John Henry (album)

John Henry (album)

Infobox Album |
Name = John Henry
Type = Studio album
Artist = They Might Be Giants

Released = September 13, 1994
Recorded = 1993–1994
Genre = Alternative rock
Length = 57:07
Label = Elektra/Asylum
Producer = Paul Fox
Reviews = *Allmusic rating|3|5 [ link]
Last album = "Back to Skull"
This album = "John Henry"
Next album = "Live!! New York City 10/14/94"
Misc = Extra chronology 2
Artist = TMBG studio album
Type = Studio album
Last album = "Apollo 18"
This album = "John Henry"
Next album = "Factory Showroom"

"John Henry" is the name of They Might Be Giants' fifth original album, although it is the sixth disc in their discography. It was released in 1994 (see 1994 in music). It is the first album in which John Linnell and John Flansburgh utilized a full band, as opposed to playing most or all of the instruments themselves. The album's name, a reference to the man vs. machine fable of John Henry, is roughly an allusion to the band's fundamental switch to more conventional instrumentation, especially the newly-established use of a human drummer instead of a drum machine.

"John Henry" is both TMBG's longest record (twenty tracks clocking in at about a full hour) and their most divisive. The harder-rocking live sound and abundance of guitar solos was almost entirely unexpected by fans and panned by most mainstream critics.Fact|date=February 2007 However, it remains the band's highest-charting adult album, having peaked at #61 on the Billboard 200.

Lyrical themes

The lyrics to the song "AKA Driver" refer to a "NyQuil driver". Legal issues — whether real or perceived — required a title with no reference to the medicine, and the lyrics to the song are omitted from the CD insert.

"I Should Be Allowed to Think" excerpts the first line ("I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical") of the poem "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg.

"Meet James Ensor" refers to an eccentric Belgian expressionist painter whose works excited John Flansburgh. In an interview, Flansburgh explained that "the line 'Dig him up and shake his hand' is actually very specific – a parallel idea to a lot of his paintings which involve resurrections, skeletons and puppets being animated. [...] With the song, I'm trying to encapsulate the issues of his life – an eccentric guy who became celebrated and was soon left behind as his ideas were taken into the culture and other people became expressionists." [ [] ]

The song "Subliminal" contains a subliminal message at the end of the song saying "Stare into the subliminal for as long as you can" twice.

Track listing

(All songs by They Might Be Giants unless otherwise noted)
#"Subliminal" – 2:45
#"Snail Shell" – 3:20
#"Sleeping in the Flowers" – 4:30
#"Unrelated Thing" – 2:31
#"AKA Driver" – 3:14 (They Might Be Giants, Tony Maimone, Brian Doherty)
#"I Should Be Allowed to Think" – 3:09 (They Might Be Giants, Tony Maimone)
#"Extra Savoir-Faire" – 2:48
#"Why Must I Be Sad?" – 4:08
#"Spy" – 3:06
#"O, Do Not Forsake Me" – 2:30
#"No One Knows My Plan" – 2:37
#"Dirt Bike" – 3:05
#"Destination Moon" – 2:27
#"A Self Called Nowhere" – 3:22
#"Meet James Ensor" – 1:33
#"Thermostat" – 3:11
#"Window" – 1:00
#"Out of Jail" – 2:38
#"Stomp Box" – 1:55
#"The End of the Tour" – 3:18


"John Henry" is the first album credited to They Might Be Giants as a full band, rather than a duo:
*Brian Dohertydrums
*John Flansburgh – Vocals, guitar
*John Linnell – vocals, keyboard, horns
*Tony Maimonebass guitar
*Graham Maby – bass guitar


*Robert Quine - guitar solos on "Sleeping in the Flowers" and "No One Knows My Plan"
*Hudson Shad – vocals on "O, Do Not Forsake Me"

External links

*"" at This Might Be a Wiki


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