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Showing 1-10 of 32 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
on March 5, 2012
The first things I have noticed while reading these reviews:
- Most people long for the same 90's feel
- Some people want them to change (I just read some guy who essentially said that he liked them in the beginning, then started not following their changes, and now like them returning to form, but somehow still want them to change.)
- There's been a lot of bashing on The Else and other recent albums

First, I liked The Else. It was different, kind of moody, but it had some really great tracks, Bee of the Bird of the Moth (which I concluded was a metaphor for the Theory of Evolution), The Shadow Government (great music video), The Mesopotamians (another great music video), and my personal favorite, With the Dark (kind of like a rock opera in itself). And to complement the main release, there was the bonus disk, Cast Your Pod to the Wind, which had more of the classic track structures from TMBG, which might be just as good as the first disc. Usually, the people criticizing The Else haven't heard the bonus disc.

That said, Join Us is a lot more like their earlier releases. After listening through it twice, the songs that mainly come to mind are Cloisoneé, Canajoharie and The Lady and the Tiger. Let Your Hair Hang Down, When Will You Die and Can't Keep Johnny are fun, but the lyrics aren't nearly as interesting as the ones before. That said, there are also some pretty bad tracks, like You Don't Like Me, Old Pine Box, Never Knew Love and Celebration (kind of sounded like a badly conceived pop song.) That said, the only one that I'd consider skipping over is the latter.

Putting this in contrast to other albums is pretty hard. On one hand, you're don't have any songs that fill exactly the niche as Birdhouse in Your Soul or The Guitar (the best song off of Apollo 18). But on the other hand, because really no good They Might Be Giants song sounds like another, you really can never get a song that is as good in a certain way as another. And besides, the more I listen to this, the better it tends to get.
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on February 14, 2013
TMBG have a few albums that are solid throughout, but more often than not there's a few forgettable tracks. Join Us has its low points, but they're easily forgotten in this world of individual downloadable tracks. It's worth the place for the full album to hear some really great tunes like Cloisonné and Spoiler Alert. I don't really get the vibe that they're not trying anymore as one reviewer suggested, if anything they seemed to head back to the sound of their earlier years, especially when taken with the follow-up compilation, Album Raises New and Troubling Questions.
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on August 2, 2011
I can't say this is my favorite yet, but it could be in time. For sure in the top 5.

There are songs that stand out as immediate favorites (Canajoharie, Old Pine Box, You Probably Get That A Lot, and a couple more) , but repeated listenings reveal a depth not noticed on the first few spins. Now that I have digested it for awhile, there is only one song that does not work for me (Dog Walker), but even that one is not horrible.

My advice: Listen to it as a whole - all the way through as They have sequenced it.

Thanks John and John!
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VINE VOICEon August 4, 2011
Yes, I'm going to compare this to their earlier works. This is probably not become my favorite album, but there are songs on here I can imagine become favorites. I especially love "Can't Keep Johnny Down." This does sound a lot more like their earlier works. I loved it. I listened to it about ten times the first day I downloaded this. Many more listens to come! I love TMBG and this album shows off more of their musical ingeniousness.
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on January 17, 2014
This album has it all. I am a rock and roll guy at heart, so them making rock songs is great. The lead off song reminds me of the Meat Puppets. Judy reminds me of the Who. My band covers that song. It has all of there other types of songs, stuff they're more known for too. I recommend it.
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on July 25, 2011
After most of the week I'm really getting into the album.

On the first listen it really didn't catch my attention, it mostly sounded like a rehash of everything I've heard before.There is good reason for that reaction but on further listens I realized its not resting on laurels so much as a return to the type of song writing they haven't really done much in their "adult" albums since they decided to make that distinction- From the time of Mink Car and No! they would tend be whimsical and fun on the kids albums and ironic, sharp-witted and aggressive on the adult albums. It split their aesthetic a bit and produced some interesting results but Join Us shows how much we lost when they compartmentalized their talents for different audiences. This album really goes back to to the Arty Geek Pop of their 90's and stops trying to "Rock" so specifically.
I wonder if "Cast Your Pod To The Wind," the second disc of The Else made up of their brief "throw-away" songs they had previously only released online, was a big influence on this album. If I'm any indicator that album was partially preferable to the "proper" album- if the Johns caught onto this response I can see how they realized fans missed the simple fun of their earlier music. The songs on this album are easily as fun and silly as the "pod" album but also much more polished.

...or maybe they were working on another education related album, which they would called "Here comes the SAT's."
Vocabulary used in the album:
Cephalophore
Cloisonne
Métier
Semaphore
Martinet*
Orpheum*
Faustian*
Necropolis*
Apocryphal*
Espadrille*
Incubus*

*all used in the song "Three Might be Duende"

Standout tracks
"When Will You Die" (Linnel hasn't written a song about death this fun since "turn around")
"Can't Keep Johnny Down"
"Never Knew Love"
"You Probably Get That Alot" ("That" being a girl looking like a one in a million Cephalophore)
"Cloisonne"
"Old Pine Box"
"Protagonist"

It may have my least favorite album artwork though....

Pastel pink monster truck hearse... I just don't get the appeal of that one. They have had album art that isn't very memorable but this might be the first I had a negative reaction to.
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on October 18, 2011
I was delighted when I previewed this CD on amazon as it sounded just like the old TMBG stuff I got into in the early 90's. The album in full did not disappoint. I like every song, after the first listen it was on my Ipod along with some of the other CD's I've bought from TMBG on Amazon. Long live the two Johns is what I say.
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on February 28, 2016
They have done it again. Love this album
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on April 25, 2013
It's hard not to love everything these guys put out these days, but it's all the more impressive considering just how long they've been able to consistently create such great stuff. If you have ever enjoyed TMBG, you will enjoy Join Us.
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on August 2, 2012
TMBG are giants. Their first three albums represent the pinnacle of music to me. I have faithfully bought every album hoping for the return of the drum machine and studio apartment sound. If JL & JF read this, please give us another album cut from the unobtainium.
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