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4.7 out of 5 stars
Flood
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The first time hearing any TMBG song was on the aforementioned children's show in the Amazon review. That must have been about 7 or 8 years ago--but I got so hooked on the music at that point that I searched for about 4 years looking for this album. Eventually, I found it, and it has changed my life. To this day I cannot get the "Particle Man" tune out of my head, and "Birdhouse in Your Soul" still causes me to draw a blue canary (whom I have rightfully dubbed Filibuster Vigilantly) unintentionally on letters and essays. The best part of this album is not only that the songs are pure genius, but they require you to make time in order to get used to the music and interpret it. The Johns allow you to actually take an active role and let you enjoy it as you see fit. It ultimately led me to buy Apollo 18, an equally exquisite piece of art. Believe me when I say this--if you want to be a better person, buy this CD. It makes you see everything in a new, often warped point of view, and will be a driving force in your own imagination and creativity. And the music sounds pretty good, also.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If you are a TMBG fan, you already know own and love this album, so there is nothing new I can tell you. I'd like to address the newbies who might be browsing this page.
I admit than when I first heard "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Birdhouse in Your Soul" on the radio (you might not think they got ANY radioplay, but I swear that Live 105 in the Bay Area used to play them), the songs drove me crazy (not in a good way). They were so catchy I couldn't get them out of my head, and I misunderstood the oddball lyrics to mean "Ms. Radiolistener, you are so dim you will listen to any weird thing".
But I would like to publicly apologize for my miscomprehension. I was wrong!! Taken out of context (i.e., on the radio) I was unfairly condemning them. Most songs these days are completely tuneless and show no imagination. But every song on FLOOD is catchy and hard to forget, yes it's true, but that's a GOOD thing. Most lyrics these days are trite and cliched, but there is no a single cliche on Flood that I can find.
Now, when TMBG sings of a "birdhouse in your soul" I hear the joy of an uncensored imagination. (Or two uncensored imaginations, to be more precise). If you are having a bad day at the office, put it in your CD tray, you will feel completely liberated and you will be bopping around your desk.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is an album that seems to receive more than its fair share of both praise and criticism. Some people seem to consider it the only worthwhile album They Might Be Giants have ever made (probably without having actually listened to any of their other albums), and I get the feeling that some TMBG fans consider this to be the band's weakest work simply because it IS the most popular. Personally, I would take a middle ground here; it is certainly not TMBG's best work, but it IS a solid effort, and a good place for potential fans to start. Most of the songs have a fun, accessible kind of sound, welcoming fans and non-fans alike. People tend to have widely varying opinions on which Flood tracks are the best, but just about everyone can agree that one of the highlights is the famous "Birdhouse In Your Soul," an excellent pop song about a nightlight. Other personal favorites include "We Want A Rock," a song featuring a violin and lyrics about prosthetic foreheads and winding string around rocks; "Whistling In The Dark," with similarly odd and amusing lyrics (although the chorus can get a bit tedious) and a clever horn arrangement; the fast-paced "Letterbox"; and the slow piano-sing-along-type "Dead." Quite frankly, there isn't much on this album that I DON'T like, although the extended ending to "Hearing Aid" (featuring about a minute of the sound of machinery breaking down) comes close, and I've grown rather tired of "Particle Man," although that might be due simply to having heard it so many times; taken in and of itself, it's a cute little song, although not the one song I would want people to think of when someone mentions TMBG, which, unfortunately, it seems to have become. All in all, this is a good record for someone unfamiliar with TMBG, and absolutely essential for a fan.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Exploring the seemingly eclectic work of They Might Be Giants is always taxing - the first several listens, especially for newcomers, inspire more disgust than endearment - but I've found that it almost always pays off. "Flood" was the first TMBG album I tried, and I hated it for a long time. Even now, the last half of the album gets on my nerves, because the songs themselves are a lot less fun and start to sound either redundant or simply too high concept for their own good. That's the thing with TMBG - they're weird, with their constant fluctuations between rock, wacky sing-song anthems, 1930s swank, and downright freaky hybrids ("Hearing Aid" is impossible to describe), yet in the end, you can pinpoint their style pretty easily. As