Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants

Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants

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A They Might Be Giants tribute album seems long overdue. John Flansburgh and John Linnell have always been fantastic songwriters -- obviously witty, but also perceptive and able to handle sad or sentimental subjects with a light touch that somehow makes them even more poignant. Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants gathers friends and admirers to pay

Overview

A They Might Be Giants tribute album seems long overdue. John Flansburgh and John Linnell have always been fantastic songwriters -- obviously witty, but also perceptive and able to handle sad or sentimental subjects with a light touch that somehow makes them even more poignant. Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants gathers friends and admirers to pay homage; like most tribute albums, the results are mixed, but there are enough bright spots to make it a fitting tribute. The collection does indeed feature versions of several of They Might Be Giants' most beautifully written songs: David Miller turns in a jangly, '60s pop rendition of "Narrow Your Eyes," one of Flansburgh's subtlest songs about a failing relationship. Charles Douglas gives "She's an Angel" a chugging, indie rock makeover that's cute enough, but not nearly as transporting as the original -- there's something about the swooning slide guitars and oddly portentous synths on They Might Be Giants' version that make the song great beyond its seemingly nonsensical but insightful lyrics. The Wrens contribute a dramatically different version of "They'll Need a Crane," arguably the saddest song in TMBG's songbook. By slowing the song's tempo to a crawl and beginning the song with what was once its emotionally blunt bridge, they turn it into something slow and anguished instead of swiftly heartbroken. Many of the songs here are older, going back to the band's first three albums, and many of the acts on the album have roots in '90s alternative and indie rock, adding to Hello Radio's nostalgic feel. There are lots of song choices that show just how much the artists involved love They Might Be Giants: OK Go's "Letterbox" is a fun, unexpected pick, while Recepter's "Boat of Car" fails -- but tries admirably -- to out-weird the truly bizarre original that appeared on TMBG's self-titled debut. Best of all, though, is Frank Black's version of "Road Movie to Berlin," who makes the original's semi-jokey country more authentic while keeping its late-night weirdness. Who better than the former Pixies frontman (and old friend of They Might Be Giants) to invest surreal lyrics like "We were once so close to heaven/Peter came out and gave us medals/declaring us the nicest of the damned" with some genuine emotion? Other highlights include Jason Trachtenburg's acoustic cover of "Doctor Worm" and Steve Burns' indie-tronic version of "Dead," which samples Linnell's backing vocals from the original. Though there are a few too many overly straightforward covers on Hello Radio, the love for They Might Be Giants shines throughout -- and that very reason makes it worthwhile for fans of the band to give it a listen.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/11/2006
Label:
Bar/None Records
UPC:
0032862018022
catalogNumber:
180
Rank:
304266

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Frank Black   Guitar,Vocals
Brian Rogers   Drums,Electric Guitar
Chris Badger   Piano,Keyboards
Brett Kull   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Alan Weatherhead   Electric Guitar
Seth Timbs   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Accordion,Vocals
Michael Duran   Track Performer
Matt Mahaffey   Track Performer
Darren Jessee   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Charles Douglas   Vocals
David Earl Miller   Synthesizer,Piano,Vocals,farfisa organ
Mike Squires   Bass,Conga,Vocal Harmony
Roger Gupton   Bass
Miguel Urbiztondo   Drums
Nabil Ayers   Drums,Vocal Harmony
John Roderick   Guitar,Vocals,Clavinet,12-string Guitar
Eric Corson   Percussion,Drums
Mike Guggino   Guitar,Vocals
Bryan Lee Brown   Drums

Technical Credits

John Flansburgh   Composer
John Linnell   Composer
Jerry Kee   Engineer
Michael Rubin   Producer
Brett Kull   Producer,Engineer
Floyd Reitsman   Engineer
Alan Weatherhead   Producer
Michael Duran   Producer
Matt Mahaffey   Arranger,Producer
Charles Douglas   Producer,Instrumentation
David Earl Miller   Producer
John Roderick   Producer
Miles Wilson   Engineer

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Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Working in my college's radio station, we come accross a lot of lame CDs- most of wich are tribute albums. BUT, we were all pleasantly surprised by this one. Thankfully, it doesn't just cater exclusively to hard-core TMBG fans, 'cause I for one can't stand them. Instead, what you get are a bunch of cool bands doing pretty catchy stuff. Sure, there are one or two clunkers on the disc. But, as tributes go, this is as good as it gets- especially if you like indie- rock.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here is a rare tribute album where many of the covers are better than the TMBG originals. Worth getting for rare tracks by Frank Black, The Wrens, and Charles Douglas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd much rather listen to TMBG original albums. This album is %80 garbage. The Wrens song and the Frank Black song are the only good songs on the album, the rest are just another tribute album..