300 Songs, and 20 or 30 of them are pretty good!
I have a feeling that this article is going to bring hours of joy to our household. T and I were discussing the other day that K (our 11 year-old) is probably ready for They Might Be Giants now. I’ll never forget the genuine geek thrill of discovering TMBG’s first record via a blurb in Rolling Stone [An important aside: really the only way that anything approaching cool entered into my early teens was through my Aunt Liz’s subscription to RS. Other rock and roll publications existed at the time — Creem, for instance — but only RS appeared in our our sleep little East Tennessee town. Thank you Aunt Liz, God, and Jan Wenner.].
I can’t find the actual RS piece highlighting TMBG’s signing (it was probably 1985), but the quote was something like, “We’ve written over 300 songs, and 20 or 30 of them might be good.” I found that both unbelievable and hilarious. Little did I know that they were being honest.
John T bought that first cassette — I almost alway had to rely on JT to actually buy the records we both were craving, as his Dad (despite being a hardcore bluegrass record and live tape collector) felt that any music was good music [I don’t know if he would’ve approved of VU or the Flaming Lips, but he funded their purchase. John T’s Dad also had a killer dubbing system — record to tape, tape to tape, reel to reel, etc. I have a boxful of old TDK’s just bursting with awesomeness.] Between the ridiculous song titles, the glorious word-salad of the lyrics, and the stylistic mimicry, we were hooked.
My favorite TMBG’s song? While the songs on the debut have a big place in my heart, my #1 has to be “Birdhouse in Your Soul” from Flood.
Here’s UGO’s top 50. Spend a little time with They Might Be Giants today …
Over the last 30 years, They Might Be Giants have gone from an alternative, Brooklyn-based musical duo to one of the most influential rock bands of all time. They’ve dabbled in every genre, instrument and subject matter possible. We love’em – and that’s why we’re counting down our 50 favorites.