They Might Be Giants is a very interesting band. They have been going since 1986, and have written some of the oddest songs ever. Their fan base isn’t the biggest, but everyone that I know who is a TMBG fan is loyal and diehard. This particular album, “Best Of The Early Years”, is a 10 song, 25 minute compilation disc of songs from various They Might Be Giants albums from 1986-1991. Even though it’s missing some later songs that happen to be some of my TMBG favorites, “Best Of The Early Years” has some of the best TMBG songs.
They Might Be Giants is-
John Linnell- Vocals, Accordion
John Flansburgh- Vocals, Guitar
“Best Of The Early Years” has some of the best They Might Be Giants songs. For instance, Ana Ng. At first glance of the title, one might ask themselves “What the hell does that mean"” Even though the title is shenanigans, the song is excellent. The guitar part is very experimental, as it has an effect that I’m not exactly familiar with. The accordion part, which is a regular in most They Might Be Giants songs, also makes this song great. Linnell’s vocals are nerdish, but fit the song perfectly, because I can’t see anybody else singing the vocals. Another They Might Be Giants favorite of mine on “Best Of The Early Years” is Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head. Flansburgh sings this song, but you can barely understand what he is saying. It has that cheesy 80’s keyboard part, and a pretty interesting bass part following the keyboard. Even though they are hard to derive, the lyrics are humorous and playful.
Purple Toupee follows Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head. The guitar part drives the song, as the accordion lurks in the background. The lyrics to Purple Toupee show how nerdy but hilarious They Might Be Giants writing is. “Purple toupee will show the way when summer brings you down, Purple toupee when summer brings you down, Purple toupee and gold lame will turn your brain around Purple toupee and gold lame.” (She Was A) Hotel Detective is a bit different than the others. It has a dirty feel to it. Flansburgh’s guitar playing fits the mood of the song, but his vocals aren’t the best. Another aspect to (She Was A) Hotel Detective is the saxophone, which gives the song the dirty mood. These are the tracks that really make this album worth while.
"Best Of The Early Years" also has its flaws. While I love most of the songs on “Best Of The Early Years”, I can’t stand some. Even though it has a funny title, Youth Culture Killed My Dog isn’t anything special. Flansburgh’s vocals are the only good thing about the song. The keyboard part is something that annoys me very easily, and the acoustic guitar part that comes in and out of the song just doesn’t fit. Hide Away Folk Family just kills me. First of all, a drum machine is being used, which is very obvious. The keyboard part is more annoying than the one on Youth Culture Killed My Dog, and Flansburgh’s vocals just suck. Hide Away Folk Family is probably my least favorite TMBG song. Aside from these two songs, every thing else on this album is bearable.
“Best Of The Early Years” shows the beginning of They Might Be Giants through the good and the bad. Even though TMBG takes some getting use to, I would recommend this to people who can stand odd but funny lyrics and nerdy vocals. Even though you have to develop a taste for them, TMBG is one of the best and most loveable bands once you get used to them.