Apparently my weekends are a time for reconnecting with bands I hadn’t spent any time with for a while. This weekend I found myself returning to the lovingly weird embrace of John Flansburgh and John Linnell, otherwise known as They Might Be Giants. TMBG was a sizable chunk of my junior high and high school musical buffet, and I can blame later obsessions with Beck (aka the Art School TMBG) and the Flaming Lips squarely on the shoulders of the two Johns’ eclectic genre smashing and lyrical weirdness.
This weekend’s obsession kicked off in a weird way, as someone sent along a link to the current Dunkin Donuts ad campaign clips (thanks, jerk), and I realized that the dominant male voice on the ‘Fritalian’ jingle sounded more than a little familiar. Well, sure enough it’s John Flansburgh (along with his wife Robin Goldwasser). TMBG is responsible for all the jingles from the ‘America Runs on Dunkin‘ campaign, which kinda makes me hate them a little bit. Oh, well…. if rage inducing commercials* are what it takes to make me go back and reconnect with a band that meant so much to me in high school, so be it.
We’ll start off this little traipse down memory lane with the tune that got me started down the long and goofy path that was TMBG fandom, ‘Don’t Let’s Start’ from their 1986 full-length debut, They Might Be Giants. My best pal Andy was responsible for the exposure, as it was impossible to go anywhere with him without having this tape blasting through the stereo.
A quick note: For the most part I never liked TMBG’s videos, as they seemed (to me, at least) like the result of two guys who really didn’t want to make videos. That said, I still love these tunes…
More TMBG goodness after the jump.
*Seriously. I hate those commericals. It seems odd (and decidedly crass) to mock the naming culture of espresso drinks yet still refer to your own as ‘lattes’, which at least check wasn’t exactly English based.
Next up we’ve got the still-capable-of-inducing-seizures video for ‘Ana Ng’, the tune that came maddeningly close to top ten charting on the Modern Rock Tracks Chart (it tapped at 11), but was certainly #1 in my head for a long long time.
And of course, I have to give a little love for Flood, which was effectively the soundtrack for the last half of my junior year of high school. So take a moment to appreciate that blue canary in the outlet by the light switch with:
I’m still in awe that ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ managed to hit #3 on the Modern Rock Singles chart. What a gloriously goofy tune to get so high in a year dominated by stuff like Bell Biv Devoe (aw, yeah..Poison!), Wilson Phillips, and Madonna.
I stopped keeping track of TMBG roughly around 1998’s Factory Showroom, but that was more due to a seriously consuming involvement with local music than any failing on TMBG’s part. But seeing as they can still grab my attention 10 years later, I think I’ll be checking up on all that I’ve missed.