Any inkling that They Might Be Giants had a future in crafting educational kids' songs came with 1994's "Why Does the Sun Shine?," so it's only fitting that after Here Come the ABC's and Here Come the 123's' success, John Linnell and John Flansburgh return to the subject that started it all: science. Here Comes Science covers everything from ...
Any inkling that They Might Be Giants had a future in crafting educational kids' songs came with 1994's "Why Does the Sun Shine?," so it's only fitting that after Here Come the ABC's and Here Come the 123's' success, John Linnell and John Flansburgh return to the subject that started it all: science. Here Comes Science covers everything from astronomy to evolution, mixing time-tested facts like the color spectrum with newer frontiers like electric cars. These songs are aimed at a slightly older audience than They Might Be Giants' previous Here Come... albums, since concepts like DNA are considerably more complicated than letters or numbers. At times, this complexity feels like it hinders the band's musical creativity a bit. Though the band sticks mostly to charging rock, a few songs are more expressive: "Cells" uses layering and repetition to wittily depict cellular reproduction; "Solid Liquid Gas" communicates different states of matter with its tempo, moving from lumbering to swinging to frenetic; and "Speed and Velocity" breezes through basic physics with aerodynamic new wave. Here Comes Science also spends nearly as much time with the thought process behind scientific developments as it does with facts, and puts importance on teaching kids how to think: "Put It to the Test" is as much about thinking for yourself as it is about the scientific method. A punk-poppy reprise of "Why Does the Sun Shine?" is followed by the jazzy "Why Does the Sun Really Shine?," which introduces plasma as the fourth state of matter and refutes the previous song's science cleverly: "Not gas, not liquid, not solid/That thesis has been rendered invalid!" The album also finds fun in science-related jobs; few things appeal to kids as much as dirt, digging, and dinosaurs, and "I Am a Paleontologist" has all three. The DVD portion is charming, with standout videos by Feel Good Anyway ("Meet the Elements"), Divya Srinivasan ("The Bloodmobile"), and Pascal Campion ("What Is a Shooting Star?"). Here Comes Science closes with "The Ballad of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space)," a space age update of Fess Parker's classic theme song that adds a little science fiction to these playfully presented facts. Here Comes Science is another fun, educational triumph. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi
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