I’ve been a fan of They Might Be Giants for a long time. I remember visiting my brother when he was first in college and being tickled by the great video for “Don’t Let’s Start.” Their weird sensibility helped me branch out (I was still only listening to the Beatles and the Who at the time) and opened a lot of musical doors for me. The peak for me was Apollo 18 which contained brilliant songs as well as the fantastic gimmick song “Fingertips” which was actually 30 little snippets of songs. The liner notes encouraged the listening of Apollo 18 with your CD player on random to mix the pieces into a sort of insane album stew. The Giants slid off into mediocrity in the 90’s during which time my musical interests took many many detours and I lost interest.

10 years later I have a small child and hear that the Giants have put together a kid’s record. NO! was really a return to form on many levels, and though my son was much too young to really dig the music at the time I was ready to give these guys another chance. This fall they released Here Come the ABCs and Soren was just starting to learn his letters so the timing couldn’t have been better. The record is put out by Disney (!) and has an accompanying DVD of videos for most of the songs on the record. I can’t even begin to describe what’s going on with the music and the visuals but everyone should see this stuff, even if you don’t have kids. The songs are infectious and the animation and puppetry enhance the experience in the way that could only work for a band as wacky as the Giants.

Soren tends to get upset when I try to play the guitar when we hang out during the day (I think it’s an attention thing) but now that I can play some of the ABC songs he’s become a little less resistant. I figured he would eventually enjoy the fact that I make music but the lesson here is an old one; audiences respond to the familiar. I strayed away from playing covers for many years after I started writing my own stuff but that’s slowly eroding what with my weekly gig and my son asking if I know how to play the song about “QU”


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