on September 8, 2009
While not a kid, I am a fan of TMBG, a scientist and I love this album. There are too few songs for kids done by good musicians about some of the most wonderful things about the world around us. The videos add a level of detail without weighing down the music or the level of fun. What particularly impressed me about the album is that it is more then just a series of facts set to song. The songs "Why Does the Sun Shine?" and "Why Does the Sun Really Shine?" TMBG captures the self-correcting nature of science, while "Science is Real" and "Put it to the Test" convey that science is an active ongoing process.
I highly recommend this album to parents out there, as well as science fans of all ages.
on September 9, 2009
Just got this album in today and already I'm raving about it. The songs are fun and catchy, but the real deal-closer for me was the DVD. Over 45 minutes long, every single track on the CD has an animated video, each in a different creative style, that really bring the educational part home for the younger viewers. I have a daughter who is 4, and watching her stare with rapt attention as the "bloodmobile" explained how the cardiovascular system carries oxygen, nutrients, white blood cells, hormones, and waste to the different parts of the body--and seeing that she was really getting it--is incredibly rewarding. Or "Meet the Elements"... it's a bit too advanced for a 4 year old, but I can tell that she is at least getting some groundwork laid down in the basic concepts--that everything, and everyone, is made up of the same "stuff".
As a huge "fan" of science (I read science blogs while my coworkers check out ESPN), I can't tell you how fantastic it feels to have an entire album dedicated to, *ahem*, "singing the praises" of everything from anatomy to geology, astrophysics to zoology, the Big Bang to DNA. When I was a little kid, I was a little too late for Sagan's COSMOS, but I would watch hours of this silly little HBO show called ENCYCLOPEDIA, where they did silly sketches and songs about a lot of science facts and history. I know my fascination for learning new things about the How's and Why's of the world were, in part, kindled at that early age by such educational entertainment. I can't tell you how much it thrills me to see my kids starting on the same path of knowledge and discovery.
Thank you, John and John.
on September 20, 2009
I admit freely I skipped They Might Be Giants' previous children's albums, but I was drawn to "Here Comes Science" because they promised to correct the errors made in "Why Does the Sun Shine?" That, and the fact that I've been a hardcore TMBG fan for 20 years, and figured they deserved the benefit of the doubt.
"Here Comes Science" resembles any TMBG album, with catchy melodies and clever lyrics, sung in the nasal tones of John and John, along with guest shots by friends like Robin Goldwasser, who's worked with Flansburgh in Mono Puff. Truthfully, there's not a bad track on the album...my personal favorites are "I Am A Paleontologist" and "Put It to the Test," probably because these two tracks could easily fit on any TMBG album without any changes ("And all the kids who wanna see 'em/Are lining up at our museum"). These song-lessons occasionally put scientific accuracy (a good thing) at odds with song structure (a bad thing).
Of course, the album is called "Here Comes Science," so it's a good thing that the Johns are accurate. However, its reliance on sing-songy vocals (always a hallmark of TMBG, but usually more varied) makes this a minor struggle to get through on one sitting. However, for the under-10 crowd, it's easy to see both its usefulness and effectiveness. It's catchy, no doubt.
If anything, the songs on this album are better viewed in their video versions on the DVD. Not only is the animation goofy and fun, but the two Johns (in simplistic cartoon form) narrate and introduce the songs, often dropping useful facts and mnemonics to help the viewer better follow the subject matter. The DVD is consistently entertaining, fun, and educational, and therein lies the true value of this media project.
It's not your everyday TMBG release, but it's not meant to be. If you look at the album as a soundtrack to the DVD project (which I believe in many ways it was intended to be, and not vice versa), you'll enjoy it immensely. I know I did.
on September 11, 2009
I got this CD/DVD combo yesterday and, as soon as I was off work, put the CD on in my car. I love TMBG and had preordered this CD as soon as I saw it was for sale. Our family is very big on science and our daughter is six and quite musically inclined, so I thought this would be just perfect for all of us.
The songs are catchy and fun and, gasp!, informative for kids. They may seem like very basic stuff to us adults, but anything that will help the youngers remember their planets (and millions of other things), the colors of the rainbow, and what elements are is good in my book.
