TMBG Countdown #9: Fingertips

April 22, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 199

First release: Apollo 18, 1992

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

I was thirteen years old in 1992, a nerdy kid, and They Might Be Giants was one of the most fascinating things I’d ever encountered. Atop the list of weird and interesting things they did was “Fingertips,” 21 short songs, varying in length from 5 seconds to 20 seconds, piled up at the end of an album with a liner note that explained they were designed to scatter throughout the album when the CD was played on shuffle.

According to one interview, John Linnell says they were inspired by late-night informercials advertising “oldies” record collections, in which tiny segments of dozens of songs might play. People knew those songs only by those tiny snippets of their choruses, so the band decided to write a suite of songs that existed only as choruses.

Nowadays, of course, the most common way I listen to music is to put my entire library on shuffle, so tracks from “Fingertips” will be interspersed with all of my music–popping up between, say, a Gilbert and Sullivan patter track and a 50 Cent song from the early 2000s–instead of just Apollo 18.

Alex says: What can be said about this monster? She is beautiful.

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