The association between songs about science and songs for kids is never entirely broken, I guess, since both endeavors are supposedly educational. So it’s just as well that They Might Be Giants has embraced both with their new album:
Which brings us to Here Comes Science. Listening to this album is something like consuming auditory candy for your brain. They Might Be Giants have always done songs about science, from their cover of ‘60s educational record “Why Does the Sun Shine” to 1992’s “Mammal” to several songs written for ABC’s 1999 summer science series Brave New World. Plus science is a broad enough subject to give the band leeway to do pretty much whatever they want while still hitting the major elementary school topics. The result is that the album allows the band’s considerable songcraft to combine with their geeky tendencies in a way that feels perfectly natural.
The album runs through 19 songs in just under 40 minutes, and covers topics ranging from the elements (“Meet the Elements”) to “Computer-Assisted Design” to “Photosynthesis”. A couple of songs have appeared previously, such as “The Bloodmobile” and the group’s punked-up version of “Why Does the Sun Shine?” But guitarist John Flansburgh isn’t about to let the science content from the ‘60s stand on its own, so the song is immediately followed by “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?”, a laid-back, low-key song that contains much more current information about the sun. Other songs here sound like follow-ups to previous TMBG tracks. Keyboardist John Linnell’s “My Brother the Ape” covers similar lyrical territory to “Mammal”, only with more detail about why humans, apes, and all life on the planet are genetically related.
So of course you should go listen to it now. Apparently, the band also does a cover of the tragically overlooked Hy Zaret song “What is a Shooting Star?” I always meant to record that, but never got around to it. Hmph. Beautiful song, though.
Album’s out on Amazon.