Sold My Mind To The Kremlin

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YouTube
Music video for "Sold My Mind To The Kremlin"
Alternate artwork from Dial-A-Song Direct

song name Sold My Mind to the Kremlin
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Dial-A-Song (2015), Phone Power
year 2015
run time 2:05
sung by John Flansburgh


Trivia/Info

  • John Flansburgh provided some background on the writing and production of this song in a March 2015 A.V. Club interview[1]:
I have been working on a song that we're putting together for this collaboration with Kimya Dawson called "The Fourth Of July." It'll be out before the Fourth Of July, I hope.

I was actually rewriting the chorus part of it. Kimya's part is this long sort of... I don't even know how to describe it. It's sort of this rattly, long-winded verse that has a lot of really interesting, odd imagery in it. And then there's a chorus that's sort of set up like a rap song, really. It's got this colorful set of ideas and then there's a hooky chorus. And I'm trying to figure out how to make the chorus actually hookier. So I've been rewriting that. I actually got up very early to work on that. I've got it all cued up. I think it's actually going to be better.

We made a demo and I sent it to Kimya, and she's going to record her vocals momentarily, and I have the tracks to the demo sort of set up, and I basically just excised the chorus as it existed in the structure of the song and now I'm going back and filling it in. We work on computers, so there's a flexibility in how you can demo a song that we take full advantage of.

  • Shortly after the song was released, Flansburgh clarified that the song wasn't finished in time for its June 1 release, and "had to get posted demo-style".[2]
  • John Flansburgh on the song in a 2015 interview:

That one’s a little bit more straightforward, because the drums are all drum machines. The drums and the keyboards are from a Fairlight, which is a keyboard that was featured on our very first album. The studio we were working in back then had one of the earliest Fairlights in New York City. Because the studio had a Fairlight, Peter Gabriel had come in and worked on some tracks there. At the time, it was a brand new thing — it was like having the latest sports car — people just wanted to check it out. For the people reading who are not familiar with the Fairlight, probably the most famous Fairlight song is “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” The top of the song is all Fairlight — that crazy thing that sounds like some synthesizer made out of logs, that’s a Fairlight. The Art of Noise albums are all Fairlight, the Malcolm McLaren singles like “Duck Rock,” that’s all Fairlight. Trevor Horn during that period seemed like he was just sitting in a corner with headphones on, creating track after track out of every sound available. So it was a strange trip backwards for me, because a lot of the sounds were things I hadn’t experienced in 20 years.

I really wanted to get Kimya Dawson to sing that song, but it didn’t come together. The Moldy Peaches opened for They Might Be Giants for a bunch of shows — in fact, I think some of the first big shows they ever played were opening for us, just judging by the terror in their eyes. I’ve always been really captivated by her voice, and everything about her style.

  • Though much of this song appears to consist of relatively unrelated references and non-sequiturs, Ronald Reagan did indeed close hospitals for the mentally ill.[3][4]

Song Themes

Clothes, Holidays, Jail And Imprisonment, Medical, Music, Oxymorons, Paradoxes, And Contradictory Statements, People (Imaginary), People (Real), Presidents, Telecommunication, Transportation

Videos

  • Watch it on Youtube.png

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