I’ve been a fan of They Might Be Giants for most of my life and have always been surprised that people universally disagree with me on this.

Linnell’s songs tend to be quirkier but also shallower. (State Songs is a good example here - there isnt a song for every state and theyre often abstract to the point of meaninglessness. I expected such a project to have more inspiration behind it.

I’ve always found Flansburgh’s more melodic and thoughtful, slightly better composed, and with a superior singing voice.

Of course they’re a great duo and they play off each other’s strengths. I don’t dislike Linnell at all, just the songs that he sings tend to not be my favorites.

    • Jakdracula@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      Yea, I’m not familiar with much of their stuff so I would like to hear it side-by-side comparison.

    • Pronell@lemmy.worldOP
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      4 months ago

      They’ve got such an extensive catalog it was hard to narrow down, so here’s a top five of songs sung by each John:

      John Linnell: Particle Man, We Want a Rock, Ana Ng, Birdhouse in Your Soul, and Doctor Worm

      John Flansburgh: Lucky Ball and Chain, Cyclops Rock, New York City, Man It’s so Loud in Here, Pet Name

      Having made these lists, Flansburgh does more love songs, maybe that’s my bias.

      • testfactor@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I just looked it up, and Linnell also did “Let’s Get This Over With,” which is by far my favorite of their more recent stuff…

        Yeah, I think I’ve just gotta disagree with you as well. “Dr Worm” is such a banger too…

        Yeah, it’s tough, cause I love pretty much all the Flansburgh you listed, but I think Linnell probably edges it out for me…

        Yeah, I keep looking up other songs to try and make the case for Flansburgh, and they keep being Linnell. He also did “Contrecoup.” And it looks like he’s primary on “Older.” I think all the songs that are immediately popping to mind are Linnell, so I guess that says something…

        • Pronell@lemmy.worldOP
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          4 months ago

          Linnell has more conceptual songs, and those are awesome. And I do agree that Doctor Worm is a great fucking song.

          But Flansburgh just makes stronger songs in general to me. I guess maybe they’re often the less experimental ones, which may say something about my tastes as well.

      • thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee
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        4 months ago

        Hmm we had Birdhouse In Your Soul as our wedding entrance music so I can’t in good conscience agree with you here.

  • Fr0G@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    First, I’m just happy that there is a TMBG topic. Nobody ever talks about them and I like them a lot.

    Second, John F writes love songs and I’m into it. I’m pretty sure “She’s an Angel” is his “Twisting” is great. With that said John L. Just has really good weird sounds that are pop enough to be palatable. Songs like “you’re on fire”, “dr. Worm”, and I’m pretty sure “the lady and the tiger” is his. To say who’s better is like comparing radio head to the talking heads, they just make different stuff.

    Last, thanks for this. I really like tmbg and don’t really get to talk about them with anyone

    • Pronell@lemmy.worldOP
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      4 months ago

      Yeah, I’ve been a fan since high school and have followed them over the years.

      I’m so glad they’ve gotten the mainstream attention - to the point of being almost embraced with a sitcom theme song and all the Disney stuff.

      But, consistently, people tell me I’m wrong when I say Flansburgh is better.

      I’m glad this got attention and some love from fans.

  • AwkwardLookMonkeyPuppet@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    I’ve always viewed their songs as somewhere between Weird Al and The Wiggles. Songs that get stuck in your head, but are pretty annoying. Just seeing this post already has their songs playing through my mind, and I hate it. It’ll probably be stuck the rest of the day now.

      • AwkwardLookMonkeyPuppet@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I knew a guy in highschool who loved their music, but he’s the only person I’ve ever met who does.

        Edit: I take that back. I knew a 2nd guy at summer camp who also loved it

        • Pronell@lemmy.worldOP
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          4 months ago

          They are popular among stoners and nerds, so many of my friends are fans as they fall into either or both groups.

          • AwkwardLookMonkeyPuppet@lemmy.world
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            4 months ago

            Yeah the guy in highschool was both, and the guy at summer camp was a nerd. I haven’t heard Particle Man, or Istanbul in 30 years, but I still remember all the lyrics. The songs are real ear worms.

            • Pronell@lemmy.worldOP
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              4 months ago

              I’m a nerd who likes wordplay and they have really interesting lyrics.

              I’ve also found over time that most of the male singers I like are kinda nasal, so that might be part of what turns off others that I don’t mind.

  • Chill Dude 69@lemmynsfw.com
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    4 months ago

    “[GENERAL]”

    By which you mean UNBELIEVABLY SPECIFIC.

    I mean, that’s fine. Your opinion is completely valid, specific or not. I just think it’s weird that you put the “general” tag. You don’t have to put any tags, but you chose to put one that’s arguably entirely incorrect. You could at least have tagged it as [MUSIC] or [POP CULTURE] or something.

    “General” is not what this is. That’s all I’m saying.