Day 153: A favorite weird song (with strange, nonsense, or non-sequitur lyrics).
“32 Footsteps” – They Might Be Giants
I took some liberties with the order here. (As I’ve been known to do. Don’t tell.) Why? Because I have got a deal for you! No, it is not a bridge, or a set of Ginsu knives. It’s not even a pyramid scheme (oh, pardon me: multi-level marketing program).
No, it’s something for free. Like, really free. No strings attached. I received an email today from They Might Be Giants containing a special offer. And it relates to today’s song.
Now, narrowing down this post to one song was interesting, because if you’re familiar with the They Might Be Giants album (often referred to by fans as The Pink Album for its album cover) you’ll know that the entire album is pretty much all made up of “strange, nonsense, or non-sequitur lyrics.”
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They Might Be Giants and Lincoln, TMBG’s first two albums, featured a lot more wordplay in the lyrics than subsequent albums. These lyrics spawned all kinds of bizarre interpretations among the fan base. And, I have to admit, it was fun trying to a) figure out all the lyrics and b) try to figure out what the heck they meant.
Strange as the lyrics are, the album is worth listening to. Which brings me to the special offer.
The band is offering a live show where they played the entire album, in order. For free. And they want people to spread the word. So I am.
In the box below, you will find a link to the show. I’ve already downloaded the show, so I can assure you it’s legit. And, it makes a convenient (and free!) opportunity to discover the first They Might Be Giants album. (And as I documented here, that discovery may be a slippery slope to lifetime fandom. You have been warned.)
At any rate, I chose “32 Footsteps” because it’s always been among my favorites on the album. And, as I mentioned, the lyrics are pretty strange. Including, but not limited to, this particular section:
Fing fang fing-along, ging gang ging-along. hing hang hing-along hay
Jing jang jing-along, king kang king-along, ling lang ling-along lay
Ming mang ming-along, ning nang ning-along, ping pang ping-along pay.
So it certainly meets the topic’s qualifications. And yet, it works. It’s quirky and goofy and fun. And the whole album is like that. Except for “The Day,” which I’ve never really liked. However, “The Day” is more than offset by the brilliance that is “She’s An Angel” (which is actually my most favorite song on the album). It has its own set of strange lyrics:
But everyone was acting normal, so I tried to look nonchalant.
We both said “I really love you.” The Shriners loaned us cars.
We raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times.
Yes, it’s weird. But also awesome at the same time.
Seriously, check the show (and thus, by extension, the album) out. You have nothing to lose. You may be amused by it. You may hate it. (But everybody hates it the first time, so listen to it a second time.)
There, John and John, I’ve done my part.