The first song I ever remember1 from They Might Be Giants was “Dr. Worm.” It started a sordid love affair with their penchant for pop-craft. While they’re great influences on nerdy parents and quirky musicians across the world, I think they showed me, at the time I discovered them, that you can succeed in doing what makes you happy. What’s more, maybe even that you can find a collaborator who will help you realize your creative aspirations. I enjoyed their work as TMBG, but also their solo efforts to try and make private projects come to fruition. What always struck me about them (until recent years, perhaps) is that they kept themselves interested by trying new things and they never ran short on material. Colin Quinn taught me something similar– the more you make, the more possible that they won’t all be hits, but you keep on making them. When I hear the horns of “Dr. Worm,” I get taken back to hearing this song in a moment of discovery. Not even their best, it was a mark of something fresh and interesting to me: something that wasn’t shiny and perfect, but with character and blemishes. It made me see music as almost human.
- The first song I ever heard was “Snail Shell,” but I didn’t know it was TMBG until I heard “Dr. Worm” later. [↩]