Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random TMBG Random 10 (or 15)

So a friend asked me the other day to make her a They Might Be Giants mix CD, because she’d never heard their stuff, and was only familiar with their work through my occasional references during the Friday Random 10.

So, bored tonight, with too much time to kill now that the play is over, I decided this would be a fine time to start compiling the songs. Which, I’ll admit, is going to be a challenge, as she has requested an audio CD and not an MP3 CD, which limits the amount of songs I can use. Given that TMBG tend to write shorter than average songs, I could probably get 20, maybe 25 on a disc, but that’s still only a tiny slice of their back catalogue. How, I wondered, would I choose the songs to best represent them?

Loading my entire TMBG folder into an MP3 playlist seemed the easiest idea. And then, I thought, if I was going to do that anyway, why not have a random random 10 at the same time?

I’ll likely listen to far more than 10 songs, of course, but I’ll likely cut this list off at 10, for fear of becoming bored. Or – worse yet – becoming boring.

1. Man, It’s So Loud In Here – A personal favourite. Satirizes the growth of annoying dance music in the strangest of places by being a song that uses a lot of annoying dance music tricks. Probably the best – or, at the very least, the most layered – example of musical satire I can think of. This one is definitely on the list.

2. Meet James Ensor – “Meet James Ensor, Belgium’s famous painter…” are the words the song begins with. Who else would write a song about an obscure, Belgian painter? Anyone? No, didn’t think so.

3. Hello Radio – Vibraphones and weird crunchy guitars playing what sounds like sulphuric acid jazz…

4. Yeh Yeh – A catchy tune from one of their later albums, but nowhere near good enough to make the short list for the CD.

5. Hypnotist of Ladies – And what hypnotist wouldn’t be?

6. S-E-X-X-Y Remix – The irony is that a TMBG remix sounds exactly like the sort of music they were busy satirizing in “Man, It’s So Loud In Here.” Is it possible they were making fun of their own remixes?

7. Purple Toupee – Sometimes a TMBG song is just so far over my head, or so far into the bizarre, that I have little say about it. A song about a purple toupee? Uh, yeah, okay. Still, great song.

8. Lie Still, Little Bottle – Very bluesy. An ode to a bottle of pills held in a shaky hand. Kind of sad, in a way.

9. I Should Be Allowed To Think – A call to freedom of thought. In a very TMBG way.

10. Dig My Grave – I love this song, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you why. It’s going on the CD.

11. I Palindrome I – How weird is that? This is actually the track that’s supposed to follow “Dig My Grave” on the Apollo 18 album. Not as good as “Grave” in my opinion.

12. Twisting – “She wants to see you again, slowly twisting, in the wind.” Kind of a painful, angry, lost love song. Which is sort of how most relationships end, I fear.

13. ’85 Radio Special Thank You – This thing is just indescribably weird. It’s TMBG talking about themselves, except I think everything they say is a lie. Also, it sounds like the tape that recorded this radio special was eaten by a wildebeest.

14. Kiss Me, Son of God (Alternate Version) – I’m not sure entirely why, but I *adore* this song. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about, except that it might be an attack on exploitational TV evangelicals. Plus there’s an accordion in it.

15. Whistling in the Dark – The chorus of this song has an annoying habit of getting stuck in my brain, and refusing to leave for days on end. I’m putting on the CD if only to see if others get the same curse that I do…

Okay, so I went to 15 instead of ten, because they were short. But now I’m definitely running the risk of boring both myself and everyone else, so I’ll cut this short. Cheerios.


elise_on_life said...

Hmmm . . .no one seems to leave comments on this thing.

Todd said...

It seems you're right. Which is sort of sad, because that probably means people aren't much reading it. Though, I suppose, there are certainly days when that's a very, very good thing.

elise_on_life said...

maybe they're all too awe-struck to respond, or feel unworthy to write next to you

Todd said...

Well, I mean, that's a nice thought. Certainly nicer than my suggestions. Not terribly likely, of course, but nice.