long as there's an accordion, and John Linnell's nasally, flat-sounding (but not really) voice is spouting off about something that makes absolutely no sense in the context of human knowledge (in "Dead" he sings about being reincarnated as a bag of groceries), you know it's TMBG. They may shift speeds, take turns using a variety of instruments, and defy all predictions at the start of each new track, but there's a familiar glow about them. Both their style and the rhythms of their music are insantly recognizable. Over time I've adapted to "Flood" beyond the few highlights that inspired me to buy it in the first place (the absolutely perfect pop chant "Birdhouse in Your Soul", perhaps their greatest song to date, plus "Istanbul [Not Constantinople]" and "Particle Man", which talks more about the bullying Triangle Man than the title hero, and which features not just a killer musical combination of accordion, tambourine, and handclaps, but also one of TMBG's funniest concepts, that of Person Man. And then, in a rare display of relevance, they actually play on the meaninglessness of his name by descriinge him as a worthless oddity in the world of superheroes). Unfortunately, as often befalls my music ventures, the songs that initially drew me to the album are better than anything else on it. If any song on Flood comes close, though, it'd be the fast-paced, country-flavored "Lucky Ball and Chain". It hooked me a lot quicker than the others. In general, I have no idea the rational significance of ANY of these songs, though there are times when recurring ideas almost build to an actual point. In some cases (i.e. "Istanbul"), the concept is so simple that, thematically-speaking, there's no need for a closer look. But most of the time the lyrics are baffling to the point where you start thinking that maybe they're just being deliberately delirious, like what would happen if you took Lewis Carroll to the 20th century and put a keyboard in his lap (unless someone call actually explain to me who is Mr. Horrible and why does he keep telling the "ugliness men" (????) that someone keeps moving his chair?). If I seem frustrated, it's only because I enjoy them so much that I wish I had a better understanding of their intentions as musicians. Are they conveying their real messages beneath the overtly goofy material? Is TMBG the Paul Verhoeven of music, unwilling to ever reveal their conceit, or the fact that IT IS a conceit, even at the possible expense of making that crucial connection with their audience? Or are they just absurdist craftsmen having fun and going nuts exploring the limitless playing field of music? Probably the one that sounds less pretentious
Flood is one of their best albums, scoring just below Severe Tire Damage (the requisite live album, which has all of their coolest songs, as well as my very favorite - "Dr. Worm"), and just above Apollo 18, Lincoln, and the recent Mink Car. Even if the results are not always rewarding, you gotta admire the ambition of They Might Be Giants, as they hardly ever stick with the same sound more than once. And if you like cheeky, surreal music (think the geeky class-clown charm of "Weird Al" Yankovic if he performed totally random tangents instead of parodies, or the inventive worldplay of Bloodhound Gang sans the vulgarity), or easy-to-swallow pop, or even if you're just looking for something new, then Flood's a gem. It's unlike most anything you've ever heard (besides other TMBG albums), which may not seem that special - anyone can come up with a new sound, at the lowermost level - but these guys have been around for nearly 2 decades, and Flood isn't even their first release. They're masters. And if nothing else, unlike virtually every other musician working for a record label, TMBG never skimp on content. The average size of their albums is about 18 tracks, and keeping in mind that they're also a lot more diverse than most artists, that's enough to guarantee that the casual listener can find at least one decent song on here (and trust me, it'll be either "Birdhouse in Your Soul" or "Particle Man"; the glee I get from hearing these 2 is nearly unparalleled by any other song in existence, but to each his own, and I sense "Whistling in the Dark" is the majority fave from this one)
BIRDHOUSE IN YOUR SOUL (A+)
Lucky Ball and Chain (B+)
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (A-)
Dead (B)
Your Racist Friend (B)
Particle Man (A)
Twisting (B)
We Want a Rock (B)
Someone Keeps Moving My Chair (B-)
Hearing Aid (D)
Minimum Wage (B-)
Letterbox (B-)
Whistling in the Dark (B)
Hot Cha (C)
Women & Men (C+)
Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love (C+)
They Might Be Giants (C+)
Road Movie to Berlin (C)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
That's not to say that this is one of the 10 greatest albums ever produced. Instead, if I were banished to the archetypical desert island, this is one of the 10 albums I would take along, both to keep my spirits up and to sympathize with what would be occasional bouts of self-pity and perhaps madness. (Hey, didn't any of you see Tom Hanks in "Castaway"?) In this album, TMBG manage to be goofy without being stupid and edgy without being pretentious. No mean feat, that.
