From This Might Be A Wiki
Flood album cover
Studio album by They Might Be Giants
First released January 15, 1990
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 19 Last album Lincoln
Label Elektra <60907> Length 43:14 Next album Apollo 18

Flood is They Might Be Giants' third studio album, released in 1990. It was the band's first album to be released on a major label, Elektra Records. Following the success of their second album, Lincoln, the band made the move from the independent label Bar/None Records.

Purchase[edit | edit source]

Seller Format Price Link
CD $5.00 Purchase
MP3 n/a
AAC $9.99 Purchase
Vinyl $19.99 Purchase

Description[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

The Johns spent two-thirds of this album's recording budget on four songs: "Birdhouse In Your Soul", "We Want A Rock", "Your Racist Friend", and "Istanbul", which were produced by the duo Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (who would both later work with the band again on Mink Car). Flood was also the first time that the band would work with Pat Dillett, although his contribution was as a second engineer. After Flood, Pat became a frequent producer on subsequent TMBG albums. Although the mixing process was analog, Flood was the first TMBG album to be recorded digitally.

Cover artwork[edit | edit source]

From an old interview on tmbg.com:

[The photograph used for Flood's cover art] was found by Flansburgh in the basement archives of Life magazine. It existed as only a contact print on a roll of film shot by famous photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White. It was in a series of photographs of Kentucky flood victims from around 1930. Another photograph from that very same shoot has become quite well known. It is of people standing in a bread line in front of a billboard poster of a happy family in a car with the words 'America: Highest Standard of Living.' It is featured in the 'Best of Life' and has become synonymous with the Great Depression, even though the events surrounding the photograph are unrelated to it.

Flansburgh says that when he initially found the photo, he wanted Flood's cover art to include only the image, with no text, even though it might pose a commercial risk. Elizabeth Van Itallie, Flans's design-inclined friend who took the photo from the back cover of They'll Need A Crane, perhaps wisely suggested that the image could in fact be improved with text, so she and Flans created the union seal-style Flood emblem with the help of Barbara Lipp of Frieda.

Sales[edit | edit source]

A chart showing the historical performance of Flood on the Billboard 200 & UK Albums charts.

Flood debuted on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart the week of February 10, 1990, and spent 22 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 75. Sales in the UK were very strong as well, which caused the album to peak at #14 on the UK Albums Chart, and then spend a total of 12 weeks in the top 75. Despite it being TMBG's most popular album, it was given a pretty harsh "2 stars out of 5" review by Rolling Stone upon its release[1].

In addition, Flood became TMBG's first gold-certified release on December 22, 1993. As of March 2009, it has sold 783,000 units in the U.S. since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Later in July 2009, it became the band's first-ever album to achieve platinum certification. To this day, Flood continues to be TMBG's best-selling album of all time.

Singles[edit | edit source]

LP cover
Back of a promotional flat

The album generated two commercial singles: Birdhouse In Your Soul and Istanbul (Not Constantinople); "Twisting" and "Your Racist Friend" had promotional releases. "Birdhouse" became one of the group's biggest hits, spending 11 weeks on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart, eventually peaking at #3. Likewise, "Twisting" spent 7 weeks on the same chart, but topped out at #22. "Particle Man" also became one of the group's most recognizable songs, but was never actually released as a single. However, both "Particle Man" and "Istanbul" were used in videos for the children's television show Tiny Toon Adventures, both of which proved to be quite popular.

Track listing[edit | edit source]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Theme From Flood 0:27


2 Birdhouse In Your Soul 3:20


3 Lucky Ball & Chain 2:46


4 Istanbul (Not Constantinople) 2:38


5 Dead 2:58


6 Your Racist Friend 2:54


7 Particle Man 1:59


8 Twisting 1:56


9 We Want A Rock 2:47


10 Someone Keeps Moving My Chair 2:23


11 Hearing Aid 3:26


12 Minimum Wage 0:47


13 Letterbox 1:25


14 Whistling In The Dark 3:25


15 Hot Cha 1:34


16 Women & Men 1:46


17 Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love 1:36


18 They Might Be Giants 2:45


19 Road Movie To Berlin 2:22


Trivia[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Vinyl[edit | edit source]

CD[edit | edit source]

Cassette[edit | edit source]

Promotional material[edit | edit source]