They Might Be Giants - I Like Fun

They Might Be Giants
I Like Fun

They Might Be Giants have managed to put together a career spanning more than 30 years. This new album, their 12th , isn't breaking any new ground musically but finds the boys of They Might Be Giants dealing with death, getting old and all those existential crises that come with getting older. "By The Time You Get This" is filled with "smiling skulls" and other allusions to death while still trying to live for the moment. The amazing thing is that they manage to devolve in to these deep issues while still keeping this almost childlike sound intact. That has really always been They Might Be Giants' gift, the ability to take these really simple compositions and make them interesting. The funny thing about this album is despite all the bright sounds, the words are so incredibly bleak. Being anxious, feeling uncomfortable in one's skin (even though you've been there for 50 years) and an inability to discuss death in an open environment are all sentiments we all feel but could never articulate in this way. The military snare drum and trumpet on "I Like Fun" is really pretty insane when coupled with  perfecting parkour at 58 years old. It takes a real talent to make the strange endearing because more often that not weird music just sounds fucking weird. Not with They Might Be Giants, their kitsch is lovable from the first moment they open their mouths. It's like if Raffi were dirty, or The Mickey Mouse Club had a song about death. Even those two could not find a happy medium with those eclectic styles as well as They Might Be Giants have. 

Here is the thing about this record and really all They Might Be Giants' records; You know it's good, and you know it's important, Hell I will even recommend this record to all my friends, but will I ever listen to it again? Unlikely. When you listen to this album once, you get it, the points are made and you can move on. Once the joke has been had it's not east to go back to it and try and tell it again. The minimalist styling of the record also lends it for a single listen rather than multiple dives. They also sing with such clear voice and with such direction that there is no mistaking their meaning, there really is little point to try and take apart and examine it, because it's just They Might Be Giants. Their style is so singularly their own, and has been so distinctive for 30 years that breaking it down seems almost foolish. They have already broken these words apart and hashed the music out to such a degree that critical review feels laughable. Yet we still want to celebrate the good things about this record, they way it makes you feel and the insights it has to share. Like I said, I'll recommend this album to everyone who lives or dies, because it truly does have some beautiful sentiments to share, you just won't find me bumping this in my car anytime soon.

7.9 out of 10


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