I rank 57 albums [ranking]

Board 8

52. They Might Be Giants John Henry



1. Snail Shell
2. I Should Be Allowed to Think
3. Out of Jail


I like Istanbul (Not Constantinople) from TMBG but I feel like Im missing the appeal of the band otherwise. They sort of feel like an in-joke Im not in on. Lets see if that holds true after listening to a whole album of theirs. Like Subliminal I get that its meant to be a joke on subliminal messaging with the frequent refrain of stare into the sun for as long as you can, but I dont find that particularly funny. Maybe its the singer, who always feels like hes laughing at me? This might be a deep-seated insecurity I have that I didnt know about until now, lmao.

Now Snail Shell, thats a cool song. I really like the vocals and all the pauses. I love a good musical pause. Sleeping in the Flowers feels a bit bland in comparison, which is weird because its so peppy, but I cant focus on it, which often indicates a lack of connection or interest. Very uneven album so far.

Apparently this is a somewhat different sound from their earlier albums, which are more synthetic. I probably would enjoy those more. This is just so s l o w. Youll see this critique in other writeups. I dont dislike slow songs, but I tend to dislike music that feels like it drags. Like Im eight songs in and Ive checked the clock at least five times. And Im not even halfway done! Its curious because John Henry doesnt have the problem I suspected it would, an in-jokey vibe. If anything its not playful enough! I feel like Im not getting a strong sense of personality. Spy has nice horn work at least. It also has this surreal likejam session thing at the end that I kind of like. Then we get O Do Not Forsake Me, which is more like the in-joke problem. TMBG cant seem to please me no matter what they do! As an aside, I generally dislike when it seems like lyrics go out of their way to not rhyme. I dont know why this bothers me but it always has. This automatically puts TMBG and their stream-of-consciousness lyrics at a large disadvantage.

Out of Jail is a nice late-album cut, a solid piece of 90s alt-rock. I will say, as I said above, theres some cool horn parts on the album, with deep notes that accentuate the other musical parts.

Overall I want to say this band probably isnt for me, but given that I like another song of theirs and that their earlier work is apparently a bit different, maybe Im wrong! But this album at least isnt.