June 18, 2002 7:59 AM   Subscribe

They Might Be Giants have a new album for kids and I can't wait to foist it on mine.
posted by engelr (33 comments total)
"Robot Parade" is annoying, but most of the other songs are TMBG gems. (my fave? "Four of Two") But, why no "Why Does the Sun Shine?"

I know it's been on other albums, but it's good and it bears repeating.
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 AM on June 18, 2002

I'm a big fan of "Why Does The Sun Shine?" and got a question about how far the sun is from the earth (or some other such tidbit from the song) and I won the game by knowing the words to that song. I like Four Of Two as well. I'm excited about this one because back back back back in the day I had many conversations with friends about TMBG and when they are going to put out a children's record. I'm glad they finally did. This will hold a special place on my CD shelf right next to Sesame Street Platinum.
posted by verso at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2002

My son and I heard some of the songs and the interview on NPR during the drive home yesterday. I think I was more excited about it than he was, but it sounds like a bunch of fun.
posted by groundhog at 8:33 AM on June 18, 2002

Not TMBG but if we're talking music for kids, this straddles the fine line between genius and idiocy. Like the site says "Don't leave your childs musical taste to chance - indoctrinate now"
posted by wassock at 8:34 AM on June 18, 2002

Fabulous. Just fabulous.
posted by Spoon at 8:50 AM on June 18, 2002

I just bought my "NO!" t-shirt... fun!
posted by TacoConsumer at 8:56 AM on June 18, 2002

Also, make sure to check out Chopping Block, the firm that does design for them. The song that plays is by TMBG.
posted by ColdChef at 9:02 AM on June 18, 2002

And speaking of rockin' music for kids, Dan Zanes (formerly of the Del Fuegos) has released two records for children on his label, festival five. Who needs Raffi, anyway?! :D
posted by metrocake at 9:29 AM on June 18, 2002

The Dan Zanes stuff is good. Buckwheat Zydeco has a kids album as well, which my two year old loves. No Raffi necessary, thankfully.

Here's a link to the Zydeco kids album, sorry if amazon links aren't cool
choo choo boogaloo
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 9:42 AM on June 18, 2002

Say Dan Zanes play a few weeks ago in Western Massachusetts. I could hardly believe that the last time I saw him play was probably 15 years ago at the Rat in Kenmore Square.

Definitely get Dan's record - it's way cool.
posted by dhacker at 9:48 AM on June 18, 2002

Yes!!TMBG kick ass!

I may go have some kids just so I can play them this album.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2002

Actually, best rock music for children(verified in two separate experiments by me and a freind) is the Ramones(esp. "Beat on the Brat") and Shonen Knife. I also remember a kid I babysat who was tickled to death by The Whos "Magic Bus". The part where Daltrey sings "I want it, I want it, I want it" just thrilled this kid for some reason.

Trust me on these recommendations. If some babysitter had played this stuff for me as a tyke I'd be a far better adjusted adult now.
posted by jonmc at 10:22 AM on June 18, 2002

The Rheostatics put out a CD in 1999 called The Story of Harmelodia. The CD itself is enclosed within a jewel case sized book, with a story and pictures. It is a wonderful childrens story and I love it too. As one reviewer said, it's good for children or stoned people.
posted by ashbury at 10:40 AM on June 18, 2002

I'm a long time TMBG listener, and I'm failing to see how this is a "album for kids". Its the same zany, nonsense they've always produced, some of which I love, some I can't stand.

Distortion guitar and the words, "No means No" isn't going to appeal to any of my nieces, let alone my whole family.

Veggie Tales is an album for kids!
posted by mad at 11:07 AM on June 18, 2002

My little Tova Rae loves to rock out to I think I smell a raaaaaaaaaat by White Stripes. Guess jonmc is right, kids like to bang their heads.
posted by engelr at 11:10 AM on June 18, 2002

They Might Be Too Good For Kids. At least, they were. Historically, the children's album is the last, desperate act of pathetically toothless, washed up performers dragged out of the gutter by bottom feeding, borderline bankrupt record labels. It is the career equivalent of being a part-time clown or balloon twister. Does TMBG fit in this category? Maybe. Let's face it, the boys haven't done anything much worth while since the masterpiece that was "Apollo 18". Ever since they hooked up with that band of second-rate NY club musicians, they've sounded awfully mortal. Okay, "Bangs" on the McSweeney's album was good, but that was just the two of them, wasn't it?
posted by Faze at 11:27 AM on June 18, 2002

Let's face it, the boys haven't done anything much worth while since the masterpiece that was "Apollo 18".

Oh, no, my friend. "SEXXY" "James K. Polk" "Snail Shell" Hell, almost everything on "Mink Car." TMBG have gotten better and better.

I've been a fan since the mid-eighties and I never cease to be amazed at the directions the allow themselves to go, while still staying true to their roots.

