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Favourite Five: They Might Be Giant Songs for Children

I’m much more acquainted with They Might Be Giants’ work for children than I am with their regular albums. I’ve heard Flood and I love ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’, but I’ve spent far more time with their records for children, ever since my oldest daughter became enthused with the library’s copy of Here Come The 123s.

The group’s five albums for kids are some of the most enjoyable children’s music I’ve heard, at least for children with a nerdy disposition. Their approach isn’t too dissimilar to their music for adults, just with more child friendly lyrics; their childrens albums are eclectic and include raw, punk-edged songs like ‘Pictures of Pandas Painting’. Here are five of my favourite They Might Be Giants’ songs for children:

Ooh La! Ooh La!

from Here Come The 123s

The nonsensical lyrics of this skipping song especially appeal to my four year old daughter.  Her favourite stanza is:

Skip skadoodle
Skip, skip skadoodle
Stick out your tongue
And wiggle like a noodle

Why Does the Sun Really Shine?

from Here Comes Science, 2009
Back in 1993, the group covered ‘Why Does The Sun Shine’ – a 1959 song with dated and incorrect scientific information (“the Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas”). The group also included the song, together with a self-penned, scientifically correct update, named ‘Why Does The Sun Really Shine?’ on 2009’s Here Comes Science. The sun is actually a miasma of incandescent plasma.

Four of Two

from No!, 2002
The group’s first album for children is described by Wikipedia as where “the darker themes of death and depression have been replaced with songs extolling the virtues of imagination, robots and sleep.” ‘Four of Two’ is an amusing tale of an oblivious paramour.

Alphabet of Nations

from Here Come The ABCs, from 2005
Hearing this, it’s surprising how the two Johns are the first songwriters to notice how smoothly country names roll off the tongue: “Algeria Bulgaria Cambodia…” Listen on for their ingenious and po-faced solution for x….

The Seven Days Of The Week (aka: ‘I Never Go To Work’)

from Here Come The 123s
This cover of a traditional song fits in perfectly with the group’s sense of humour. Mark Pender guests on trumpet.

Do you have other favourite children’s songs by John Flansburgh and John Linnell?

7 thoughts on “Favourite Five: They Might Be Giant Songs for Children Leave a comment

  1. shoot, hit return too fast. Do yourself a favor and check out their first two albums, They Might Be Giants and Lincoln. So incredibly creative – blew my mind when I first heard them all those years ago

    Liked by 1 person

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