The irony is that I ran across this album because one of my daughters had left it behind after she went off to college. I ran across it a few years later, popped it in the CD player, and was hooked by the end of "Birdhouse." I have several other TMBG albums now, but this remains my favorite. ..bruce..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Having been a while since I last listened to it, I popped in Flood again and realized something. While some of the others I've heard are just good overall, and have a few standouts, this one is superb, and the ones that stand out are just plain classic, any way you look at it (And no I'm not just talking about the well-known "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Particle Man".......from the irreverent yet serious tone inflected within "Your Racist Friend", to the bombastically goofy dork simplicity of "Women & Men", this album never fails to hit its mark. Every emotion is evoked with perfect "dork" sincerity. The yearning mover "Birdhouse In Your Soul" is the ultimate swoon song for the jilted uncool who just can't quite make it. (Who else would have the audacity to rhyme "Not to put to fine a point on it, say I'm the only bee in your bonnet"). One of the album's real gems, this. And it even has a perfect complementary song in the song lamenting over a break-up "Lucky Ball & Chain". A perfect fit, and 2 of the album's real gems.
And even the unusuallly unaffected individuals are sure to find themselves turning their heads and saying "WHAT! " to lines like this one "A man came up to me and said 'I'd like to change your mind. By hitting it with a rock he said though I am not unkind'" and the insanity goes even deeper from there.........And for a self-titled song, They Might Be Giants do quite the nice job pulling off a self-deprecating parody of a song that, like the other 18, won't fit into ANY category no matter how hard you try......That is to say, how many songs can you think of that introduces itself with a voice echoing "Hang on, hang on tighter" which later drops in AGAIN to remind the listener to "Hang on tighter, just to keep from being thrown to the wolves"..........(And all you yapping about Hot Cha, yes it is no classic, but it isn't THAT bad. But to each his own. :)
If you're looking for They Might Be Giants at their absolute best, you can do no better than Flood.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
TMBG is one of the coolest bands I have ever heard. I was first introduced to them a LONG time ago watching "Tiny Toon Adventures." The episode was spoofing an MTV video countdown, and "Istanbul (not Constantinople)" and "Particle Man" were in the countdown. I thought these were the coolest songs I had ever heard (at the time), but I didn't know who sang them. I thought the guys at the cartoon studio were just bored and decided to write two weird songs. After that, I forgot about the two songs until 6th grade. We were studying other countries and our teacher made us memorize that song and sing it over and over. After that, I forgot about the songs again until 8th grade. Some of the students saved up enough money to go to Washington D.C., and the kid I was sitting next to on the plane had the cassette. I listened to the thing all the way through and loved every song. I had to have it so when we got to D.C. after visiting all of the museums, we went to the mall and I bought the cassette. Then a few years later I had enough money to buy a CD player so I bought the CD. I have grown to love geek music. I have both Weezer CDs, and I'm working on my TMBG collection. Buy this CD, you'll be glad you did.
Vive el geek music!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Quirky, catchy fun,
a great introduction to
They Might Be Giants.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2004
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Back in 1990, when only the college crowd had any idea who these two guys from Brooklyn were, John Linnell and John Flansburgh put pen to paper and made history. Not history in the sense of "tell your grandkids where you were that day" but more like history in the sense of a subtle change was made for the better. FLOOD, the third album from the duo known as They Might Be Giants hit the stores and a subsequent wave followed. TMBG signed on with a major record company (Elektra) to produce this album. Songs started getting major airplay, and not from just college stations. A rework of Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - which was popular in several incarnations before - and the quirky original Particle Man, both paired with bizarre animated videos (that appeared on MTV's late night cartoon show Liquid Television) brought the sometimes-irreverent yet always offbeat world of John and John to the mainstream's eye.

Aside from all the attention to those two songs FLOOD has a lot to offer, especially for the uninitiated, or new TMBG fan. It has a few popular or familiar songs to ease your way into the experience (Istanbul, Particle Man), some that are unfamiliar but easy to get into, especially because of their nostalgic, bouncy sound (Twisting, Lucky Ball And Chain), and a few that will eventually grow on you (Hearing Aid, Dead). All in all, this album is full of great and memorable songs, each rich with playful wording and visual suggestion. From the odd Theme From Flood to Road Movie to Berlin, a decent glimpse into the scope of TMBG's style is on display. I would highly suggest any newcomer to TMBG to give this album a chance.

I may also be a tad biased - FLOOD was my first TMBG album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Flood" is TMBG's 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' - it's not necesseraly their best and certainly not their most recent, but any fan will tell you it's the 'must-own'. I don't know how many TMBG fans I know who got hooked on these guys instantly and indefinitley after listening to this album for the first time. It's the album you tote around with you for six months forcing family and friends (as well as strangers) to listen to. Many TMBG fans remember their first time; that night at their friend's place when those words - "guys, you gotta hear this CD..." were uttered.
Buy this CD and live the magic.
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