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They Might Be Giants: Here Comes Science

We are steadfast They Might Be Giants fans in this House of Chaos. I’ve been listening to them since High School (uh-oh, did I just date myself?) — Flood is definitely up there on my list of go-to albums. When they came out with Here Come the ABCs a few years back I was worried. See, they are backed by Disney, and the Disney-fication of the world freaks me out a little bit (I will expound on that in a future post). But TMBG did not disappoint with Here Come the ABCs, and they topped themselves not just once (with Here Come The 123s), but twice since then.

Here Comes Science is my all-time favorite TMBG album thus far. The incredibly catchy tunes combined with the so-NOT-dumbed-down lyrics and very clever rhyming is hugely appealing. Of course my almost-five-year-old digs the videos that go along with the songs, but more often than not we just listen to the music. Every song brings out, “THIS one is my favorite, Mommy! No, wait! This one AND the last one, AND the one before.”

I’m happy if they are all his favorites. Some of the science is understandably too complex for him, but he’s learning. How many almost-five-year-olds know what the four main elements in all living things are? (For those who are not as smart as a TMBG-tutored almost-five-year-old, they are: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen.) How many know what the difference is between speed and velocity? Or that Pluto used to be a planet but now isn’t (poor Pluto)? I’m thinking a lot of kids, actually, due to this clever album that can be listened to over and over again without making parents want to rip their eyeballs out and stuff them in their ears.

Seriously, when your almost-five-year-old states to an unsuspecting houseguest that the sun is actually not made up of gas but is rather a “miasma of incandescent plasma,” you can’t help but smile ’til it hurts.

When I received the CD in the mail (after having pre-ordered it weeks in advance of its release), I couldn’t wait for my almost-five-year-old sponge to join me in the first listening. I popped that sucker in the car CD player on the way to preschool pick-up and was immediately pleased with “Science is Real”. I admit I raised an eyebrow, wondering what kind of flak TMBG would  take over some of the lyrics, but being a person who doesn’t believe that science should necessarily be a threat to religion and faith, it didn’t bother me one bit. I’ve since read reports criticising TMBG for promoting science over religion. One of the Johns (John Flansburgh), in an interview for Wired, commented:

“Although it wasn’t designed to create controversy, it’s still a big relief to me that the opening track, Science Is Real, didn’t raise any red flags with the label. The song freely acknowledges the Big Bang and evolution, and casually conflates angels with unicorns and elves–all of which might bug some anti-science, pro-angel folk.”

I popped over to Amazon to read the reviews and discussions, and the heat over this one song gets intense.

Science vs. Religion issues aside, this CD (plus the accompanying DVD) has cemented such a love for science and learning in my son, he has requested that his next birthday party be science-themed.

We’ll do chemisrty experiments. Maybe I’ll attempt a sheet cake decorated as the periodic table.

I’m such a nerd (and I love it).

3 Comments

  1. Kerry says:

    OK, that’s it! I’m buying the CD even though my kids are no longer the intended demographic. We loved the first two, and even though my tweenagers might not download this to their iPods, they can still safely rock out to it at home with Mom and Dad. And I’ll learn a thing or two. (P.S. Re dating oneself: I loved Flood in college–like, late in college!)

  2. lailani says:

    A volcano science experiment theme would be rad.

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