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Had anyone suggested back in the ‘80s that They Might Be Giants would still be writing classic pop tunes skewering the world outside 25 years later, they would’ve been laughed out of the room. The dynamic duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell were initially received as a novelty act, virtuosos who offered a new song each day with their “Dial-A-Song” project. But their novelty turned into their strength and garnered them an audience of respectable names. The music turned slightly more conventional; the beats now trace pop music and the harmonies and production resemble that of a group that plays it straight. There are still moments of delightful weirdness (“Cloisonné”), but just as likely they make subversively normal sounding radio-ready tunes (“Can’t Keep Johnny Down,” “Canajoharie”). The compact power of “Let Your Hair Down,” the smooth growl of “Celebration” and the ornate horn-driven “When Will You Die” offer hilarious and thoughtful insights into the absurd world surrounding us. Ever more professional, TMBGs still pull off the gritty silliness of “Dog Walker” and the demented genius of “Judy Is Your Viet Nam” with the same energy and conviction of their earliest work.

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