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Review: They Might Be Giants – I Like Fun

It seems that They Might Be Giants like fun. It’s a good thing if that is true, as they titled their new album I Like Fun, which could be taken at face value, as well as not taken at face value.

Is I Like Fun any fun?

The album starts off quite directly. No kind of intro; just straight into the main body of “Let’s Get This Over With”, which may have been the point. With its rather light, upbeat and quick melody and deceptively light-sounding lyrics, the song is an appropriate opener for the album, although it could have worked just as well as a closer.

The rest of the album is similar to the opener in that they lean more toward TMBG’s pop elements than they do their experimental, although there are certainly times where the more experimental parts come a bit more to the front, such as on “I Like Fun” and “McCafferty’s Bib”. In these moments some of TMBG’s stronger songs are found, but otherwise the songs are well-written and performed. There are no signs of over-performing and in some cases the instruments underplay various parts. Overall there is a fair bit of attention to detail that gives the songs a good amount of life.

As always, the lyrics are a fair bit more serious and humorous than they sound, although on I Like Fun they do still feel a bit lighter than usual. If there’s one thing that TMBG are good at doing, it’s doing a good job of disguising their subject matter and on I Like Fun they succeed in that quite well. “I want to say I learned something valuable today / Alas, my murdered remains are incapable of learning anything” may not immediately register due to the poppy overtones of the tune to which they are a part of, but it (as well as many other lines) work far better with their songs than they should.

They Might Be Giants have been lucky enough to have a career that has outlasted many bands that have come and gone since their beginning. Not only that, but they’ve also been lucky enough to have that career full of albums that are generally quite good both on a surface level and in a deeper search. I Like Fun continues that trend. It’s consistent, well-written and strong with plenty of clever lyrics and interesting melodies.

As with many of their previous albums, I Like Fun contains within it enough to satisfy fans who want to go deep or stay on the surface, as well as enough to draw in new ones.

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