Monday, February 5th, 2018

They Might Be Giants – I Left My Body

Make a little Jukebox in your soul…


Julian Axelrod: I don’t know anyone who likes hanging out in their own body. Eventually you get sick of lugging around the same meat sack, and you dream of being outside yourself for one brief, shining moment. Everyone has their own methods of escape — drinking, drugs, disassociation — but the end goal is the same: Revel in the nirvana that undoubtedly lies just beyond your flesh prison. It usually doesn’t work out that way. Flansburgh and Linnell turn the out-of-body experience into a mundane slog of appointments, waiting rooms and spare parts. It’s a classic They Might Be Giants angle, with a dozen ironic twists and no concrete resolution. That’s the problem with these excursions: At the end of the day, you’re still stuck in the same stupid body.

Hannah Jocelyn: A song that literalizes dissociation in ways both absurd (the landlady lines) and heartbreaking (“They’re going to tow you/If they think you’re abandoned/You got to act like you’re not abandoned”). It’s They Might Be Giants, so saying that they’re brilliant is almost redundant, but this has a darkness to it I don’t often see in the forefront; it was there in I Like Fun‘s closer “Last Wave” too, with it’s frank admissions of mortality, but it’s just as prevalent in this song. When the band actually is getting older, and time is, in fact, marching on, it makes sense that the subject matter is a bit darker. Then again, this song fits in the word “cryptographically,” so it’s hard to say it’s too serious.

Will Adams: Quietly sad and regretful, “I Left My Body” is the kind of song Strong Sad would make a video for. It balances the weight of contemplating what we leave behind when we die — both physically and emotionally — with the imagined mundanity of the afterlife, like we really do enter a Defending Your Life scenario. I’d like to think that the liminal space sounds like this: walls of scruffy guitars that chug along with that calm resignation.

Alfred Soto: After four consecutive listens, I heard a blaring rock song of no significance. At their least inspired, They Might Be Giants didn’t believe in blaring rock.

Hazel Southwell: I’m going to generously say this is the top end, quality-wise, of the sort of indie a lot of my friends get incredibly into and moved by and which I find perfectly fine to dance to after I’ve had too many overpriced bottles of Peroni at an indie club. 

Micha Cavaseno: Nerd-Pop Lames of yesteryear re-emerge, guaranteed to their success thanks to a slavish fanbase who have found their smarm and banal tunesmanship enduring for decades on end. Look, the song is a nice enough sort of mid-tempo record for folks who have fond memories of Ben Folds and Weezer, who will recognize the Brian Wilsonisms and be charmed. Yet at the same time, this may be more musically reductive and trite than any blaring EDM record or dunderheaded rap banger or even your aggiest guitar-slinging dudebro. The rigidity and anemic puritanism is at this point a ghastly pose and one the band isn’t even concerned with deviating from knowing they’ve got their NPR parachute to fall back on. Hopefully one day their bubble gets burst.

Thomas Inskeep: I loved TMBG’s first two albums back in the ’80s, but haven’t checked in with them in quite some time. Based on this, I needn’t have bothered: the lyrics are slightly off-kilter but not weird enough, and the music sounds like a Better Than Ezra b-side. 

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One Response to “They Might Be Giants – I Left My Body”

  1. Maxwell no :(
    I’m always up for a Weezer diss but They Might Be Giants has never been quite as mean-spirited