A Comprehensive Analysis of They Might Be Giants’ 1990 Masterpiece, Flood

by henryschmidel

Grading Criteria: (Rating out of 100 ÷ Runtime) x Track Number

“Theme From Flood”: This opener is a masterpiece. It tells you everything you need to know: The world is in love, we’re marching hand in hand, the ocean levels are rising, and TMBG released an album called Flood in 1990. Overall grade: 3.703. 

“Birdhouse in your Soul”: Last year I got broken up with and didn’t handle it well and I listened to this song fifteen times a day for like three months. It’s so good and I have no clue what it means but I know every note and every word and it’s all perfect. Overall Grade: 1.005

“Lucky Ball and Chain”: This one is really sad. It’s a weird confession of a guy who is clearly bummed about this woman, assumed to be his wife, leaving him and he is very torn up about it but also he seems pretty chipper and keeps talking about stuff that wasn’t good about their marriage. Overall Grade: 1.670

“Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”: The best cover of a 1950s novelty music song I can think of off the top of my head. However, I watched that umbrella show they have on netflix and it sucks and this song featured prominently as a shockingly bad music direction choice. I haven’t been able to get that god-awful show untied from this song in my head. Overall Grade: 2.285

“Dead”: This is a simple story of reminiscing about your life while you’re dying and completely incoherent or possibly already a ghost and asking someone in the next life what happened on Earth at your funeral. Overall Grade: 2.653 

“Your Racist Friend”: This song goes hard as hell but it’s also super liberal and instead of complaining John Flansburgh (the larger of the two Johns) should just beat the shit out of this asshole. Overall Grade: 2.4

“Particle Man”: There has never been a better song than this. I’m not going to tell you about it, you just have to listen. Overall Grade: 6.637

“Twisting”: This song is just a bop, not much more to say. The pilot light on my flash is blown out also and it’s old as shit and I don’t know if I can afford to replace it, so I empathize with John in this one. Overall Grade: 5.913

“We Want A Rock”: I would like nothing more than a big prosthetic forehead to wear on my real head (except for maybe a rock to wind a string around). I’m sure you can all agree. Overall Grade: 4.821

“Someone Keeps Moving My Chair”: Whenever I imagine Mr. Horrible I just visualize Mr. Burns. The ugliness man is also Mr. Burns but in the X-Files crossover episode where he looks like a green alien. Overall Grade: 5.734


“Minimum Wage”: This song is so cool. It’s not really clear to me what John and John are trying to say about minimum wage, but they do it with such simple style that I have no response but joy and jubilation. Overall Grade: 26.086

“Letterbox”: This song is a nice interlude after the insane strength of the last two, not too much to say about it except I often wonder if the little bird in this song is related to the one in track two. The world may never know. Overall Grade: 10.705

“Whistling in the Dark”: Love the Flansburgh vocals, especially on such a great message (be yourself :] ). Overall Grade: 5.326

“Hot Cha”: I don’t really love this one but it has its place. Just not really my style. The little breakdown is cool though. Overall Grade: 11.368

“Women & Men”: An all-time great song about fuckin. Really spectacular stuff here, and an incredible description of how sailing works. Overall Grade: 14.953

“Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love”: Not my favorite song, but it’s definitely an earworm. I often find myself humming this one a few days after I listen to the record. Overall Grade: 15.052

“They Might Be Giants”: Every band needs a theme song, and this one really stands out! You will never forget who wrote this album after this track. It’s so so so good. Overall Grade: 11.666

“Road Movie to Berlin”: A little bit of a snoozer! You hate to see an album closing on a song like this. Personally, I would’ve ended the record on the weird energy of the previous track, but I also understand the call of finishing off with a slower song. Personal preference. Overall Grade: 8.697

Categories: henry schmidel, November 3, 2020, tunes

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