Dial-A-Song Direct

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New Dial-A-Song logo

Dial-A-Song Direct was the service offered by They Might Be Giants for their 2015 Dial-A-Song project. Each of the 52 songs have been made available to stream on the Internet and over a telephone line at 844 387-6962. In addition, fans had the option of subscribing to Dial-A-Song Direct in order to download the songs as they were released. Subscribers also got access to "bonus" tracks released erratically through the year. Download services were provided by Drip.fm.

Dial-A-Song Direct was initially presented in late 2014 as an alternative to the They Might Be Giants Instant Fan Club "for folks on a budget". Subscriptions were open for all of 2015 and cost US$30. Subscribers to the 2015 IFC were automatically subscribed to Dial-A-Song Direct. The service officially began on January 5, 2015, with the track "Erase". Songs from the service were compiled onto three albums. The first one, Glean, was released in April. A children's album, Why?, was the second album collecting the songs, and released in November. A third, Phone Power, was released in March 2016. John Linnell stated that the band actually began working on material in 2014 to "get a pretty strong backlog going" before they started the project officially; "then we continued working through last year while we were putting out the stuff that was coming out every week."[1]

Format[edit | edit source]

Friday Bonus Track artwork

The service was available through Drip.fm, a digital music subscription site. John Flansburgh quipped, "we like to think Drip stands for 'Dial-A-Song Recordings is Perfect'".

Songs were released for download every Tuesday morning at 1 AM ET, following their Monday evening premieres on Slate's The Gist. Subscribers could download each song in the format of their choice (FLAC, WAV, AIFF or MP3). Non-subscribers can also purchase tracks individually via Amazon and iTunes. Lyrics for each song were typically released a few days earlier via TMBG's social media accounts. Each track was also released with an official music video.

The band indicated that they would post bonus material for Dial-A-Song Direct subscribers approximately every other Friday (though this schedule was not strictly followed). These consisted of rarities and low-fidelity demos, both "old and new". As general "bonus tracks", the band also made "Got Getting Up So Down" and "I Wasn't Listening" available through the service in late 2014, before it officially began on January 5.

Songs[edit | edit source]

Planning out the song schedule
# Title Date Length Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Erase Jan. 5, 2015 2:47

2 Madam, I Challenge You To A Duel Jan. 13, 2015 1:58

3 No Cops Jan. 19, 2015 1:22

4 Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2 Jan. 26, 2015 3:10

5 Hate The Villanelle Feb. 2, 2015 1:52

6 Let Me Tell You About My Operation Feb. 9, 2015 2:59

7 Answer Feb. 17, 2015 3:23

8 I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar Feb. 23, 2015 2:18

N/A
- I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar (Lauren Flax Remix) Feb. 23, 2015 5:24

N/A
9 I Can Help The Next In Line Mar. 2, 2015 1:59

10 Good To Be Alive Mar. 9, 2015 3:11

11 Unpronounceable Mar. 16, 2015 3:23

12 Underwater Woman Mar. 23, 2015 2:33

13 I'm A Coward Mar. 30, 2015 2:49

14 End Of The Rope Apr. 6, 2015 2:38

15 Thinking Machine Apr. 13, 2015 2:11

16 All The Lazy Boyfriends Apr. 20, 2015 2:46

17 Impossibly New Apr. 27, 2015 2:09

18 Glean May 4, 2015 1:47

19 ECNALUBMA May 11, 2015 2:57

20 Starry Eyes May 18, 2015 3:27

21 Aaa May 25, 2015 1:59

22 Sold My Mind To The Kremlin June 1, 2015 2:05

23 Hello Mrs. Wheelyke June 8, 2015 2:20

24 Summer Breeze June 15, 2015 2:09

25 Bills, Bills, Bills June 22, 2015 3:14

26 And Mom And Kid June 29, 2015 1:20

27 The Velvet Ape July 6, 2015 3:01

28 I Am Invisible July 13, 2015 2:09

29 Rock Club July 20, 2015 2:34

30 Walking My Cat Named Dog July 27, 2015 2:12

31 I Haven't Seen You In Forever Aug. 3, 2015 2:12

32 Omnicorn Aug. 10, 2015 1:47

33 Another Weirdo Aug. 17, 2015 1:56

34 I Made A Mess Aug. 24, 2015 2:27

35 What Did I Do To You? Aug. 31, 2015 1:29

36 Definition Of Good Sep. 7, 2015 1:59

37 Trouble Awful Devil Evil Sep. 14, 2015 3:34

38 Say Nice Things About Detroit Sep. 21, 2015 2:42

39 Moles, Hounds, Bears, Bees And Hares Sep. 28, 2015 2:11

40 Black Ops (Alt. Version) Oct. 5, 2015 2:31

41 Prepare Oct. 13, 2015 3:00

42 To A Forest Oct. 20, 2015 3:00

43 It Said Something Oct. 27, 2015 3:17

44 Elephants Nov. 3, 2015 2:38

45 College Town Nov. 10, 2015 2:04

46 Daylight Nov. 17, 2015 1:56

47 Apophenia Nov. 24, 2015 2:33

48 I Am Alone Dec. 1, 2015 2:29

49 I'll Be Haunting You Dec. 8, 2015 2:48

50 Long White Beard Dec. 15, 2015 2:16

51 I Love You For Psychological Reasons Dec. 22, 2015 3:01

52 Shape Shifter Dec. 28, 2015 3:11


Bonus tracks[edit | edit source]

# Title Date Length Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Got Getting Up So Down Nov. 14, 2014 1:42

N/A
2 I Wasn't Listening Dec. 22, 2014 1:31

3 Particle Man (Live at Nola Studio) Jan. 9, 2015 2:10

4 Studio Cat Jan. 23, 2015 2:00

N/A
5 Spy (Original Dial-A-Song Version) Feb. 6, 2015 1:23

N/A
6 Name Mar. 6, 2015 2:00

7 Daily Show Open Mar. 13, 2015 1:00

N/A
8 Dial-A-Song Network Intro And Bed Mar. 20, 2015 0:51

N/A
- The Power Of Dial-A-Song Mar. 20, 2015 1:07

N/A
9 Whole Lot Of Glean Apr. 3, 2015 2:18

10 Contrecoup (Live Radio Version) May 1, 2015 3:12

N/A
11 Vote Or Don't May 15, 2015 1:08

12 The Cap'm (Live In Studio) May 29, 2015 3:15

N/A
13 TMBG Have This Thing June 26, 2015 0:35

N/A
14 They Might Be Giants ('84 Demo) July 9, 2015 2:49

N/A
- They Might Be Giants ('90 Session Work Mix) July 9, 2015 2:53

N/A
15 The Mesopotamians (Live In Studio) Sep. 25, 2015 2:56

N/A
16 We Live In A Dump (Demo) Oct. 2, 2015 1:33

N/A
17 Tiny Doctors Oct. 9, 2015 1:04

18 Oddball Oct. 16, 2015 3:19

19 Outboard Part Of Man Oct. 23, 2015 0:44

N/A
20 Cloisonné (Vocal Only) Nov. 14, 2015 2:09

N/A
21 Spare The Rock Dec. 4, 2015 0:09

N/A
- It's Spare The Rock Dec. 4, 2015 0:23

N/A

Notes[edit | edit source]

The album Flood Live In Australia was made available as the bonus material for February 27, 2015.

Quantity vs. Quality[edit | edit source]

Regarding the large number of songs written for the project, Linnell stated:[2]

We didn't necessarily want to put out everything we recorded, because we had a feeling it would be a good idea not to let the quality lapse just because we were putting out so much music. I think it would send a bad message if we were amazingly prolific and letting the quality go completely to hell. I think we found a balance.

The band indicated that the following tracks have been composed and tracked. They were potential candidates for release through Dial-A-Song; however, John Flansburgh said that not all of the tracks that have been recorded will be released.[3]

  • Completelier Blues[4]
  • Delusion[5]
  • Swinging From Vine To Vine[6]

Some lyrical content of "Completelier Blues" was eventually reused for the song "All Time What", released three years later on I Like Fun.[7]

Reception & Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Flansburgh has said that this iteration of Dial-A-Song was a resounding success. Though he felt like the band was "shot out of a cannon"[8], ultimately, "it's been great"[9]. In a 2016 interview, he stated:

The nicest thing about it was that all these people in our audience had gotten to experience what we were doing in such an ongoing way. When you've been in a band for a lot of years, a lot of times all you hear is stuff that happened in the past, all the formative stuff. And doing a project like Dial-A-Song this last year in 2015, it gave everybody in our audience a chance to participate in this big project and it was exciting for us to see our audience kind of animated by that effort.[10]

In 2017, in response to an inquiry on Tumblr, Flansburgh noted that it was good for the band to occasionally break the cycle of "new album release, tour, write and record the next album" like they did with Dial-A-Song in 2015.[11]

External links[edit | edit source]