TMBG Countdown #7: James K. Polk

First release: Factory Showroom, 1996

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

Have I mentioned that I tend to favor the nerdiest songs?

A muscial summation of the presidential career of our 11th Chief Executive, “James K. Polk” manages to work in a singing saw solo and surprising historical accuracy. Like”Mammal,” this is a song I suspect more than one fan has used to pass an exam at some point.

Written by John Linnell with the help of a childhood friend, and inspired by a discussion of “little-known presidents” and the desire to write a song that was solely based in fact, “James K. Polk” was originally intended as a B-side (according to TMBW) but grew in popularity with hardcore fans and made its way onto Factory Showroom. Played live, the song often features confetti cannons, which… really, what more do you want?

Alex says: This is why TMBG are the only band that I know of, besides Neutral Milk Hotel, to really make a singing-saw track work in a song. Also, it’s a brief history of one of nations greatest orators.


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