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They Might Be Giants ~ Join Us [Feb. 1st, 2012|07:02 pm]
susan smitten

In time for the They Might Be Giants show at the Granada on Thursday, here are some of my thoughts on the latest album, Join Us.

1. Can't Keep Johnny Down
It's a good opening to the album. However, there are a few TMBG songs I think I would like better as instrumentals, and this is one of them. Musically it's lovely, but I could completely overhaul the lyrics.
Favorite lyric: "bathroom in his pants"

2. You Probably Get That a Lot

This is the one that made me laugh out loud. It's my favorite kind of absurdity.
Favorite lyric: "Although millions of cephalophores are walking past my door, they're invisible to me except for one cephalophore."

3. Old Pine Box
There is nothing wrong with this song. I think it's just about perfect, melodically and lyrically. It makes me sway and sing.
Favorite lyric: "you old paper hat on your skull full of bats"

4. Canajoharie
We all love this one, don't we? It was such a happy moment when this song hit in 2010. And now we can really hear it, and yeah, he really is saying things like "a fin reaching from the swamp" and "this baby tooth no longer fits in my skull." Fun!
Favorite lyric: "my arm was strong!" This may have something to do with slfcllednowhere! Also "I'm not insane."

5. Cloisonné

I don't know why this song exists, but I like it. The clarinet grabbed me right away. And now I know what a Quonset hut is.
Favorite lyric: "conversatin'"

6. Let Your Hair Hang Down
This song creeps me out.
Favorite lyric: "Let the wrong be wrong / would it be so bad? / when your hair's so long / when you look so sad."

7. Celebration
I feel like this song is a bit empty, but I like the beat. And Flansy's voice, of course.
Favorite lyric: I can't pick one. They aren't moving me.

8. In Fact
Who is this reminding me of? Maybe Cake, Motorcade of Generosity era? I like the Spanish sounding horns.
Favorite lyric: "I wanna find a softer spot for my crash landing"

9. When Will You Die

THIS SONG. THIS SONG! Doesn't it belong on John Henry? Where has it been all our lives? I feel like it's about the Gaddafis and Kim Jong Ils, the people you don't mean to wish harm, but as long as they go on, that question lingers... when will they die?
Favorite lyric: "And I'm John and he is also John and all of us are wondering when you're going to die!"

10. Protagonist
I just like the sound of this song. The finger snaps, Flansy backing himself up. I don't care what the lyrics are. I don't find them very memorable, honestly.
Favorite lyric: "for exposition I'm out here on my own."

11. Judy Is Your Vietnam
I feel like this song belongs on Mink Car. I like Mink Car.
Favorite lyric: "she's the storm before the calm"

12. Never Knew Love
Were they trying to make a Ween song?
Favorite lyric: "the mountainsides of daydreams too steep for me today"

13. The Lady and the Tiger
This may actually be my favorite song on the album. It's good in the way that Miscellaneous T and The Early Years stuff is good.
Favorite lyric: "Do you surmise it's wise / to have laser beams emitting from your eyes?"

14. Spoiler Alert

This would almost be my favorite song if it were easier to sing along to. I can't believe I'd even complain about that. I love it so much when John and John are singing together; their voices are lovely when they weave in and out of each other's.
Favorite lyric: "cover my eyes"

15. Dog Walker
Another song that reminds me of Ween. And that one riff reminds me of Weird Al singing "sign my poodle, s'il vous plait" in "Genius In France," which amuses me because of the dog theme.
Favorite lyric: "someday I'll be a dog"

16. 2082
I don't know. It's pretty, but isn't grabbing me. I like the number 3415.
Favorite lyric: "3415"

17. Three Might Be Duende
This is the one that keeps getting stuck in my head. It's old school, classic TMBG style, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it.
Favorite lyric: "like a bird with a dastardly egg"

18. You Don't Like Me
My first few listens, I thought this album was too negative, with titles like this one and "When Will You Die," and lyrics like "all of the dicks in this dick town." This song is growing on me, though. The line "I can read your mind" reminds me of Alan Parsons' "Eye in the Sky." And I like the idea that there is so much pleasure to be had from mystery and secret plans, except that, well, you don't like me. Who doesn't relate to that? Also, Woody Harrelson.
Favorite lyric: "cutting with a fork"

[User Picture]From: youngwilliam
2012-02-01 10:01 pm (UTC)
Some of my early heavy rotation ones were Protagonist (I have a thing for TMBG's "love gone horribly wrong" songs, like They'll Need a Crane or Lucky Ball & Chain), Lady and the Tiger (the ending always strikes me as unspeakably sad), 2082 (I also have a thing for their chipper-feeling but dark-concept songs), and You Don't Like Me (which fits both 'love gone wrong' and 'chipper but dark').

For some reason, You Probably Get That a Lot really didn't grab me until I heard the remix.
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2012-02-06 02:05 am (UTC)
"love gone horribly wrong" songs, like They'll Need a Crane or Lucky Ball & Chain
Those may be two of the greatest songs history ever recorded. If I put "Protagonist" into the context of "Lucky Ball & Chain," nothing bad could be said about it ever. "He pushed me out of frame..."
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[User Picture]From: youngwilliam
2012-02-06 07:43 am (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure why the breakup happened in "Protagonist" (all we can tell is that she was seeing some other man on the side before leaving the narrator), but I'm quite sure that the narrator is dead by the end of the song ("I need new head shots" seems a bit of a hint, as does the other man packing duct tape & rope).
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2012-02-07 01:02 am (UTC)
Wow. My mind had not gone there.
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[User Picture]From: vovat
2012-02-02 06:48 pm (UTC)
You need TWO people to properly sing along with "Spoiler Alert"!
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2012-02-06 02:05 am (UTC)
Join me!
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[User Picture]From: vovat
2012-02-06 04:11 am (UTC)
Is THAT why the album has that title?

For what it's worth, when I'm alone in my car and that song comes on, I usually just sing one part.
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2012-02-07 01:02 am (UTC)
My first thought was that the album was disjointed.

I'm listening to it now, on repeat, trying to sing one part. Not easy. I usually can't sing along with Linnell at all, because his voice is so far out of my range, but I almost can here. Fun, anyway.
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