Artist: They Might Be Giants Video: 'Electronic Istanbul (Not Constantinople)'…
- Posted on Jun 27th 2012 3:30PM by They Might Be Giants
Fibber Island is a traditional song written as a national anthem during the Island's tumultuous drive for independence from the US in the 1960s. Located directly to the east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Fibber Island has been a vacation destination for CIA and retiring black ops agents for years, but when they moved to become their own nation-state, the Island was "disappeared" by Lyndon Johnson and the FBI.
"Four of Two"
There really was a clock frozen at 1:56 at that address, just south of the Flatiron Building in New York. You can find it in old photos. Or are they old? Maybe the photos don't age when time itself has stopped.
Robot Parade is based on a traditional melody sung by robots before robot uprisings and unicorn battles, but because a lot of the lyrics of the original songs are actually explicitly anti-unicorn it seemed inappropriate for kids--especially girls going through a unicorn/princess phase.
How amusing it is, amidst the comforts of middle age, for us to look back on this raw expression of our youthful negativity. All the world was ripe for negating, every "yea" an irresistible challenge for us to countermand with a blunt "nay"! Never content with merely begging to differ, or agreeing to disagree, we charged headlong against the positivists.
"Where Do They Make Balloons?"
" Where Do They Make Balloons?" was written by They Might Be Giants' beloved bass player Danny Weinkauf, who has contributed songs to most of our kids projects. He is a huge pop music fan, and his Paul McCartneymania fuses with his Brian Wilsonogomy nicely in this track.
"In the Middle, In the Middle, In the Middle"
Not to be confused with TMBG's "Boss of Me" theme from "Malcolm in the Middle," this song was originally written by the late, great Vic Mizzy ("The Addams Family" theme, "Green Acres" theme) and recorded for a public service announcement in New York state in the 1960s. Here it is sung by New York state citizen Robin "Goldie" Goldwasser.
This started out as a Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and then it went seriously off the rails. We were subsequently very impressed when a kid showed us a T-shirt he had made that illustrated the "George Washington's head" verse with quarters gradually adding up to a dollar. Everything started making sense after that.
"John Lee Supertaster"
A supertaster is a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average. The cause of this heightened response is currently unknown, although it is thought to be, at least in part, due to an increased number of fungiform papillae. John Lee is a real person and a real live supertaster. John Lee is a writer and producer of many illustrious television programs including MTV's "Wonder Showzen," Adult Swim's "Xavier: Renegade Angel" and Snoop Dogg's "Doggie FizzleTelevizzle. "
"The Edison Museum"
Nick Hill plays an instrument called the vibraband on this track. It's a piece of rubber that is stretched across the lips and blown through. You can hear it underneath his singing on the second verse. It sounds kind of like the voice on the other end of the telephone in an old time radio show. The Edison Museum in West Orange, New Jersey is sometimes open to the public and has lots of cool stuff in it, including the wax cylinder recording equipment on which we recorded a scratchier version of this song.
"The House at the Top of the Tree"
We were once attacked by a house cat that was driven insane by the crinkling sound of our potato chip bag. The bag was made of some kind of super strong plastic foil and the top was so well glued together that no amount of effort could get it open. After many minutes of trying to tear it open with our bare hands we looked up to see the cat entering the room with its fur standing on end and its pupils wildly dilated. It looked so weird we didn't know it was our cat at first. We were still trying to process what was going on when the cat jumped into the air and slashed open the bag, spilling out all the chips. Then it started coming after Flansburgh, who defended himself with a rolled up bamboo curtain. That cat wanted us dead. However, we survived and were inspired to write this song. For poetic reasons the cat was changed to a mouse.
"Clap Your Hands"
We hate to be so bossy, but this is for your own good.
"I Am Not Your Broom"
This is why we hate being bossy. We would rather not be on the wrong side of the revolution when the brooms finally decide to revolt.
"Wake Up Call"
This track was originally heard on "Malcolm in the Middle," and has occasionally been walk on music for TMBG live show. The vocals are actually self-sampled single notes and replayed on a keyboard.
"I Am a Grocery Bag."
Juices, muffins, pasta, cheese, milk, biscuits, cocktail sauce, salsa, pickles, organic grains, fresh coffee, bagels, pudding, soap, baby formula and ham.
"Lazyhead and Sleepybones"
Inspired by the relaxed grooves of The Band, we lay all the way back on the couch to capture this '70's folk-rock vibe. Dan Miller had his eyes almost completely closed as he delivered some highly mellow slide guitar, while Dan Hickey created a thick drum and percussion bed in which to crash.
"Bed Bed Bed"
When you get old enough it's fun to stay up late. Then when you're a teenager it's fun to stay up the whole night, and everything you and your friends talk about sounds more and more profound until you finally fall asleep in the bathtub or with your head in a wastebasket. Eventually you reach the age when going to bed at bedtime and falling asleep is one of the most exalted and prized activities imaginable.
Somewhere, someone once said that you shouldn't wake someone up when they're sleepwalking. The shock could kill them! It sounds a little fishy now, like maybe it was just a pretext for some bad sitcom writing. In Buenos Aires there is a nice pastry shop called "The Sleepwalker" with a logo of a woman walking slowly down a staircase with her eyes closed and her arms extended in front of her, presumably heading towards some delicious eclairs. If you ever see us doing that BY NO MEANS should you attempt to wake us until we have eaten all the eclairs.