- They Might be Giants
- Relaese Date
- January 15, 1990
Flood [discogs] by They Might be Giants [discogs] may be the greatest alternative, indie, college rock album ever. TMBG might be known as comedy music, joke rock to most people, not serious music, but fans know that the music is as good as any mainstream rock band, the lyrics are —far from being jokes— often complex and meaningful, they have a lighter side but they are not just jokes. Also two of the songs on Flood had faux music videos on Tiny Toon Adventures [wikipedia.org] in early 1991, and I definitely remember watching those on Fox after school.
Due to the Tiny Toons videos I think Flood was a the gateway to TMBG for many people my age, much too young to have been in the core college fan demographic of the time. But Flood was not my gateway to TMBG. I do remember watching the videos for “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” [youtube.com] and “Particle Man” [youtube.com] on Tiny Toons —much later I found there was an “official” video for Istanbul [youtube.com]. But in 1991 I had just turned 13 and it was not a good time in my life, According to Wikipedia the Tiny Toons episode containing “Istanbul” and “Particle” Man aired in February 1991… right in the middle of the Gulf War, or Operation Desert Storm, and my mom was serving. She was not in the Middle East, she was a reservist and was called up in late 1991 to replace the active duty people who were deployed to the Middle East. But my mom was away from home all the time stationed several hours away, and I did not get along with my dad. So, the whole period of late 1990 to late 1991 while she was on active duty was not a good time in my house.
Anyway, it was a couple of years later that I got into TMBG. My (re)introduction was via a couple of friends in high school: S████ and G████. S████ especially used to listen to them all the time, Apollo 18 [discogs.com] and John Henry [discogs.com] were more recent and I recall he listened to them more, but Flood was in the mix. And it was the album that made the biggest impression on me. It was the first TMBG album I bought for myself. It was in the little CD wallet I kept in my backpack in senior year, along with other albums that are or will be on this list of my favorite: Under the Table and Dreaming [confusion.cc], and Garbage for two examples.
As for the music, Flood is an eclectic album like all TMBG albums. Besides “Istanbul” and “Particle Man”, both excellent songs, my three favorite would be: “Birdhouse In Your Soul”, “We Want a Rock”, and “Your Racist Friend”. “Your Racist Friend” in particular is one of the first political songs I really listened to, getting in to the politically charged music of Rage Against the Machine about the same time, late in senior your of high school when Evil Empire was released. It also has to be said that “Minimum Wage” is a brilliant… song? I’m not sure it counts as a song, jingle I guess.
I will admit that the first half of the album holds my attention better than the second half. But, I still listen to Flood from start to finish regularly.
But take a listen for yourself, on Apple:
Or on Spotify: