Mosaic / Music / Reviews / January 28, 2010

Rocking out to science

Here Comes Science, They Might Be Giants’ newest album, is a frenetic mind trip through the frontiers of basic science. Conceived as a children’s album, Here Comes Science works both as a children’s album about science and as a new They Might Be Giants album, combining wacky lyrics, unusual (and sometimes nerdy) subjects and illustrative musical licks to create a complete and engaging album.

The album continues in the same vein as much of the band’s earlier adult fair. Included on the album is the song “Why Does the Sun Shine,” which the band has been performing since 1985. However, to correct a few scientific facts in the song, it is directly followed by a new song, the lolloping, slow burn, groove, “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?” This song features the spectacularly self-aware line, “The sun is a miasma / of incandescent plasma / I forget what I was told by myself, self, self.”

The album works as a musical whole, beginning with the anthem “Science Is Real,” followed by a song devoted to the elements. The third song on the album is the hyperactive pop-punk song “I Am a Paleontologist” with the catchy chorus: “I am a paleontologist, that’s who I am, that’s who I am, that’s who I am.” Both in tone and in its inclusion of unusual dinosaur names the song is reminiscent of the band’s 2007 song “The Mesopotamians.”

Also of particular note on the album are the songs “Roy G. Biv,” a catchy rock song about an infamous elementary science pneumonic. The only unfortunate thing about this song is that it’s so catchy that you’ll have the fact that “Roy G. Biv is a colorful man and his name spells out the whole color spectrum” stuck in your head all day. The best song on the whole album, though, is a spoof. “The Ballad of Davy Crockett (in Outer Space),” to the tune of the song from the 1955 Disney miniseries, tells us the story of Davy Crockett traveling through outer space, shooting his gun, going to Jupiter, experiencing time dilation, wearing buckskins, fighting robots and being a precognitive crime fighter. This song simply can’t be beat. Lest you think that’s all there is to this fantastic album, it also includes songs about a multitude of other scientific subjects from the circulatory system to evolution, the solar system, photosynthesis and cells.

Ben Reeves

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