“Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.”

I’m not sure if I can even tell the difference between pointless nostalgia and meaningful nostalgia anymore.

A conversation with my husband last night led me to listening to They Might Be Giants’ 1990 album Flood while I was working out this morning. Despite not having listened to it in years, I still knew nearly every word. I was hit hard by the nostalgia stick.

Screenshot 2017-04-21 at 11.10.43

I swear I don’t remember that this is what the cover of my cassette tape looked like.

I don’t really know how popular TMBG were? I think a lot of kids at the time knew them because two of their songs, Istanbul and Particle Man,were featured on Tiny Toons. But I was thirteen when Flood was released and I don’t really remember other thirteen year olds going crazy for them the same way they did, say, Paula Abdul. (No judgment on the other thirteen year olds; I went EQUALLY crazy for TMGB and Paula Abdul.)

So how was it listening to Flood as an almost-40 year old? (Yes, yes. My 40th birthday is next week). I’m here to tell you that it was fantastic. Flood is one of those things where your memory of it actually holds up. It’s even better than I remembered. In fact, when I was thirteen, I think I just like the goofy lyrics. I still like the goofy lyrics, but as an old lady I appreciate them in a different way. And I also appreciate how eclectic the music really is. They hit everything from a slight country-western twang on Lucky Ball & Chain, to odd sound-sampling in Minimum Wage, to the horn riff in Whistling in the Dark.

And while the lyrics to Your Racist Friend might seem a little on the nose (they aren’t meant to be subtle, y’all), who could have guessed that a B-side track on a 1990 album from a moderately successful band would be so fucking RELEVANT in 2017?

This is where the party ends
I can’t stand here listening to you
And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend
It was the loveliest party that I’ve ever attended
If anything was broken I’m sure it could be mended
My head can’t tolerate this bobbing and pretending
Listen to some bullet-head and the madness that he’s saying
This is where the party ends
I’ll just sit here wondering how you
Can stand by your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
You and your racist friend
Out from the kitchen to the bedroom to the hallway
Your friend apologizes, he couldn’t see it my way
He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking
Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding
This is where the party ends
I can’t stand here listening to you
And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend

^^^The 2017 Political and Social Media Anthem, right there.

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About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
This entry was posted in General nostalgia, Music, non-book review, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.”

  1. Tracy says:

    I am also 40 and love your blog, we read a lot of the same books as kids and I’ve loved reading about them again. I also freaking LOVED They Might Be Giants as a 13 year old and still do now. Amen about “Your Racist Friend” as being so relevant. I hope you’ve got their kids’ albums for your boys – Here Comes Science is our favorite. Science is real! TMBG forever!!

  2. Myron M. says:

    My off-brand “Walkman” played everything just a little fast, so there were only a few tapes I could stand to listen to, but this was one of them. I’m pretty sure I can do every word too, all these years later.

    I picked this up after they played “Racist Friend” on Letterman. Glad I did.

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