First release: They Might Be Giants [AKA “The Pink Album”], 1986
(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)
I have a confession: This song almost came in at #1, but I made a last-minute change on Sunday night while watching the band perform at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. To me, this is a defining work of art, the quintessential They Might Be Giants song, featuring the famous lyric that perhaps best encapsulates the band, played over an upbeat melody of course:
No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful
If there is one thing most fans would say defines They Might Be Giants, it is upbeat melodies with lyrics like that.
And I’m far from the only one who’s carried those lyrics. It’s Sarah Vowell, I believe, who cites that lyric in the 2002 documentary Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns to illustrate the band’s unique outlook, and in his 2011 novel Ready Player One, Ernest Cline uses that first line as a character’s passphrase.