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John Henry

They Might Be GiantsAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

Price: $18.66 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 20 Songs, 2008 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1994 $18.66  
Vinyl, Limited Edition, 2014 $27.98  
Audio Cassette, 1994 --  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Subliminal 2:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Snail Shell 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Sleeping In The Flowers 4:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Unrelated Thing 2:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. AKA Driver 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. I Should Be Allowed To Think 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Extra Savoir Faire 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Why Must I Be Sad? 4:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Spy 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. O, Do Not Forsake Me 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. No One Knows My Plan 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Dirt Bike 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Destination Moon 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. A Self Called Nowhere 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Meet James Ensor 1:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Thermostat 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Window 1:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Out Of Jail 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Stomp Box 1:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. The End Of The Tour 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 

Amazon's They Might Be Giants Store


Image of album by They Might Be Giants


Image of They Might Be Giants


They Might Be Giants are an original band from Brooklyn, New York founded by John Flansburgh and John Linnell and including Dan Miller on guitar, Danny Weinkauf on bass, and Marty Beller, the king of the drums. TMBG works continuously — writing, recording, or touring. They Might Be Giants have also been involved in numerous television and film projects.

They Might Be ... Read more in Amazon's They Might Be Giants Store

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Price for all three: $82.30

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: September 13, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002HFL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,852 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

They Might Be Giants expands to a sextet on its fifth album, John Henry. Even with the addition of bass, drums, sax, and trumpet, the focus is still on the goofy vocals, silly lyrical puns, and accordion-driven hooks of John Flansburgh and John Linnell, and that is not a good thing. These 20 songs include a tune that quotes Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," love songs to a dirt bike and a copy shop clerk, and a song that takes its lyrics from Alice Cooper song titles. If that sounds like your idea of clever, enjoy. --Jim DeRogatis

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite TMBG album. August 13, 2000
Format:Audio CD
TMBG graduate from drum machines and samples to a full band on this album, and the results are great. Purists label this TMBG's "bad" album, but I believe the full band lends these songs a shot of adrenalin. The lyrics are as good as ever, and they fit well into their new, energetic fixtures.
So many good songs -- the bells of "Destination Moon," the trippy distorted vocal on "Self called nowhere," the theremin on "AKA Driver." There are big rock songs and small gems throughout. Even a seeming throw-away like "Meet James Ensor" is a perfect pop confection (and probably the only song of that genre about a famous dutch artist).
I don't get the jibe "if that's your idea of clever" in the Amazon review. If an album that incorporates Alice Cooper, James Ensor, and Alan Ginsberg in the same 18 songs isn't clever, one wonders what is.
If you can deal with the fact that this album has a different sound than the first four TMBGs, you'll love this stuff.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man against the Machine August 13, 2004
Format:Audio CD
John Henry sounds as good as any TMBG effort, but on inspection, I think it also proves to be one of their deepest and most cohesive albums. Random cleverness is replaced by a subtle, consistent mood, total lyrical abstraction begins to give way to a message, and the individual songs are great. Besides, with a full twenty songs (almost an hour of music), there's bound to be something on here for everyone.

Most of the songs on Henry have a darker tone, whether explicitly (Why Must I Be Sad?; The End of the Tour) or subtly, coded into the lyrics (Destination Moon, Spy, Sleeping in the Flowers). The sound is also vaguely more _metal_ than the sort of candy-coated synthesizers and horns that characterized their earlier albums (not that there's any absence of horns), from the rough-edged harmonica opening of Subliminal to the grungy guitars on Sleeping In The Flowers and others. It may seem more commercial to some, but this sound is still entirely distinct.

As for the theme of the lyrics, it may seem hypocritical for a band which used to be more machine than man to entitle one of their albums John Henry ("a man aint nothing but a man / but before I let that steam drill beat me down / I'm gonna die with a hammer in my hand, yessir; etc.") and record a song like Thermostat, an impassioned plea against the dangers of modern automation. But the sentiment is real, and portraits of human alienation and loneliness (Spy) placed alongside villanous characterizations of machines (AKA Driver; Dirt Bike) suggest a unity which no TMBG album has had to date. The result is a deeper listening experience relying on more than puns for its effect.

As for the individual songs, the upbeat Destination Moon and James Ensor just sound terrific; some of my favorites.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album ever, hands down. March 30, 2006
A Kid's Review
Format:Audio CD
Okay. I absolutely adore this album. Critics panned it, but screw them--what do they know? From the hard-rocking "Snail Shell", to the bouncy "Destination Moon", to the beautifully sad "The End Of The Tour", this album is awesome.

Now for a track-by-track analysis.

