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Here Come the ABC's [CD/DVD]
     

Here Come the ABC's [CD/DVD]

4.2 7
by They Might Be Giants
 

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They Might Be Giants' debut into the world of children's music, the kid-hit No!, featured a variety of topics and wacky lyrics, but this time, John Flansburgh and John Linnell have just one thing on their mind -- the alphabet. For a duo who have famously composed an album of songs exclusively about American states and who operated a dial-a-song service for

Overview

They Might Be Giants' debut into the world of children's music, the kid-hit No!, featured a variety of topics and wacky lyrics, but this time, John Flansburgh and John Linnell have just one thing on their mind -- the alphabet. For a duo who have famously composed an album of songs exclusively about American states and who operated a dial-a-song service for years, the narrow focus is no hindrance. Here Come the ABC's may seek to educate about letters, but it's also an energetic, upbeat, and quirky paean to individuality. The disc opens with "Alphabet of Nations," a great alternative to the traditional recitation that also promotes an understanding of the world around us. "Go for G" is a frantically paced celebration of the many words that begin with titular letter and could easily be a Sesame Street outtake -- and that's no faint praise. Another twist on a classic comes from "Who Put the Alphabet in Alphabetical Order?," where a high pitched female voice sings the ABC's, old-school style. But the best track, by far, is "Pictures of Pandas Painting," an homage to alliteration that's as psychedelic as its title sounds -- parents will recall Beatles songs and college rock; kids will just think it's fun. Most songs are less than two minutes long, another bonus for teachers trying to incorporate learning into waiting for the bus, or singing between activities.They Might Be Giants leaven the work of learning with a dose of creativity that just might send reluctant young students on their way to the world of letters. There's also a companion DVD release of songs from this CD filled with animation, puppetry, live action, and pure fun -- an eclectic mix of sight and sound that is not to be missed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
They Might Be Giants have always had a flair for educational songs. More than a decade after its release, the refrain of "Why Does the Sun Shine" ("The sun is a mass of incandescent gas/A gigantic nuclear furnace") still has a pesky way of lodging itself in the brain. And, as the band's wonderful first children's album, No!, demonstrated, They Might Be Giants' music speaks to kids in a way that few other bands' work can; they never sound like they're talking (or singing) down to their smaller fans. Here Come the ABCs makes the most of the band's ability to teach and reach children, and more than delivers on its promise to "learn ABCs the fun way!" Since this is a more educational enterprise than No! was, Here Come the ABCs is a little more straightforward and like a traditional children's album than its predecessor. Several songs, like "E Eats Everything," are more or less recitations of the alphabet, albeit with a few twists: "Z Y X" brings the album to a close with a dramatic backwards reading of the alphabet, and "The Alphabet of Nations" is a mini-atlas, spanning Algeria to Zimbabwe. This is still a They Might Be Giants album, though, and the band's catchy melodies and smart wordplay haven't been dumbed down. "Flying V," with its charming, Vince Guaraldi-like pianos and images of migrating geese and electric guitars, is another of John Linnell's seemingly effortless but brilliant songs, and "C Is for Conifers" offers an extra-credit lesson in botany as well as the alphabet. Here Come the ABCs brings personality to the alphabet's characters, with some letters sharing songs and others getting songs of their own. The bouncy "Go for G!" is an immediate kid-pleaser, while "Q U" casts these letters as pals that "make a cool sound together" -- much like Linnell and Flansburgh themselves. F gets "Fake-Believe," a celebration of imagination so good that they had to include it on the album twice. Other songs are more conceptual: "Pictures of Pandas Painting," which is all about alliteration, lives up to its psychedelic title, while "Who Put the Alphabet in Alphabetical Order?" gets downright meta. Amidst all the learning, there's still plenty of room for plain old fun, as shown by the squiggly synths on "Letter Shapes"; the self-explanatory "Clap Your Hands"; and "Rolling O," which celebrates the joy of making silly mouth noises with scat-like babbling. Though some of the songs feel a little incomplete without the dazzling visuals of the DVD version, Here Come the ABCs is still a delight. It might be slightly less magical than No!, but it's a far cry from a by-the-numbers (or letters) children's album. [This CD/DVD version of the album contains over 50 minutes of animation, puppets, and performances (in addition to the standard audio).]
Time Magazine
This Brooklyn duo's work for adults is arty and wacky--think Spike Jones with an M.F.A. degree. And TMBG's album of alphabet songs is, well, pretty much the same. The loopy tracks--26 of 'em, of course--include the delicately pretty C Is for Conifers, the funk meltdown E Eats Everything and I C U, very likely the first-ever country ballad composed entirely of letters that sound like words ("I C U/ I C U/ N U R O K"). U R O.K. 2, TMBG.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/2005
Label:
Walt Disney Records
UPC:
0050086140770
catalogNumber:
861407
Rank:
10476

