Flood // They Might Be Giants

Album cover for Flood - They Might Be Giants

We can't be silent, 'cause they might be giants!

The opening lines of this album are perfect. Do you want to fall in love again? Do you want to live life with a pleasant stoicism? Content to water your garden? Then the whimsy and brilliance of They Might Be Giants is for you!

Every little sound on this album is phenomenal. Take “Lucky Ball and Chain” — the clacking pool balls, the delightful backing vocals. It, like so many songs on Flood, is far more layered and complex than it seems on first listen.

In this way, Johns Flansburgh and Linnell carry on the legacy of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, experimenting with harmony while still creating digestible and enjoyably catchy music.

It’s not just quirky, though. It’s insightful. “Dead” lets me dream of my twilight years, preparing to pass into the great unknown. Sure, it’s dark, but the song is so entertaining and so brightly played that it’s impossible to think of even a funeral with anticipation.

But songs like “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” are delightful and easy classics! They’re so unabashedly goofy that the deeper meaning of these songs must be searched for. This, I think, is great. It’s reminiscent of conversations about the true meanings of songs like Penny Lane1 and Brown Eyed Girl2.

And the storytelling! “Whistling in the Dark” is a brilliantly woven scene. “We Want a Rock” is a sort of morality tale, without any snobbery or soapboxing. “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love,” which had once struck me as boring, now carries its thrilling and bobbling melody with a charismatic confidence.

Image of man in river

What’s not to like about this album? It’s one of They Might Be Giants’ best displays, all at once a whirling carnival and dour street music. It is almost pre-industrial in the way it carries itself. It’s so weird and so fun and has so much to uncover.

Ending on “Road Movie to Berlin.” What a move.

I looked out the back of the wagon at the old homestead. I felt bad about leaving it behind. Pa said there’d be gold out west. Soon my grandson will buy a Ford. Imagine that.

1Drugs and sex.

2Just butt stuff.