Fingers Pointing, Eyebrows Low...
Yes, it's one of their “kids” albums. But have you ever heard a “kids” album like this before? The songs are as complex and rich as any of their regular “grown up” fare, but with toned-down themes to be more palatable to younger groups of listeners.
I'm talking, of course, about They Might Be Giants ' first “kids” album, No!
It starts off with a lovely song all about lying. This is great. There is no explicit “you shouldn't lie” message, there is just a farcical song about a place called Fibber Island. Because of the name of the island, we also get an introduction to the concept of an unreliable narrator. We are not meant to believe that the citizens of Fibber Island have a dog who is three miles wide, or that the residents hide mittens in their hair.
And it takes off from there. The title song explains a lot about why and how people say no. We get a song about kids building a giant cyborg that obeys the kids. There's a time travel song about waiting for a date...this isn't “edutainment”, this is just good TMBG-style music. Some of the tracks, like I Am Not Your Broom, came from the dial-a-song service and found a home here.
Nothing here talks down to kids (except maybe in the Middle, a 50's style song about not crossing the street in the middle in the middle, in the middle of the block). Nothing here suggests they were just cranking out an easy album to tap into kids music. They just made a good album that happened to be for kids. Go try it out. Then let's go meet our friends from Mars and sew buttons on our cars.
I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.