Tuesday, March 15, 2022

They Might Be Giants 10: Long Tall Weekend

All the spoiled rotten kids today who grew up in a world driven by immediate gratification will have no appreciation of what their parents went through when downloading music—legally or illegally—first became possible. None of this click-and-drop stuff for us; we had to listen to the static of a 56k modem for any number of minutes, and eventually what we were looking for might end up on our hard drives, assuming there was room.

They Might Be Giants was the first major band to release an album through the new eMusic platform. Since they weren’t signed to an actual label at the time, that was one less hurdle. Long Tall Weekend doesn’t fill a CD, which is probably good considering how long it took to download, but the 15 tracks are unique and mostly get to the point.

“Drinkin’” is a snappy little instrumental that barely threatens to get wacky before it ends, then “(She Thinks She’s) Edith Head” seems to have been written to justify the song’s title, and features a seemingly spontaneous fake ending. “Maybe I Know” is a gender-adjusted cover of a Lesley Gore song the boys used to play in the early days, while “Rat Patrol” is loaded with heavy guitar riffing. Keen-eared listeners would recognize the truly silly “Token Back To Brooklyn” as a hidden track on Factory Showroom, and we have a soft spot for “Older”, a sober treatise on mortality, since one of our correspondents sends it to us on every birthday. “Operators Are Standing By” is another accurate portrait of the workplace, and while “Dark And Metric” is catchy, it’s impenetrable.

“Reprehensible” is a wonderful soliloquy set to a big-band backing, whereas “Certain People I Could Name” is taken from another perspective, and not just via the piano. We’re surprised “Counterfeit Faker” hasn’t already been a TMBG title, but good luck navigating the amateur banjo and fiddle backing. “They Got Lost” already appeared on Severe Tire Damage in a superior version; this one is just too slow. It’s been a while since we’ve had a mambo, and “Lullabye To Nightmares” delivers. We must thank the indispensable This Might Be A Wiki site for clarifying the a capella lyrics of “On Earth My Nina”; they’re supposed to sound backwards. Finally, “The Edison Museum” is a hilarious portrait of that New Jersey landmark, sung by the same guy who intoned “I Hear The Wind Blow” on Apollo 18.

Much of Long Tall Weekend had been around for a while, and some would appear again. It’s readily available, and faster, via streaming these days. We’ll take it.

They Might Be Giants Long Tall Weekend (1999)—3


  1. Hi. Maybe I'm the biggest dummy here.. Is there a link here for this recording? Tried everything to find a buried link. Maybe it's right in front of me.. Help!!

    1. This is a review blog. No downloads. Sorry.