Top Five They Might Be Giants Songs…

Below is a relatively arbitrary list of the best of They Might Be Giants. The really obvious ones (Birdhouse, Dr. Worm, Particle Man, etc.) have been avoided.

Honorable Mention: Put Your Hand Inside Your Puppet Head

I’ve always taken this song as an argument against giving into nostalgia’s siren song. For example:

As your body floats down Third Street
With the burn-smell factory closing up
Yes it’s sad to say you will romanticize
All the things you’ve known before
It was not not not so great
It was not not not so great
And as you take a bath in that beaten path
There’s a pounding at the door

5.) Youth Culture Killed My Dog

A hilarious swipe at whinners about the terribleness of youth culture. Has some great turns of phrase that TMBG specialize in:

Youth culture killed my dog (Youth culture killed my dog)
And I don’t think it’s fair (I don’t think it’s fair)
And his suicide can be justified
By the tastemakers, how they cried and cried and so

4.) James K. Polk

This pretty much a required song for a total history nerd. The lyrics are taken directly from an textbook. I think it is sad that from what I know the histography of this song is outdated.  Here’s a great bit:

In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Louis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

3.) They’ll Need A Crane

TMBG have a lot of good break up songs but this is easily the best. Playful and filled with pathos at the same time, They’ll Need A Crane is a great example of TMBG’s song write prowess. Here’s a bit that always gets me.

Don’t call me at work again no no the boss still hates me
I’m just tired and I don’t love you anymore
And there’s a restaurant we should check out where
The other nightmare people like to go
I mean nice people, baby wait,
I didn’t mean to say nightmare

2.) New York City

This song is too cute for it’s own good. You know  – really – the only good thing about New York City is you and me:

‘Cause everyone’s your friend in New York City
And everything looks beautiful when you’re young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there’s just so much to see
But the best thing about New York City is you and me

1.) The End of the Tour


At the end of the tour
When the road disappears
If there’s any more people around
When the tour runs aground
And if you’re still around
Then we’ll meet at the end of the tour
The engagements are booked through the end of the world
So we’ll meet at the end of the tour

Feel free to comment with your favorites.


2 Comments on “Top Five They Might Be Giants Songs…”

  1. psycholarry says:

    Can you really count a cover as one of their best songs?

  2. yes. it’s a very good song that has pretty much has entered tmbg canon. it more than a just a “cover” at this point.

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