TMBG Countdown #1: Ana Ng

First release: Lincoln, 1988

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

I had this song at a lower position at first, but near the end of Sunday night’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg I realized it could only come in at #1.

Ana Ng is a basically perfect song, about two people who might be in love, except for the globe that has kept them from ever meeting.

Inspired by a 1950’s Pogo cartoon by Walt Kelly, the opening lines of the song (“Make a hole with a gun, perpendicular to the name of this town in a desktop globe / exit wound in a foreign nation, showing the home of the one this was written for”) is one of my favorite things the band has ever written.

The song is a live standard, performed (according to TMBW) more than 600 times in a little under 30 years, and while it may not be your choice for number one, it’s inarguably an example of the band at their very best.

Alex Says: For years, I was convinced that the guitar on this track was some sort of Synthesizer… young ears, I suppsoe. it’s just that TMBG are so crafty, and the sound was not the typical distorted guitar that I was used to hearing on records of the time… Which really is saying something: They were really putting together textures in their music that suited their songs and their style… regardless of whether or not the sounds fit the popular mold.


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