Perhaps They Might Be Giants never intended to have a discography mixed between adult tunes and kids’ favorites, but they’ve made it work. Between songs with immediately catchy appeal and album names like No!, TMBG doesn’t expect kids to be patient. In fact, you’re probably familiar with the work TMBG has done for TV, particularly Tiny Toon Adventures. Songs like “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and “Particle Man” stand out in the minds of kids and early risers who watched the program throughout the early 90s. Disney has even acquired a few songs from the band, including original music written for Higglytown Heroes, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and a cover of Devo’s “Through Being Cool” for the movie Sky High. Unfortunately TMBG’s music didn’t prove creepy enough to make it into the movie Coraline, but you might remember that one song written for the film, “Other Father”, was kept.
Of course, TMBG’s appeal to children really isn’t all that simple. Founding band members John Flansburgh and John Linnell insist that some of their lyrics on Here Come the 123s involve complex, higher level math, but that it doesn’t always have to be understood in order for kids, or anyone else, to like it. After doing a few shows in bookstores, where the setting allows for the fourteen and under demographic, the duo has admitted they now play to audiences of kids a “little bit”.
Aside from music, Flansburgh and Linnell have been publishing a few children’s books over the years, including two sing-along book and CD combos titled Kids Go! and Bed Bed Bed. TMBG even released several CD and DVD learning tools like Here Comes Science, Here Come the ABCs, and Here Come the 123s that are often enjoyed by adults.
To hear more from They Might Be Giants in a setting that is definitely adult-friendly, come see them live at the Granada on February 2, 2012. If you like Devo, Talking Heads, The Flaming Lips, or Ween, you’re sure to love this show.