They Might Be Giants

ARTIST: They Might Be Giants 220px-pinkalbum

TITLE:  They Might Be Giants

YEAR RELEASED: 1986

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Don’t Let’s Start, (She Was A) Hotel Detective

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Not from the radio

LINEUP:  John Flansburgh, John Linnell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album from whimsical duo shows their range and quirky sense of humor. 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: For a couple of years, the two Johns of They Might Be Giants recorded demos on off-hours at a studio, then when they were signed re-mixed and / or re-recorded most of those songs and came up with this album.

It was a revelation for those who don’t mind a bit of whimsy, and a bit of genre parody.

Utilizing accordions, cheap synthesizers, guitars, bass and other instruments, the duo put together 19 short-ish songs that covered any subject that seemed to come to mind. Filled with pop culture and references from their youth, all of the songs have a joy and brightness that to this day still fills you with smiles.

If silly isn’t your thing, don’t bother. But everyone needs to laugh once in a while.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the second album released on Bar None records.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, an entire bonus disk of material for their Australian audience.

GRADE: A: Laugh, would you?