365 Day Song Challenge: Day 153 – “32 Footsteps”

Day 153: A favorite weird song (with strange, nonsense, or non-sequitur lyrics).

“32 Footsteps” – They Might Be Giants

They Might Be GiantsI 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.” Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 149 – “James K. Polk”

Day 149: A song that features an unusual instrument.

“James K. Polk” – They Might Be Giants

James K. PolkI have an affinity for American History. I like history in general, and—get this—I’m American. I know, it’s way out there, but there you go. And, can you believe this? I’m also interested in Presidential history!

That said, pretty much everything I know about James K. Polk I learned from this They Might Be Giants song. Which is sad, really. But true. There’s this gap in the early- to mid-1800s where things just get fuzzy in terms of the presidency, at least for me. James K. Polk falls into the “fuzzy zone.” Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 131 – “I Should Be Allowed To Think”

Day 131: A song that has a lyric, that if you were one of those people that tattooed song lyrics on themselves, you would seriously consider.

“I Should Be Allowed To Think” – They Might Be Giants

TMBGHeavenI’m not sure I understand the purpose of today’s challenge. (My current consumption of DayQuil could be hindering that understanding, but I doubt it.) Because, if you were the type of person that tattooed song lyrics on themselves, you’d have probably already done it. And if you’re not, you probably haven’t considered it at all.

Since I have never really understood the draw of tattoos, I definitely fall into the latter category. I have no problem with people getting them, I just don’t get why you would want to.

If I wanted to be snarky, I could say something like “The Brazilian” or “Feels So Good.” (They’re instrumentals.) But that wouldn’t really fulfill the challenge, now, would it? Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 94 – “Birdhouse In Your Soul”

Day 94: Your favorite song that starts with the letter “B”.

“Birdhouse In Your Soul” – They Might Be Giants

Birdhouse In Your SoulI’m a little shocked it took me 94 days to get to a They Might Be Giants song. But it was worth the wait.

(Let’s do a little administrative work here: from this point on, “They Might Be Giants” will be referenced as TMBG. There’s no need to type that out longhand more than I have to.)

I have made reference to a TMBG song before. And, there were any number of their songs that were in the running for both favorite song of the 80s and favorite of the 90s. But, I’m sorta glad that it worked out this way.

TMBG are one of my favorite bands, but like many people, the path to fandom wasn’t necessarily a direct one. My friend Kris introduced me to them back around 1992, I think. He played their debut, self-titled album for me. And, I had what appears, after consultation with other fans, to be a typical progression to fandom:

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After that, it’s pretty much all over. Listen #5 is typically followed at some point by “I really like these guys,” “This is really cool,” and no matter how adamant you think you are on listen#4, purchases follow. (And, since TMBG has been around since 1986, there are myriad purchases to be made.)

“Birdhouse In Your Soul” comes from their 1990 album Flood, which I still believe to be their best album. Flood and Apollo 18 represent their two-man peak (they started as a two piece with lots of drum machines and sequencing, but eventually expanded to be a full band).

Blue Canary In The Outlet By The LightswitchThe song tells the story (sort of) of a night-light shaped like a blue canary. (I have one myself. And you can too! It looks like the picture to the left.) He talks about all kinds of things, and he does it in a very, very catchy way. “Birdhouse In Your Soul” is TMBG’s highest-charting single, even to this day, and there’s good reason for it.

Flood is also home to a brilliant cover of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” “Particle Man” and the classic “Minimum Wage.” So many good songs in so little time. You knew even then it would be hard to top.

As you might expect (and as will probably become a habit once again as we start to go through the letters of the alphabet here on a pretty regular basis) there are some runners-up:

So there are my favorite “B” songs. It was actually kind of tough to narrow it down.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to do something about a little bird that’s stalking me…