1. Subliminal (2:45) - Pretty good. The backwards portion at the end is really cool. 4/5

2. Snail Shell (3:20) - Awesome. This song rocks out loud, pure and simple. 5/5

3. Sleeping In The Flowers (4:30) - This song is just cool. The chorus is really different from the verses, but it works. 5/5

4. Unrelated Thing (2:30) - Everyone hates this one, but I think it's good. 4/5

5. AKA Driver (3:14) - Another song that just rocks. 5/5

6. I Should Be Allowed To Think (3:09) - This is a song about teen rebellion, I think, and somehow, it works. 5/5

7. Extra Savoir-Faire (2:48) - Eh. One of the weaker tracks. 3/5

8. Why Must I Be Sad? (4:08) - Cool, in a dark sorta way. 5/5

10. O, Do Not Forsake Me (2:30) - This one's weird, but I kinda like it. 4/5

11. No One Knows My Plan (2:37) - This one's good for dancing! 5/5

12. Dirt Bike (3:05) - Another slightly weaker one. 3/5

13. Destination Moon (2:27) - This is an awesomely bouncy song, but knowing TMBG, the lyrics are darker. I love it! 5/5

14. A Self Called Nowhere (3:22) - Another dark, yet REALLY cool one. 5/5

15. Meet James Ensor (1:33) - Weaker. 3/5

16. Thermostat (3:11) - This one's really catchy and cool. 5/5

17. Window (1:00) - Nice. Has a very theme song-ish quality. 4/5

18. Out Of Jail (2:38) - Another extremely catchy song, with a very twisted theme. 5/5

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh do not forsake this review November 30, 2000
By Wakko
Format:Audio CD
Well, what can I say? TMBG have done it again. Some people have said that John Henry is not as good as some of TMBG's other albums. To those people, I say it is your loss. This album is without a doubt, one of TMBG's best. Granted, some of the instrumentation sounds more like mainstream rock, but the lyrics are pure TMBG. My favorite tracks are; Subliminal, Sleeping in the Flowers, AKA Driver, I Should Be Allowed to Think, Extra Savoir Faire, Spy, O Do Not Forsake Me, No One Knows My Plan, Meet James Ensor, Thermostat, Out of Jail, and End of the Tour. Spy is one of my favorites because it sounds like a song that would be heard in a spy movie. O Do Not Forsake Me sounds like songs that I've heard my grandparents listen to. That statement is not ment as an insult, I prefer my grandparents' music to some songs I hear today. The song End ofthe Tour: It is TMBG's saddest song. Sure, a lot of their songs aresad, but those songs are usually disguised by up tempo rhythyms and peppy melodies. End of the Tour is just beautiful, and I'm glad the Johns wrote it. And as a final message to those who dislike this album, if you really want TMBG to not change, if you want nothing but Birdhouse in Your Soul or Particle Man, don't buy this album. People change over time, and as the people change, their tastes change. So don't get mad if TMBG makes changes that don't suit you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I Should Be Allowed to Think
This is another of my favorites from this band.
This is a bit of a darker side for them but hey I like dark music and deep lyrics. Read more
Published 18 days ago by vaughn Michael Hanley
5.0 out of 5 stars A Favorite!
When I first heard this album, I was actively listening to TMBGs newer music, as I am a recent fan. This album eluded my interest completely. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Kyle
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
Not my favorite from They Might Be Giants, but definitely worth hearing if you are a huge fan of the band.
Published 10 months ago by krans
4.0 out of 5 stars Unappreciated and Overlooked
There seem to be two kinds of TMBG fans: those who think only their early albums are good and those who enjoy the band's whole discography. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lunar Boulevard
5.0 out of 5 stars Best TMBG Album
I would say that this is my favorite TMBG album. There are some close seconds, but this would have to be my favorite. Read more
Published on February 18, 2010 by strawberryp0cky
3.0 out of 5 stars Peppy competence in spades rarely achieves more
Coming across as a lighter, nerdier Ween, this mid-career disc from the super quirky duo certainly is not short on bursts of hooky pop with just enough songwriting flair to perk... Read more
Published on December 22, 2007 by IRate
4.0 out of 5 stars We're never gonna tour again.
This is They Might Be Giants fifth album, and it's their first album performing with a full band. The extra musicians definitely produce a "fuller" sound than their previous... Read more
Published on May 6, 2007 by Johnny Heering
5.0 out of 5 stars get over it...this one's great
Apparently, some people have a problem with this album. That makes about as much sence to me as if there were actually people who prefer the quality of the BEATLES' "LOVE ME DO" to... Read more
Published on April 27, 2007 by J. Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite by TMBG too
This one has everything you'd want from a TMBG cd. Plenty of variety. Melodic, quirky, rockin', existentialism, etc. Read more
Published on February 12, 2007 by M. gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars This is their hardest album yet
You really get a full band feel throughout most of this album and they add horns to many of the tracks as well. Read more
Published on March 14, 2005 by alex bushman
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