There’s a certain East Coast aesthetic that has always drawn me close: I don’t know if it was ever real, and it wasn’t anything I experienced personally if I’m honest, but I saw it second hand from Stinky and his endless stories, in the films of Whit Stillman, and in particular in the music and clips of They Might Be Giants.
It’s hard to believe they actually existed now: a band that made a living primarily from a phone line, where they put up a new song every day and their fans would dial up to hear it, which meant they had hundreds of songs to choose from when it was time for them to put out an album, which was seemingly every 6 months or so. They lived in a New York from the movies, where everything was clean but endearingly goofy, and they lived in their world of roll neck sweaters, ties and cardigans and pipes, where even though I doubt they ever sold any records outside of the north east they could film their videos in Grand Central Station (the immortal Birdhouse in Your Soul, with it’s own dance line) or with animated vegetables (You’re On Fire).
The phone line was actually a little moment of genius, forcing them to just put a track down and not think about it too much, which left room for the listener to fill in the gaps. And none of their moments were quite as good, perhaps, as Ana Ng, the home of one of the best lyrics in music (“when I was driving once I saw this written on a bridge: ‘I don’t want the world, I just want your half’”). In truth TMBG are the band that would have inevitably happened if John and I had gone to college together: the world has dodged a bullet, but on the other hand it dodged a bullet.
And it might have meant I was forced to be a Red Sox fan, and nothing is worth that. I’ve never liked being a fan of the big teams: it’s too easy. Far better to be a Yankees fan, and dream. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxxL640CRZY