TMBG Countdown #8: Subliminal

First release: John Henry, 1994

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

As the first track on the first They Might Be Giants album to feature a full band, “Subliminal” is a powerful proclamation of what the band has become: It starts with a simple accordion riff, playing solo for two measures as a nod to where they came from before the rest of the band joins, kicking off the new era.

It’s a simple song, not one they play live with particular frequency, but I think it’s unappreciated, and it’s the opener of my favorite TMBG album.

Alex says: One of the things I always loved about TMBG songs is how they’ll take something horrific / traumatic and plop it, matter-of-factly, into the lyric. “as I got hit by a car…. / as I went through the windsheild” … that absurd, dark humor is one of the things that makes this song and so many others.


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