Friday, January 04, 2008

"Birdhouse In Your Soul"

Oh, it's been a long time. And if anyone thought I'd run out of songs, well...

When I first tried to put this baby to bed 18 months ago, I wrote that "anyone who can find more than 500 songs that they can't live without is probably spreading their jam a little too thinly on the toast."

Well, maybe.

On the other hand, I've tracked down and downloaded some 2,600 songs that accompany me pretty much everywhere I go, and while a few of them were downloaded for fun, or mischief, the vast majority are with me for a damn good reason.

Case in point:

Allegedly, this is a novelty song. Allegedly, They Might Be Giants is a novelty band. But anyone who can write, and sing a lyric like:

"There's a picture opposite me
Of my primitive ancestry,
Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck-free.
Though I respect that a lot
I'd be fired if that were my job,
After killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts."

..has got to have a little tiger in his tank.

This is a jaunty song. I can think of no other word that accurately describes it. It's got an annoying, catchy chorus -- yes, that's annoying AND catchy -- and lopes along with all the grace of a tweenie playing hopscotch on a cracked and uneven pavement.

What I like are the casual hints that beneath the surface of this song, there's a really intelligent mind at work. Someone who can dredge up old-world sayings like "bee in your bonnet" (I mean, who says that any more?), or who can imagine someone filibustering "vigilantly."

Hell, just putting "filibustering" in a song makes it something special. The video shows the band to be just what I always thought they were - college nerds, but what's the point of a college education if you can't use it?

Lastly, maybe someone could reassure me. This song is all about a night-light, right?

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