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Here Come the Abcs
  2. Alphabet of Nations
  3. E Eats Everything
  4. Flying V
  5. Q U
  6. Go for G!
  7. Pictures of Pandas Painting
  8. D & W
  9. Fake-Believe
  10. Can You Find It?
  11. The Vowel Family
  12. Letter/Not a Letter
  13. Alphabet Lost and Found
  14. I C U
  15. Letter Shapes
  16. Who Put the Alphabet in Alphabetical Order?
  17. Rolling O
  18. L M N O
  19. C Is for Conifer
  20. Fake-Believe (Type B)
  21. D Is for Drums
  22. Z y X
  23. Goodnight My Friends
  24. Clap Your Hand
  25. Here in Higglytown (Theme to Playhouse Disney's Higglytown Heroes)
  26. Hovering Sombrero '05
  27. I Never Go to Work

Disc 2

  1. Here Come the Abcs
  2. Alphabet of Nations
  3. E Eats Everything
  4. Flying V
  5. I Am a Robot
  6. Q U
  7. Go for G!
  8. Pictures of Pandas Painting
  9. D & W
  10. Fake-Believe
  11. Can You Find It?
  12. Introducing the Vowel Family
  13. The Vowel Family
  14. A to Z
  15. Letter/Not a Letter
  16. Latter Shapes
  17. Alphabet Lost and Found
  18. I C U
  19. I Am a Robot (Type B)
  20. John and John Introduce...
  21. Who Put the Alphabet in Alphabetical Order?
  22. Rolling O
  23. L M N O
  24. Introducing C Is for Conifers
  25. Fake-Believe (Type B)
  26. A to Z (Type B)
  27. D Is for Drums
  28. Introducing Z y X
  29. Z y X
  30. Goodnight My Friends
  31. Here Come the Abcs!
  32. Introducing the Bonus Tracks
  33. Clap Your Hands
  34. Violin
  35. Stalk of Wheat
  36. Robot Parade
  37. Sleepwalker
  38. Here in Higglytown (Theme to Playhouse Disney's Higglytown Heroes) ...

Album Credits

Performance Credits

They Might Be Giants   Primary Artist
Don Miller   Guitar
Marty Beller   Drums,Vocals
Patrick Dillett   Keyboards
John Flansburgh   Group Member
Dan Hickey   Drums
Dan Levine   Trombone,Tuba
John Linnell   Group Member
Danny Weinkauf   Bass
Robin "Goldie" Goldwasser   Voices
Desi Tomaselli   Voices

Technical Credits

They Might Be Giants   Composer
Marty Beller   Composer
Dave Conrad   Authoring
Patrick Dillett   Producer,Engineer
Ted Kryczko   Authoring
David Agnew   Executive Producer
Rolf Conant   Logo
Samm Potts   Logo
Divya Srinivasan   Illustrations
Anaheed Alani   Copy Editing
Jamie Lincoln Kitman   Management

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Here Come the ABC's 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Music parents and kids can love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago