9.27.2009

HERE COMES SCIENCE by They Might Be Giants


John Linnell and John Flansburgh have been making quirky music for almost thirty years as They Might Be Gaints -- and during that time they also started making children's music. Having tackled numbers and the alphabet, the two Johns now sing about all things scientific in Here Comes Science.

This album is a basic primer on some of the most popular areas of the world of science. Some songs are very straightforward in what they cover ("Cells," "Photosynthesis," "Electric Car"), while others take a less straightforward path to their subject ("Bloodmobile" is about the circulatory system, "Put It to the Test" explains the scientific method, and evolution is part of a family gathering in "My Brother the Ape").

As someone who studied liberal arts in college, I can appreciate the challenge in making science fun -- but They Might Be Giants manage to do it here. There's a nice variety in the songs, from the goofy "Roy G. Biv" to rockin' numbers like "Why Does the Sun Shine?" and "I Am a Paleontologist." The songs are pretty informative -- I now the difference between speed and velocity -- and they should get little kids more interested in science ideas. (I like how they follow the old song "Why Does the Sun Shine?" with the more scientifically accurate "Why Does the Sun Really Shine?") And there's also a dvd with music videos for all the songs, using simple and effective animation.

Here Comes Science is aimed at kids, so adults will find it cute more than great music. I also wonder about including "The Ballad of Davy Crockett (in Outer Space)": It's a fun song, but very scientifically inaccurate on an album about teaching science. Overall, They Might Be Giants have created an informative and fun album with Here Comes Science.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch


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