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They Might Be Giants' 15th studio album comes out tomorrow.  Or today if you want to over-pay at iTunes, which I just did.  TMBG has been my favorite band since 1989, when Brian Kearns put a dubbed tape of Lincoln into his mom's car stereo as we drove somewhere or other.  Ana Ng came on, and my life was transformed.  By Purple Toupée, it was all over but the dancing.  The awkward, lurchy, dancing that characterized so much of my adolescence.

A couple recent interviews worth checking out:  Flansburgh in Vanity Fair; and again in The Gothamist.
What about the title? What inspired the title, if you can articulate it? Again, it sort of gets back to that difficult album #15 that rock critics are always talking about...
Both interviews make points about TMBG's detour into "children's music" and their attempts with this new album to recover their "adult" audience.  Flans (when you've know him as long as I have, you call him "Flans") speaks directly to this in a way that makes sense, but I disagree with him and the interviewers.  

Years before Huck was born, and before TMBG's first children's album, I saw them at a free outdoor show in DC somewhere.  It struck me that night that the crowd was surprisingly diverse age-wise.  (I think up until then I'd only seen them in clubs.)  There were several children riding their parents' shoulders, and many of them were singing along with every song.  TMBG has always been a kids' band for grown-ups.

I suspect a lot of long-time fans glossed over the children's albums; and this is a real shame.  Here Comes Science was among my favorite albums of 2009.  It was a quintessential TMBG project:  subversively educational, super-catchy, and endlessly entertaining.  And, needless to day, Huck loves it.  Last fall, I took him to his first concert - TMBG in NYC.  It was a weekend we'll never forget.  And, to illustrate my point about the false adult/child dichotomy, we played the album for our friend who hosted us for the weekend during a pre-concert cram session.  I think she enjoyed it more than even we did.

Everything, literally everything, that I know about James K. Polk comes from They Might Be Giants; and it all rhymes.  Same goes for most of what I know about the sun (or is it this?) and the Mesopotamians.

TMBG (combined with the Simpsons) have served as the signaling mechanism that connected me with a few of my best, most enduring friends.  In Australia, and then again years later in the US, I learned within a few hours of meeting someone that they were fans of my favorite band and my then-favorite TV show.  When you connect those two dots, a lot of other things sort of fall into place and you know you've made a lasting connection.

A friend of one of those Australian friends first alerted me to the fact that each of the Johns has a distinct sound and style.  Turns out, I prefer Linnell.  I even like his solo record far more than Flansburgh's.

And now, a fantastic fan video.  One small quibble, though:  Flans plays the guitar backward, so you can just picture a thousand nerds suppressing heart attacks and racing to their computers to correct the internet's latest error at about the 2-minute mark: