17 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Neither a “best of” nor a “rarities” set, Idlewild: A Compilation is still a smart, entertaining look at They Might Be Giants’ last decade-plus (1999-2013). It's hard to believe how far the two Johns have come since their start some 30 years ago! They’ve won two GRAMMYs® while issuing 16 studio albums, alongside singles, stray tracks, live albums, and EPs. Idlewild is a fantastic spot for casual or former fans to get back up to speed. Few songwriters can handle writing a song for “Tesla” (the inventor, not the band) or to make a song like “We Live in a Dump” (itself a rare track from 2007’s Cast Your Pod to the Wind) both a celebration and a tease of existential songwriting. They kid. They mock. They show great empathy. Where other talented whiz kids often turn smarmy or weird for weirdness’ sake, the Johns (Linnell and Flansburgh) have never betrayed their pop instincts. Even when they seemingly write about themselves (“Can’t Keep Johnny Down”), they kinda do and kinda don’t.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Neither a “best of” nor a “rarities” set, Idlewild: A Compilation is still a smart, entertaining look at They Might Be Giants’ last decade-plus (1999-2013). It's hard to believe how far the two Johns have come since their start some 30 years ago! They’ve won two GRAMMYs® while issuing 16 studio albums, alongside singles, stray tracks, live albums, and EPs. Idlewild is a fantastic spot for casual or former fans to get back up to speed. Few songwriters can handle writing a song for “Tesla” (the inventor, not the band) or to make a song like “We Live in a Dump” (itself a rare track from 2007’s Cast Your Pod to the Wind) both a celebration and a tease of existential songwriting. They kid. They mock. They show great empathy. Where other talented whiz kids often turn smarmy or weird for weirdness’ sake, the Johns (Linnell and Flansburgh) have never betrayed their pop instincts. Even when they seemingly write about themselves (“Can’t Keep Johnny Down”), they kinda do and kinda don’t.

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