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Hello Radio: Songs of They Might Be Giants

Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants Audio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Price: $14.78 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 2008 $9.49  
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 11, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bar/None Records
  • ASIN: B000FQVYF4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,292 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ana Ng - Self
2. Pet Name - The Long Winters
3. Narrow Your Eyes - David Miller
4. She's An Angel - Charles Douglas
5. Road Movie To Berlin - Frank Black
6. They'll Need A Crane - The Wrens
7. Dead - Steve Burns
8. Letterbox - OK Go
9. Boat Of Car - Recepter
10. Don't Let's Start - This Radiant Boy
11. Doctor Worm - Jason Trachtenburg
12. It's Not My Birthday - Fluid Ounces
13. Another First Kiss - Brett Kull
14. The End Of The Tour - Hotel Lights

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of suprises, both good and bad July 12, 2006
Format:Audio CD
No matter the what band you base them on, tribute albums always have the inherent quality of being both great albums and total letdowns. However, in an offhanded sort of way, that is the point of a tribute album: to show how different classic songs can be interpreted by different groups of people. With that being said, "Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants" does exactly that. And while some of the covers do tend to fall flat, the number of good (and great) completely outweighs the bad.

While some of the more faithful covers (see: "It's Not My Birthday" and "Another First Kiss") tend to be strictly "just fine," a few of the more deviant covers are the ones that stand out the most. The Long Winters' more upbeat, somewhat racous version of "Pet Name" is terribly fun to sing along, as is David Miller's "Narrow Your Eyes" (listen for the great The Who inspired guitar solo in place of Linnell's accordion solo), and Receptor's "Boat of Car" is suprisingly well done, making the song sound much more interesting, as well as more grimm at times.

As far as the less-than-favorable tracks, This Radiant Boy's obligatory punk cover of "Don't Let's Start" is so lazily performed that it almost sounds more like a parody than a tribute (at least there's already a great cover of "Don't Let's Start" by Common Rotation on their "The Big Fear" album to make up for it). OK Go doesn't do much better either with their cover of "Letterbox." While I commend them for experimenting outside of their usual upbeat sound(the song has a very glitchy and fuzzed out distortion feeling to it, almost reminiscant to Trent Reznor's work), it fails completely engage the listener.

Overall, "Hello Radio..." does exactly what a tribute album should do, and nothing less. Still, I completely recommend that any fan of They Might Be Giants should buy it to at least view (and possibly rediscover) some of their favorite songs from a different perpective.
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth it July 12, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I've been waiting for this collection to be released for a while now. The easiest way to review it is just to do a track by track breakdown of the good songs. I'll pass on the ones I didn't like and let someone else savage them!

1. "Ana Ng" by Self. On first listen this sounded somewhat close to the original, mainly because of the vocals. HOWEVER, this is now my favorite track and is far better than the original. It's done with tons of guitars and layering, and sounds like Self (duh) and a little like some of Brendan Benson's more rockin' stuff. Grade: A+

2. "Pet Name" by The Long Winters. I love the Long Winters, but this track is not as good or polished as their albums/eps. The vocals sound kinda sloppy and off. But it's also much better than the original TMBG track, which I always found annoying. This sounds like some drunken garage-rock REM or Replacements b-side (in a good way). Grade: B

3. "Narrow Your Eyes" by David Miller. Very cool 60's sound on this one--made me think of classic power pop stuff (Who, Raspbberries, mid-Kinks). I've never even heard the original but this is neat, thanks to great guitars and handclappy choruses. Grade: A

4. "She's An Angel" by Charles Douglas. This one's also a really great track that I like more than the original one. Sounds like the Pixies or Lou Reed, and has Pavement-y guitars galore. Nice strange keyboards at the end too. Fantastic, weird stuff that transforms the original catchy oddity into a great spiky rock song. Grade: A

5. "Road Movie to Berlin" by Frank Black. Strange to think the previous Charles Douglas track sounds more like the Pixies than this does, but there it is. Another strong cover that reinvents the original as a country-rock stroll.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Might Be Cover Songs July 13, 2006
Format:Audio CD
TMBG rocks and so does this tribute album. Best of the best is Frank Black, Long Winters, Charles Douglas, & The Wrens. Good is Self, David Miller & Hotel Lights. Decent is Steve Burns, Ok Go, Brett Kull & Fluid Ounces. Bad is Recepter, This Radiant Boy, & Jason Trachtenburg and the fact that Reel Big Fish are MIA. If you get this you will like it, though as many of the covers top the TMBG originals.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Taking the charm out of TMBG July 17, 2009
Format:Audio CD
It seems like such a good thing to see an album that shows other musicians recognizing the accomplishments of John Linnell and John Flansburgh as songwriters. There is, however, an extremely disappointing lack of charm in all the songs on this tribute.

I imagine that anyone who listens to They Might Be Giants listens to them in part because they don't sound like the typical band in the typical radio rotations. How many rock bands employ accordions and baritone saxes? How many rock bands have singers with the eternally boyish-sounding John Linnell or the fun guy energy of John Flansburgh? Not any that I can think of. Say anything about They Might Be Giants, but you cannot say that they are generic.

That is the problem with Hello Radio. Everything that made They Might Be Giants unique and interesting is eliminated. Almost every song on the album is given a generic late 90s era punk rock treatment. You know what I mean by that; that time when everyone was trying to sound like Blink 182. The Wrens' horrible version of They'll Need A Crane could be taught in college courses as an example of everything you should NOT do when recording a punk rock song.

I feel a bit guilty writing this review, because it seems almost like an admission that the success of They Might Be Giants is based more on personality than the quality of their output. Take away Linnell and Flansburgh, and the songs can't fend for themselves. But I guess that's just a fact of the rock band dynamic. Much of it is personality. Then again, when I listen to the original Ana Ng after listening to it on this album, I realize that something has to be said for knowing intuitively what a song should sound like.
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