I am a fan of science. I am a fan of kid tunes. I am a fan of They Might Be Giants. So I’m sure that no one out there in the blogosphere will be surprised to read that I am a giant freakin’ fan of Here Comes Science, the fourth children’s album produced by They Might Be Giants (TMBG). Many of you probably remember their fantastic indie albums from the late 80s and early 90s, with offbeat and strangely infectious hits like “Ana Ng” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”. If you want a refresher on how odd yet amazingly appealing these songs are, check out the Tiny Toon Adventures video to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, released in 1990:
So it was with great anticipation that I popped Here Comes Science into my laptop. And it is with great joy that I write how awesome it is.
The tunes on this album are classic TMBG. They are catchy, silly, and clever — and surprisingly complex. So complex I’m not sure that little ones will really appreciate this music. They’d probably like the silliness and bounce around the living room to the funky grooves, but it’s the elementary school crowd (and older) that will get the most out of these tunes. John Flansburgh and John Linnell (the creative core of the band) have crafted some highly entertaining songs that do a remarkable job of taking complex scientific ideas and distilling them into eminently digestable (and digable!) three minute songs.
One thing that considerably elevates this album: it includes a DVD that has music videos for every song. The videos are awesome. Hilarious. Educational. The visual dessert to the music’s audio dinner. Or maybe I’ve got that backwards. The videos might be dinner while the audio is dessert — for it’s in watching the videos that the scientific lessons are really brought home. Take for example, “Meet the Elements”:
I listened to this tune and found it thoroughly enjoyable. But when I watched the video, I learned some stuff! Did you know that most life on the planet is comprised of four elements, namely Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen & Nitrogen? Or that the sun is made up of plasma, not gas, as has been suggested in the past? I suppose I had this knowledge kicking around in my grey matter somewhere, but the cool tune/silly video combo have made these facts much more memorable. Do yourself and your kids a favor and check out this CD & DVD set from the library today.