Omnivore: Might They Be Giants-Finally?
In the mid-’80s, a pair of friendly, funny singer-songwriters played at my high school. They called themselves They Might Be Giants, and I liked them. But that was before their hyperactive pop music came to dominate alternative radio, putting boingy hits like "Don’t Let’s Start" and "Birdhouse in Your Soul" on constant replay for more than a decade. In other words, before they became the musical equivalent of a pestering, pubescently awkward little brother.
The most obvious sign that They Might Be Giants were finally ready to grow up came, strangely enough, from those Dunkin’ Donuts jingles they created in 2006. Focusing their scattershot cleverness, they sang punchy, snarky tunes (like the one mocking barista lingo: "Is it French or is it Italian? Perhaps Fritalian…") that made our local coffee-and-crullers chain seem hip. More important for music fans, the ads showed a welcome maturing of the band’s wordplay and melodies.
Ironically, though, they’ve matured the most by making music for children. In the past few years, the duo has turned out albums for toddlers learning their ABCs and 123s (earning a Grammy along the way). In September they released Here Comes Science, whose crunchy pop-punk can get any youngster fired up about the periodic table, while this month brings the book and DVD Kids Go!, which encourages children to jump around. The Kids Go! title song is a revelation, its silky bass and blasts of horns proving these nerd rockers have at last learned to groove, and the total package works in spades: It makes kids and parents—even me— jump for joy.