2015 will be the Year of Way Too Much They Might Be Giants*, as the band has announced no fewer than three new records, beginning with Glean on April 21, plus a nationwide tour, monthly shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and a new Dial-A-Song ditty each month through the end of the year! For those of us who can remember the dark, quiet days of the late 1990’s, this is a bonanza.
In honor of what might be the biggest year [see what I did there?] in the band’s recent history, I have decided to post a countdown of my favorite TMBG tracks, spanning the band’s long history. At first this was to be a top-20, but when that cut felt too difficult I decided on a top 26, which will take us through the end of April. Everything the band has recorded is fair game, excluding the new Dial-A-Song entries, which I haven’t absorbed enough yet to include in my rankings.
* Just kidding, there’s no such thing.
To help, I’ve recruited a few fellow fans [side note: How do TMBG fans not have a collective name yet? Shouldn’t we be “Puppetheads” or something?] who will comment on my picks:
Alex Dingley is a Philadelphia-based musician and good friend who has been following TMBG since the early 90s. His first concert was at the Trocadero on December 30, 1995. “They joked that they had a NYE show the next night,” He remembers. “‘and you’re all invite!!! No wait… nevermind, don’t come; that won’t work.'”
Patrick Keelty is my brother, and has been following They Might Be Giants since around the time I first brought home Flood. His comments will likely focus on mocking me.
As for me? I discovered TMBG at my CTY summer nerd camp in 1991, when tracks from Flood were in regular rotation at our weekend dances. Yes, you read that right–nerd camp had dances, and they played They Might Be Giants. This was only a few months after the famous Tiny Tunes Adventures episode, that introduced so many kids to TMBG and which I later caught in reruns. My first live show wasn’t until ten years later, at the Electric Factory in November of 2001. Afroman and the Moldy Peaches opened. It was quite a night.
We’ll start the countdown tomorrow, revealing one ranking each day through the end of April. You can bookmark this page, which will be updated with the full listings as they are announced.
One last note of gratitude to This Might Be a Wiki, which is an invaluable source for creating a list like this one, and has served me well for years when I wanted to learn more about TMBG songs, various fan interpretations, and chord structures–as well as keep track of what concerts I attended and when. If you’re a fan and you haven’t been over there, I highly recommend it.
26. Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal (1989)
25. Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head (1986)
24. Spiraling Shape (1996)
23. Spoiler Alert (2011)
22. Hollywood (Venue Song) (2004)
21. Robot Parade (2000)
20. Older (1999)
19. I Should Be Allowed to Think (1994)
18. Withered Hope (2007)
17. Hotel Detective Suite (1986-2006)
16. Cloisonne (2011)
15. Spider (1992)
14. Mammal (1992)
13. When Will You Die (2011)
12. They’ll Need a Crane (1988)
11. Why Does the Sun Shine? (1993)
10. The End of the Tour (1994)
9. Fingertips (1992)
8. Subliminal (1994)
7. James K. Polk (1996)
6. Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (1990)
5. Science is Real (2009)
4. Disappointing Show (2001)
3. Don’t Let’s Start (1986)
2. Birdhouse in Your Soul (1990)
1. Ana Ng (1988)