Monday, October 19, 2009

The Musical Circle of Life

*This post originally appeared at

This past Sunday, Jason and I drove the girls to Madison to see the band "They Might Be Giants" perform at the Barrymore Theatre. If you're not familiar with who they are you may have heard some of their songs on television. They sang the theme song for Higglytown Heroes on the Disney Channel as well as the opening song "Boss of Me" for the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. They've also been featured on PBS and Cartoon Network and their kids cds, "NO!", "Here Come the ABCs", "Here Come the 123s" and "Here Comes Science" are wildly popular- especially in my house. Originally an alternative rock band, their shift to writing children's music has given me an common interest with my kids that I wasn't expecting.

Jason and I have been huge fans of the band for more than fifteen years now. (Yes, I said FIFTEEN years and just writing that number down kind of took me back a bit. Geez.) Jon Flansburgh and John Linnell started out in the early eighties as a quirky rock duo and gained popularity during the nineties with the alternative music crowd. Their most popular album, "Flood" just went platinum nearly twenty years after it's original release. I have great memories of going to see the Giants with my friends back in high school and I love the fact that we are now able to take our kids to see the same rock band we saw back in the day. At the same venue nonetheless! Walking into the Barrymore Theatre, it felt like I had just been there jumping up and down and singing with the crowd of people in front of the stage. Now here I was with my two kids standing in the exact same spot. If you would have told me fifteen years ago...blah, blah, you get the rest.

Probably the best part of a TMBG kids show (besides the CONFETTI MACHINE!) is listening to all the parents sing along. Most of the Giants earlier work is very kid-friendly so you can count on them to throw in an oldie like "Istanbul (Not Constantinople" in between singing about alphabet letters and balloons. Plus, there is something just great about seeing a grown man shout the words to "Particle Man" while dancing with a baby. I dare say some of the adults had more fun than the children.

I love the fact that my kids and I can enjoy this music together. It's such a battle in the car these days over what we're going to listen to but this is one thing we can agree on. I can put up with a certain amount Hannah Montana but it's far more rewarding to overhear my five-year-old singing the lyrics, "I'm a Paleontologist, That's Who I Am..."

Go ahead and learn all about TMBG here:

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