They Might Be Giants
Here Comes Science
Sep 28, 2009 Web Exclusive
For those of us that fell in love with They Might Be Giants as children (circa 1990's Flood), the duo served as our first introduction to alternative music. Sure, Pearl Jam and others got tagged as alternative, but those of us who spent hours laying in bed poring over those bizarre lyrics and listening to the tapes over and over—if you're one of us, you know who you are—had our own little secret about what alternative music really was.
So when John Flansburgh and John Linnell (and company) began their foray into children's music earlier this decade with 2002's No!, it seemed like a somewhat natural progression. The songs were always quirky and kid-friendly; it was just a matter of writing songs specifically for kids. Here Comes Science, the band's fourth offering for their younger fans, aims this time for the early grade-school set rather than toddlers, who were the focus of their previous efforts, Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s. As such they're free to be themselves a bit more, unconstrained by having to restrain their act for those too young to get most of the jokes.
Considering the limited attention spans of their intended audience, the songs here are on the shorter side, with only a handful clocking in at any more than three minutes. But what they lack in length they make up for with mountains of personality, such as the punk-ish "Why Does The Sun Shine?," a cover of an educational children's song from the late '50s (previously covered on a 4-song single of the same name).
Elsewhere, "The Bloodmobile," explains the circulatory system using cartoon-like characters that wouldn't be out of place on School House Rock; "Electric Car"'s jubilant sing-a-long may even drive a few parents to ditch the Hummer for a Prius until electric cars become readily available.
For all the songs that sound tailor-made for kids, just as many sound like they could've been ordinary TMBG compositions, including the bouncy "Put It To The Test," "Photosynthesis," or "Cells," all of which come up in sequence late in the album. Additionally, the 19-song CD comes with a DVD featuring videos for each track.
One listen to Here Comes Science and it's not difficult to imagine some 10-year-old—slightly baffled at what he or she's discovered—moving from this to something like Flood, John Henry, or the Dial-A-Song compilation. Think of Here Comes Science as the gateway drug for a new batch of TMBG fans. It's kind of amazing nobody thought of it sooner. (www.theymightbegiants.com)
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