If nothing else, "Factory Showroom" is a hell of an album to listen to while driving late at night. It moves you.
posted by ColdChef at 11:38 AM on June 18, 2002

And I didn't really care much for the McSweeney's deal or the "Malcolm in the Middle" theme, but it's that kind of experimentation that keeps me a fan.
posted by ColdChef at 11:44 AM on June 18, 2002

ColdChef: Yeah, I love the Chopping Block theme music. I remember that coming up as one of the (only) examples of a good company theme song in a thread about that some time back.

Also, I second jonmc's recommendation of Shonen Knife -- with songs like "I Wanna Eat Choco Bars" and "Ice Cream City", how can you go wrong?
posted by nstop at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2002

I got it yesterday, and my only complaint is that they never gave us a definitive answer as to where they make balloons. I tossed and turned all night trying to think of a country that seemed sufficiently balloonish, to no avail.

I haven't tried all of the little Flash animations that go along with the songs, but my sister seems to like them a lot.
posted by brookedel at 12:04 PM on June 18, 2002

Wait a minute, I thought all TMBG stuff was for kids! oops. I may be warping my 5-year-old.
posted by whatnot at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2002

Okay, ColdChef, "Snail Shell" is a great song, but ever since they've added those extra musicians to their line up, their arrangements have been sluggish and conventional. Think how sharp and snappy "Snail Shell" would have sounded if it had been on "Flood" or "Lincoln". I'm afraid that "Sexxxy" would not have made the cut on any of their earlier albums.
posted by Faze at 12:12 PM on June 18, 2002

Faze: you make a decent point. I guess it's a matter of taste. I've accepted the fact that any artist needs to "evolve" if only to not get bored with themselves. And a lot of times, the evolution may not work (MC Hammer into a hard core thug) and sometimes it does (Dylan, The Beatles, U2).

TMBGs evolution hasn't been as severe, but now that I look at it, the sound has changed quite a bit.

Still, before you dismiss them completely, take a listen to "Factory Showroom" and "Mink Car." I think you'll find more good than bad.
posted by ColdChef at 12:31 PM on June 18, 2002

Don't forget Severe Tire Damage; the full-band treatment works pretty well with a lot of the older songs.
Mink Car wasn't quite the second Flood, but not for lack of trying; it was definitely my favorite since Apollo 18.

However, I feel like a traitor: my favorite song on No!, 'Where Do They Make Balloons?' isn't even sung by the Johns. (It's currently vying for Song I Can't Get Out Of My Head Status with Beulah's 'Popular Mechanics for Lovers'.) I like the original version of 'Four of Two' better, but that wouldn't go on a kid's album for obvious reasons.
posted by darukaru at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2002

obvious reasons

Ooooh! That sounds good! What was different about the original version?
posted by ColdChef at 1:04 PM on June 18, 2002

I never got much into Mink Car, except for Wicked Little Critta, I've Got a Fang, Mr. Excitement, Man It's So Loud In here... well hmm.

Linnel's "State Songs" is good stuff too. South Carolina has lodged in my brain and won't go away.
posted by Foosnark at 1:22 PM on June 18, 2002

Ooooh! That sounds good! What was different about the original version?

At four of two I had a great idea
To break the chain of inactivity
I put my hands around my neck and started
To strangle myself
And I looked at the clock
And it still said four of two

At four of two I successfully expired
And my breathing ceased and my heart no longer beat
my eyes stayed open lifelessly
They continued to stare at the clock on the wall
And it still said four of two

posted by darukaru at 3:34 PM on June 18, 2002

I had a mp3 of that version at some point, but I lost it. Wah.
posted by darukaru at 3:38 PM on June 18, 2002

Faze- I think it's important to note that Linnel has a young child. It's a logical move when you're constantly making music to make the music geared to the people you're living with.

Maybe that's proof that they're obviously uncool, but after seeing them in concert I'd have to disagree.
posted by witchycal at 6:21 PM on June 18, 2002

TMBG are beyond cool. :) From seeing John, John, and the Great Big Stick in 1989 to seeing the full band about a year ago...I just love them. :D
posted by metrocake at 6:57 PM on June 18, 2002

Date: 1994
Scene: UCSD Sun God Festival
Bands: TMBG, No Doubt! (way before they were names), and Frente! (great band)
Price: free to students!

Now that was an awesome show.

Anyway, just felt like sharing :)
posted by benh57 at 3:37 AM on June 19, 2002

Kompressor (Instruments: synth, crush, fear, death) has some nice children's songs.
posted by ewagoner at 7:59 AM on June 19, 2002

Here are some MP3's of the original singing science songs, from the 50's and 60's including the original "Why does the sun shine?" covered by TMBG.
posted by PMcCann at 10:47 AM on June 19, 2002

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