TMBG Countdown #14: Mammal

April 17, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 193

First release: Apollo 18, 1992

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

It must be impossible to count the number of They Might Be Giants fans who have benefitted on science exams from memorizing the lyrics to this song. In my case it was a 9th grade question about whether mammals had nucleated red blood cells.

An evolutionary precursor to later science songs like “My Brother the Ape,” “Mammal” demonstrates the band’s knack for weaving obscure vocabulary into rhyme and meter, honoring our native class including “cousin” monotreme and “dead uncle allotheria.” For the many fans who first fell in love with Flood, this song was a big reason Apollo 18 felt like a worthy follow-up. I suspect most They Might Be Giants fans have a “Mammal” story.

Alex says: John Hobbs got extra credit in 10th grade science class for playing this song at end of the semester. I thought that it was total bullshit. I wrote a damn song about biology & chemistry for the same amount of extra credit.

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