Today I popped in the DVD and watched it. There are both the songs in alphabetical order and a show that goes through the songs in the same order as they are on the CD. The show is hilarious and I laughed out loud at more than one part. I also learned a few things, such as what sand is made out of and that there is more than one dwarf planet in our solar system. Maybe everyone already knew these things, but I didn't.
A warning for those who take their respective holy books literally, this CD/DVD set is about science, meaning it does deal with evolution. That's not an issue in my book, but I know it can be for some. Off the top of my head, the songs "Science Is Real," "My Brother The Ape," and "I'm A Paleontologist" all either deal with the concept or at least mention it.
One thing to note that I really liked, though others might not or might find it confusing. The song "Why Does The Sun Shine?" (an older TMBG song that was rerecorded for this album) contains some outdated scientific information. Instead of changing the song, TMBG added another right after that one called "Why Does The Sun Really Shine?" which discusses the differences between the two songs (we now know the sun is made of "a miasma of incandescent plasma" instead of "a mass of incandescent gas"), defines what plasma is, and--if you're inclined to talk with your child about such things--is a great example of the scientific method at work. I have a very strong inkling that this is the reason the new song was added instead of the original being altered or left out all together.
on September 8, 2009
TMBG's biggest strength is their ability to make music that people of all generations can enjoy. It's rare that I find an album of kid's music that is tolerable, let alone something that I'll actually listen to on my own time -- "Here Comes the Science" is definitely the later.
on September 28, 2009
My six year old hasn't (willingly) stopped listening to - or watching - his favorite videos from the collection all weekend. He's Met the Elements, looked for Roy G. Biv, and learned the difference between a giant ball of gas and a miasma of incandescent plasma.
Or, no, I phrased it wrong. He's stopped watching so we could go onto various websites to learn more about the color spectrum, the temperature of the sun, what happened to Pluto's designation, and more. And I'm having a terrific time watching him learn about the basics of scientific theories, concepts and best of all, facts.
on September 28, 2009
LOVE this album. Smart, funny and informative while being playful and cool. My kids love it, I love it, everyone will love it. Introduces science concepts and musical genres with energetic and catchy songs - there is no bad song on this album. I cannot praise it highly enough. We own all the They Might Be Giants albums - the kids albums are just as good as the adult stuff, if not better. Buy it!
This DVD arrived yesterday and my kids have already watched it 3 times. My oldest shut down his favorite video game to join the real fun, and pretty soon the whole family was crowded together, singing along about photosynthesis and DNA. Of course the songs are fun and intelligent--would you expect any less from TMBG? And the concepts are presented on a kid's level without dumbing them down, so younger kids won't feel intimidated by the information, and older kids won't feel insulted or patronized. In fact, my kids were inspired to ask questions and find out more: my third-grader is now fascinated with the periodic table and wants to do a report about it! I knew the DVD would be a hit with the kids, but I didn't expect to like it so much myself. I'm particularly impressed with the animation. Every song is animated in a different style, and they are all so COOL! Do your kids a favor and get Here Comes Science for them. Ten stars!
on September 11, 2009
I've really enjoyed listening to the songs and watching the videos with my four year old daughter. Her current favorite is "I Am a Paleontologist". All the song are catchy and smart. Thy lyrics are intelligent and not condescending. The videos are well produced and fun to watch. Do your child, and yourself, a favor and buy this CD.
on September 12, 2009
I guess I'm the prototypical TMGB fan: first heard them decades ago when in college, have 3 kids now. So of course I have to buy this set.
Pretty cool videos, nice catchy tunes. I'm thinking that the science will be most appreciated by adults and not the kids, but my 5- and 8- year old kids really like the videos and songs too.
Some trippy little tidbits thrown into the videos or the John&John introductions to each. I like the little black cat playing the Theremin in Why Does the Sun Shine :-). I had heard the Sun is a Miasma of Incadescent Plasma in the past year, but the tune never really clicked in my head till I saw the video cartoon with it too. BTW, most astrophysicists I worked with never objected to the inaccuracies in WDTSS - I know in particular John Bahcall loved it.
Two less-science themed songs and videos are IMHO the most enjoyable: Electric Car - with Robin Goldwasser's vocals and really catchy horns, and a video obviously styled after the ever-present car commercials but actually fun to watch! And Davey Crockett in Outer Space, is the zaniest interpretation possible: Davey Crockett, messing with the fabric of time to catch criminals before they commit the crimes :-).