Golden Years - 1990: They Might Be Giants: Flood - Articles - Soundblab

Golden Years - 1990: They Might Be Giants: Flood

by D R Pautsch Rating: Release Date:

This is the first of an occasional series of articles looking at classic albums from partucular years which may have been forgotten over the years. Taking a year at a time, we start in 1990.

1990 was a year of historic significance, but musically it wasn't so hot. The best-selling album in the UK was ...But Seriously by Phil Collins. In the US it was Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson. Not exactly memorable are they?

There were musical landmarks, however, with Depeche Mode's Violator being a notable one. But that isn’t the subject of this article. Instead the forgotten classic is Flood by They Might Be Giants.

The band’s major label debut is remembered more for its top 10 single ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’ than anything else.  However, this quirky American pop duo delivered their most accomplished album in 1990, one that within its 19 tracks had wit, melody and enough variety to ensure that the nasally-inclined delivery of TMBG didn't get too annoying.

The almost retro feel of songs like ‘Minimum Wage’ (complete with rawhide delivery), ‘Theme From Flood’ and ‘Road Movie to Berlin’ made them endearing and memorable. The cover of ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ was a great update of a classic. ‘Your Racist Friend’ is a staccato delivered slice of party awkwardness that is catchy, endearing and empathetic.

‘Particle Man’ was a sign of what came later, with the band making songs which appealed to children. Among the 19 tracks, not everything works. However, as whole it comes through strongly, giving quirky pop a good old kick up the backside. 

TMBG never really had anything like success in the UK and, while in the US they fared better, this was their finest hour. Flood is worth remembering and rediscovering as it has enough gems and pop moments to make you realise that since this, not only have TMBG not delivered quirky pop like this - no-one has.

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