User's Guide to They Might Be Giants

A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants

5.0 1
by They Might Be Giants
     
 
Distilling a single-disc compendium of this dauntingly prolific duo's long and winding career would seem to be a thankless task, but this 29-song collection merits a hearty dose of appreciation due to its flawless blend of old, new, wacky, and true. A User's Guide is certainly the easiest entrée into the realm of the Two Johns, as it offers up the songs best

Overview

Distilling a single-disc compendium of this dauntingly prolific duo's long and winding career would seem to be a thankless task, but this 29-song collection merits a hearty dose of appreciation due to its flawless blend of old, new, wacky, and true. A User's Guide is certainly the easiest entrée into the realm of the Two Johns, as it offers up the songs best known to total novices -- a full-length version of "Boss of Me" (their theme from Malcolm in the Middle), for one -- as well as their most instantly memorable pop nuggets. Of those, the typically surreal "Birdhouse in My Soul" and the weirdly lovestruck "Ana Ng" are the most likely to get stuck in the grey matter after one listen. Other ditties, like the left-field tribute "James K. Polk" (an homage to one of the lesser-known White House occupants) and the surprisingly scathing "Your Racist Friend" might take a little longer to sink in, but they're just as tenacious in hanging on to the attention span. Unlike previous TMBG archival raids, A User's Guide gives equal billing to latter-day offerings -- from the kiddie-centric "No!" to the "Dr. Evil" theme they contributed to the Austin Powers soundtrack. And while it'd be stretching things to say it's the only They Might Be Giants disc you'll ever need, it's safe to say this is the one you'd reach for most often.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
They Might Be Giants have a surprisingly large amount of collections in their discography; most of them, like Then: The Earlier Years, are dedicated to cataloging the band's first few years. Rhino's double-disc set Dial-a-Song remains an excellent, extensive overview, but until A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants, there hadn't been a worthwhile single-disc collection of the band's music. This is somewhat understandable, considering just how many songs They Might Be Giants have written over the years -- and at 29 tracks, this collection isn't that much bigger than some of the band's regular albums. As its title implies, A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants tries to represent as many of the group's different kind of songs as possible within a relatively small package. For the most part, it succeeds, balancing the Giants' best-known songs with some more offbeat choices. "Don't Let's Start," "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," "Birdhouse in Your Soul," and "Ana Ng" are all present and accounted for, along with educational/historical favorites like "Meet James Ensor," "James K. Polk," and "Why Does the Sun Shine (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)." The band's more surreal side is represented by "Purple Toupee" and "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" as well as by the album's quirky opening and closing choices, "Minimum Wage" and "Spider," but there's also room for some of They Might Be Giants' more affecting songs, like "They'll Need a Crane" and "She's an Angel," which is still one of the sweetest songs John Linnell has ever written. A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants also has its fair share of later career highlights, such as "Cyclops Rock," "Older," and "No!" (like the children's album that this track comes from, this album is also a darn fine collection for kids). A sampling of TMBG's soundtrack work, including their fabulous "Dr. Evil" theme from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and the full version of "Boss of Me" from Malcolm in the Middle, round out the collection. A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants concentrates on the band's brightest, poppiest material, which might disappoint die-hard fans looking for their own personal favorites, but this album isn't designed for them. However, it does do a good job of giving an overall feeling of what They Might Be Giants' two-decade career is about, especially for new listeners.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/03/2005
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0081227954024
catalogNumber:
79540
Rank:
14175

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

They Might Be Giants   Primary Artist
Charlie Sepulveda   Trumpet
Brian Doherty   Drums,Glockenspiel
Zachary Alford   Drums
Alan Bezozi   Tambourine,Snare Drums
Laura Cantrell   Vocals
Hal Cragin   Bass
Mark Feldman   Violin
John Flansburgh   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Dan Hickey   Drums
Kurt Hoffman   Horn
Luis Jardim   Percussion
Dan Levine   Trombone
John Linnell   Accordion,Keyboards,Saxophone,Vocals,Group Member
Frank London   Trumpet
Graham Maby   Bass
Tony Maimone   Bass
Mark Pender   Trumpet
Erik Sanko   Bass
Eric Schermerhorn   Guitar
Lyle Workman   Guitar
Julian Koster   Singing Saw
Steve Calhoon   Drums
Mauro Refosco   Percussion
Danny Weinkauf   Bass
Jim O'Connor   Trumpet
Robin "Goldie" Goldwasser   Vocals
Dan John Miller   Guitar
Skyline Staff   Hand Clapping

Technical Credits

They Might Be Giants   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Clive Langer   Producer,Audio Production
Danny Alonso   Engineer
Paul Angelli   Engineer
Albert Caiati   Engineer
Luigi Creatore   Composer
Patrick Dillett   Producer,Engineer
Edward Douglas   Engineer
Tom Durack   Producer
Paul Fox   Producer,Audio Production
Dave Goodermuth   Engineer
Hiro Ishihara   Engineer
James Kennedy   Composer
Rich Lamb   Engineer
Hugo Peretti   Composer
Katherine Miller   Engineer
Roger Moutenot   Producer,Engineer
Phil "Wif Skill" Nowlan   Engineer
Lou Singer   Composer
Ed Thacker   Engineer
George David Weiss   Composer
Alan Winstanley   Producer
Hy Zaret   Composer
Houghton   Engineer
Bill Krauss   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Lisa Marr   Composer
Adam Schlesinger   Producer
Chris Laidlaw   Engineer
Alex Noyes   Engineer
Brent Sigmeth   Engineer
Tony Gillis   Engineer
Greg Thompson   Engineer
Steve Woolard   Discographical Annotation
Tom Durak   Producer
Barbara Glauber   Art Direction
Robynn Iwata   Composer
Alex Olsson   Engineer
Nat Simon   Composer
Alan Ford   Engineer
Matt Gold   Engineer
Matthew Hill   Composer
Mark Bishop   Engineer
Jason Spittle   Engineer
Ben Bailes   Engineer
TJ Doherty   Engineer
Toshikazu Yoshioka   Engineer
Cosmo Heidtman   Engineer
Jamie Lincoln Kitman   Management
Bill Kovatch   Engineer
Hideki Nishino   Engineer
David Robbins   Engineer

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A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago