Talk:Hate The Villanelle

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I hereby declare that Album 17 should be a concept album with all of the songs written in traditional poetic forms. BEST ALBUM EVER. (And also I reallyyyyyyyy love this song.) --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 07:43, 7 June 2014 (EDT)

Seconded. I, for one, would love to see Linnell's attempt at a sestina. That would be kinda epic. --MisterMe (talk) 12:46, 7 June 2014 (EDT)
Will there be a page for Album 17 as there was for the past few albums? I always appreciated those cos it kind of aggregates all the tidbits of info we get from twitter, tumblr, etc. . - Mason
Yeah, we will put something together, probably when we start to get more concrete information. --Duke33 15:10, 15 September 2014 (EDT)
there has been some info so far, but i haven't been saving links, which was foolish. what we know right now is that a fair chunk of the album has been tracked. i think flans mentioned being in the studio with the band at some point, but i really don't remember. if someone wants to exhaustively dig through the past 5-6 months of twitter, that would probably be helpful for when we do get an album page together. there might also be trace amounts of information on tumblr but i'm guessing it will mostly be in responses to questions, since flans tends to stick to twitter for off-handed textual updates on what the band is up to. Apollo (colloquia!) 20:50, 15 September 2014 (EDT)
The only Twitter call outs that I can locate are here and here. However, when it comes time to start "next album" pages, Flans has stated in several posts on Tumblr, that the next album to be released will be the kids album they are working on. Meaning that Album 17 is the kids one and Album 18 will be the next rock one. See this, this, and this for some of those references, though I know there has been at least one more that I can't find right now. BlueCanary (talk) 00:42, 16 September 2014 (EDT)
thanks kelly, it's good to have these on file for when they really get the ball rolling. Apollo (colloquia!) 12:45, 16 September 2014 (EDT)
Adding this to the list of announced song names. Also this contradicts the above linked Tumblr posts about the kids album coming out first and would seem to be supported by the April album release statement/release party show. BlueCanary (talk) 23:23, 17 November 2014 (EST)

How come this is being discussed on this specific page? Is Hate the Villanelle confirmed for Album 18 or was it just an assumption?

Not confirmed, it's just that it's the only new song we've heard at all, and there are no other pages that are at all related to the next album and so not anywhere else to discuss it really (other than on Main Page talk I suppose). I'm the one who started it I guess, but I of course have no idea if it will be on or not. All I was actually saying was that I like the idea of all the songs being traditional poetic forms, cos I'm a poetry nerd. --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 21:02, 22 September 2014 (EDT)

We have seven song titles: I'm A Coward; Madam, I Challenge You To A Duel; End Of The Rope; Completelier Blues; I Can Help The Next In Line; White Out and Unpronounceable. Maybe more if I missed any. Is that enough for a page yet? Although, it's not clear if all these are for the album or Dial-A-Song. Or both. It was my understanding that when they said all 52 songs would be on three albums they meant the two actual albums and the compilation. Akagi (talk) 17:49, 23 November 2014 (EST)

Looking at Twitter right now I'm seeing another title: "Music Jail." I don't recall seeing anything saying all 52 songs would be on albums, what's your source on that? As for whether we should make a page yet, I don't think just having song titles is enough of a reason. I think there should be some actual information. --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 23:49, 23 November 2014 (EST)
Beatles And Bugs, This Rock Shit Is Over ~ veggieman 10:58, 24 November 2014 (EST)
Were you serious with these? Because I can't find a source anywhere. I know they've been mentioned as possible titles before, hence the pages here, but is there a place Flans actually said anything about them being songs that have been recorded and will be on Album 17? I don't think we should really be spreading misinformation about such things when our info is so sketchy. --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 10:45, 6 December 2014 (EST)
I put them here as examples of song pages that have been created despite no information, not songs from any new release (which I'm sure they won't be on). ~ veggieman 17:19, 6 December 2014 (EST)
man i was real pumped to hear this rock shit Apollo (colloquia!) 11:01, 7 December 2014 (EST)
If it does exist, we can presume it will be the last song that the robo-Johns release, in 2082, right before becoming a disco-revival band. ~ veggieman 15:03, 7 December 2014 (EST)
i'm so ready Apollo (colloquia!) 23:16, 7 December 2014 (EST)
We can add "Gleam" to the list. We're expecting the album in April and have about ten track titles - maybe it's time to make the TMBG's Upcoming 17th Album page. Last time the album title was announced about 3 months before release. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 19:58, 17 December 2014 (EST)

Cake[edit | edit source]

I may catch some flak from fans here, but this new song bears a passing resemblance to Cake's "Sheep Go to Heaven, Goats Go to Hell". http://youtu.be/xau1ZQUtW5c I doubt Mr. Linnell had that in mind though.

Hating "Hate the Villanelle"[edit | edit source]

Like Madam I challenge you to a duel the self indulgent structure of the song means that this is one for the uber-non judgemental fan. Madam's silliness is a problem but at least it has a tune, Hate the Villanelle, constricted in its structure by being, well, by being a villanelle, is almost a non-song. Tedious lyrics and not much in the way of melody. An emotionally detached song I find little to like. Left field experimental material runs the risk of failing, but by have no melody and having a tedious persona you're kind of inviting criticism. Moreover, it's got that clever clever vibe going. Yeah, you know what a villanelle is, but force feeding us a song about it? C'mon. Linnell has form for this kind of showing off, on stuff like You Probably get that a Lot, when he's singing about cephalophores, but crucially that worked as both a joke (or perhaps a quirk) and it had a proper melody. Pixies tried a similar poetic conceit to Hate the Villanelle on their track Ana, on Bossanova. However, that worked because it had a melody. If this tune makes the actual album it will be pushing the like of Dogwalker as the worst song on an official release. (Mr Tuck)

Just had another listen. It really is awful! (Mr Tuck)
I've tried my hand at writing poetry in rigid formats (i.e., sestina), and it always comes out more forced than my free-form stuff. I agree that this doesn't have a strong melody to it; even TMBG themselves have been known to ignore segments of the Power Spheres when it suits them. This may not be the best song in the world, and it's probably not going to end up a TMBG classic, but it's clever in a good way.
Also, I have to ask, is it really necessary to keep bringing up Dog Walker at every turn?! You don't see me bringing up The Vowel Family or Doris Cunningham every time I find a new song less than perfect, yet those are the tracks I avoid whenever possible. Just let sleeping dog walkers lie. :-) --MisterMe (talk) 13:44, 3 February 2015 (EST)

Sorry MisterMe. Point taken...(Mr Tuck)

No offense or discouragement meant. I normally get a kick out of your point of view, especially as you seem to be someone who maybe isn't always enamored by everything the band does. A critical voice is sometimes needed to jolt the fans from complete adoration. I just think the Dog Walker comparison is maybe a little off-base here. Keep calm and TMBG on. :-) --MisterMe (talk) 15:03, 3 February 2015 (EST)
Dog Walker is TMBG doing a Ween style parody. It's awesome, mang. Weirdojace (talk) 01:15, 24 February 2015 (EST)

No offence taken! Spy or The Guitar are just as annoying as Dogwalker! (Mr Tuck)

I'd like to point out that according to the NME, TMBG hails from Planet Irritant. Similar sentiments are shared by many others with whom I have discussed their music. A lot of people think all their songs are relatively annoying for a variety of reasons. Some people are continually offended by the emotional detachment of some of their lyrics, as though the mere existence of tracks like this is to mock and belittle more heartfelt releases. TMBG also get called a parody band just for the simple fact that they have unemotional songs. They get accused of talking down to their listeners for writing stuff like Mammal, as though its subject matter precludes it having any genuine entertainment value even though it's about a very relatable subject that just happens to be an unconventional song topic. And, maybe more obviously, they have a singing style and lyrical emphasis that doesn't agree with all listeners. I guess what I'm trying to say is, of course it's annoying, it's a TMBG song! ;)
In my opinion, this song is actually kinda gentle on the ears. I adore the sparse instrumentation which reminds me both of The Residents and of my favorite Nanobots track, Stuff is Way. I'm a little sad that so many other people don't like it. I didn't know what a villanelle was before I heard it, as I'm not even really interested in poetry, but that didn't make me feel stupid. I'm happy I know now. -- Sonderling (talk) 15:44, 3 February 2015 (EST)

I doubt anyone apart from an English major would know, so I wouldn't feel daft! I hadn't a clue either. You are spot on about the residents link. I think the emotional detachment is the key influence. (Mr Tuck)

I doubt anyone apart from an English major would know, so I wouldn't feel daft! I hadn't a clue either. You are spot on about the residents link. I think the emotional detachment is the key influence.

As for the NME quote, this is why most people are not Giants fans. Mammal is a poor example though, as Linnell shows a kind of love for nature in this one. It's stuff like Fingertips or the Planet of the Apes stuff that infuriates them. If you look at their failure to break through after Lincoln it's that they retreated from conventional thematic songs in their singles. Don't Let's Start; Ana Ng and They'll Need a Crane are crafted relationship songs. Birdhouse is surreal but it's where the NME decided the band were novelty. The Statue Got Me High and the (admittedly appalling) Snailshell kind of confirmed it for NME and the band continue to be criticised in most British media.The Guitar (which I loathe) falls into the band trying to be clever and surreal but it lacks a emotional anchor (With Birdhouse, the nightlight is at least personified).

The problem is the bands refusal (and dare I say it fear) of dealing with emotional or personal experience and the decision to remain detached and oblique has always been an issue. I love the varied content, but it's a decision that limits their popularity. If you look at popular music you have love songs as a constant universal theme. With independent music: The Smiths; Grunge; Britpop ect all have a common theme of dealing with emotion. REM, who are the Giants nearest mainstream relative deal explore human emotion in a way the Giants approach in a far more abstract and postmodern way. Never Knew Love is the track that sums it up. We have a rare unambiguous lyric with a universal theme...and Linnell just can't face it, and he can't finish it. He hands it to Flans who smothers it with oblique mystery. I know they've had a go, "First Kiss" is the one real go at doing it, but whenever the band try to be conventional in either music or lyric they become bland. However it is true, if the Giants had written more songs that couples could say "That's our song" they'd have been more popular and sold more records. Let's face it, the Beatles didn't write a song about a Metal Detector. The band are for me the ultimate post modern band. I rate them at their best up with the very best, but they'll only ever be an acquired taste, for the reasons I've tried to explain above. I always think people are losing out...(Mr Tuck)

Well, I chose Mammal as an example because I specifically have seen more than one published reviewer complaining about the vibe of superiority they get from the lyrics. Brilliant observation about their initial hits being relationship songs, though. That's something I'd never considered before and you're so right! I'm going to be repeating what you've said, haha.
On a personal note I do disagree with the acquired taste part though. When I first discovered TMBG I was actually so, so pleased that I finally found a band that liked to use really cool sounds and didn't use them on a bunch of love songs, because love songs are very much not my thing. I wish other bands weren't limited to writing emotional stuff, but I realize that's more what most humans relate to. But John Linnell makes great songs for robots like me. Sadly there are not a lot of robots like me so they have a limited market, and I understand why. But nonetheless I continue to exist and I'm so happy they haven't made compromises that would make me feel less cozy listening to them and singing along. Sorry to get suddenly personal here as I was previously commenting about the band's appeal to greater humanity but I just wanted to say that what others see as a shortcoming is one of the reasons I first became and always will be a fan! -- Sonderling (talk) 16:51, 3 February 2015 (EST)

But I think you contradict yourself you say that they are not acquired taste and then you say they have a limited appeal. That's what I think too. Unless you thought that they are acquired taste to me? I agree utterly that Linnell (and Flans on his day too) have a breadth of expression that I wish most bands had. It's their narrowness in the conventional themes that have cost them commercial success. One last thing, when I was younger I liked everything they did. The first 3 albums and Misc T are the best. From Apollo 18 they've been patchier, but apart from The else, which I really think is quite weak, they've managed a consistency that few (McCartney, Dylan, Morrissey, Black Francis, Bowie ect) have managed 30 years into their career. And yep, I rank them in that company! If I were the producer of the next Giants album I would do this:

1) Get Bill Krauss involved somehow. 2) Tell Linnell that he'd have to write at least 5 songs with accordion and minimise electronic keyboards 3) Ban gimmicky vocal effects 4) Tell Flans that any attempts to write song about politics or dogs were banned. 5) Ditch the rest of the band! Just the two of them - with drum machines. But a sparse production. 6) That they had to play the songs live before they recorded them. Too much of recent stuff is overproduced as they themselves acknowledge. 7) Make the lyrics more coherent - ditch the oblique. 8) Tell Flans to stop singing high 9) Get Flans wife Robin singing on it! Maybe Laura Cantrell (get her to not sing about Lions in spaceships this time though Flans!) 10) And a bit of Corn Mo.

And 11) Linnell, shave the beard and get yourself a hair transplant. ~ magbatz 18:33, 3 February 2015 (EST)

The big one would be this. Pick the best songs. None of this equal amounts per album. This would force Flans to raise his game and if he didn't Linnell would get more tracks on. Rick Rubin eat your heart out! I'll go on record now. The next big thing they'll do will be a back to the original 2, it'll be their Let it Be! (Mr Tuck)

Ha!!! I'd certainly love to hear your record. Good changeups.
Also I think I just misunderstood your meaning by "acquired taste" because I thought you were saying no one likes them immediately, and I just wanted to say that I did, very much, like them immediately for the same reason it's hard for others to like them. That was all. Anyway, please produce that album for us. -- Sonderling (talk) 17:32, 3 February 2015 (EST)

I have to say: wow. My whole frame of reference is different than yours, Mr Tuck; I would say Villanelle > Madam > Music Jail > Erase > No Cops. Some of these songs (particularly Villanelle and Madam) seem to be finally the results of something that They kept referring to in interviews—their attempts to make songs sparser and more powerful. "Hate the Villanelle" is minimal, dramatic, and powerful (in my opinion). Sure, the lyrics are not particularly meaningful (though I think they're perfectly coherent), the music of the track with the haunting synth, quivering guitar, and the minimalist electronic percussion is one of my favourite TMBG backing tracks for quite a while. Plus, at least from my point of view, some of your assertions are just flat-out false. No emotional connection or personal experience? What say you about "Your Own Worst Enemy", "Sleeping in the Flowers", "My Man", "Older", "I Can't Hide from My Mind", "Never Knew Love", "Nanobots", etc. etc.? Honestly, I just want TMBG to make music that they want to be making. Do I like older TMBG more than new TMBG? More often than not. But does that mean I think they should go back to that? One can't spend all one's time pining for the past, Mr Tuck. I think the band has many a time done wonders to expand and freshen TMBG's sound. And, at least to me, TMBG's lyrics are getting more coherent and less oblique over time. In what world is "Sometimes a Lonely Way" or "Never Knew Love" more oblique than "Ana Ng"? Also, I don't disagree with everything you're saying. A lot of TMBG's recent output (though not all) is poorly produced in my opinion, and I dislike gimmicky vocal effects and "Dog Walker" as much as the next TMBG fan. But I'll still stand by TMBG even if and when they do those things, because sometimes they turn out really well ("Circular Karate Chop"). ~ veggieman 18:06, 3 February 2015 (EST)

Hi Veggieman. We flat out disagree on the recent songs, so I won't waste time on that, it's just opinions after all. What I'd say about the following are: "You're own worst enemy" is a great song, and a rare unambiguous emotional message song. Reminds me of a Smiths/Giants hybrid. But it's not a love song, it's not a single. "My Man" is about being paralysed. It's not the kind of song they play on the radio. "Older" is great, but it's still going to be called clever clever by critics and it's almost a music hall song rather than a love song. "I can't hide from my mind" is not a conventional song; Never Knew Love, as I've said already begins with a clear universal message...and then Flans sings nonsense on his bits obscuring clear meaning. Nanobots is not a song a guy sings to his girl. Sleeping in the Flowers is an attempt to write a love song that is beyond twee, and confirms my point that they struggle to write conventionally, Sometimes a lonely way, is another example of this. Yep, it's a sad old song, but it's not very good. Look how lowly rated it is on this site, it's a clunker. I agree with you on Ana Ng. Spot on a romantic love song with a post modern twist, but I said that originally. The point that I perhaps didn't make clearly is that the Giants just don't do (enough/and perhaps well) of the kind of universal unambigious love/emotional songs that become hit records. My non Giant fan friends like stuff like DOn't lets start; Ana Ng and They'll need a crane - but The Statue Got me High? Snailshell? Dr Worm? They just don't get it. We do. But we're in a a minority. The band have a hardcore audience that'll be extended by the kids stuff but that's it. I am hoping for a reappraisal, at some point, but as Flans once said, if the pop music was a map of the world they'd be on "might be Island". And no, I don't have the reference for that...

As for my pining for the past, I think not. I'd just prefer them as a duo (like Bill Krauss); the live shows especially were more fun. I'm with Kruass, in that when they are in the full band you lose that special thing they had as a duo. I also think that when they worked as a duo and hadn't the full band at their disposal that they production and arrangements were more interesting. Perhaps why I like Linnell more is that he does bypass the full band more on his songs. Yet, I do argue (and have argued) that Flansburgh's output has weakened in recent years. Lindell's more consistent but I guess it must be hard being innovative and new 30 years in. If you compare them with bands knocking around from when they started they're still far more interesting. Morrissey's new stuff is awful and Black Francis had some long fallow years of bland releases until a partial return to form on the last Pixies album. Older guys like Bowie, ex-Beatles; Rolling Stones, Dylan, Stevie Wonder and have all struggled in the latter part of their careers. Stuff like You're on Fire, Icky and Sleep are easily as good as anything on the early Giants albums. Sleep's in my top 10 Giants tunes! Which I am sure will be a relief on the band! The only one bit of the past that I do pine for is back when I first saw them and they just played the songs! I loathe Flans the showman the last London gig had this terrible planet of the apes things that went on forever and all I could think of was all the songs that could have played. Plus, the Avatars of They are great for the kids, but very very unfunny for anyone over 13. They always seem baffled by their bad reviews in the UK, if they cut out all the quirky jokey stuff and just let the power of songs do the talking they'd get better notices! (Mr Tuck)

At some point an American is going to delete all my comments because I've gone off topic on Hate the Villanelle aren't they? (Mr Tuck)

I like this song a lot -- Jason DeLima - ! - 00:09, 4 February 2015 (EST)

I'm on the fence. It's not really catchy, though what it lacks in catchiness it makes up in wittiness. It strikes me as a song written as a challenge, the way Contrecoup was. I liked Music Jail more, though.--Pittsburghmuggle (talk) 03:44, 4 February 2015 (EST)

Mr. Tuck, I have to say ... our opinions are very far apart on just about everything. I've been waiting for this song to come out since I heard it played live in NPR. There is a melody there. It's not complex and doesn't evolve throughout but it's solid and the backing provides the variation. My best-to-worst list is precisely Veggieman's. Also, I though Morrissey's last few albums were fantastic. I'm not sure why they went over so poorly. I think, perhaps, that listeners and critics alike listen to his new material through a Morrissey-is-a-person-who's-always-complaining-about-everything filter. They don't want to like it. Drag the River is one of the coolest songs Morrissey has ever put out. As for David Bowie, his last album was an all-out success so I'm not sure where you're getting your opinion from. Edit: Also, I feel as though Flansburgh's writing has gotten stronger in recent years. --Propman (talk) 11:19, 4 February 2015 (EST)

Well, it's all just opinion isn't it? (Mr Tuck)

Sure (aside from the empirical evidence that Bowie's last album killed) but I figured since you were voicing yours, I'd voice mine being that its difference is pretty radical. What is a discussion without disagreement? --Propman (talk) 17:32, 5 February 2015 (EST)

Empirical evidence! ha! The last Bowie album sold because he's a popular artist and after a very long gap his fans were just desperate for some new tunes. The new album was incredibly plodding. People wanted to like it. Critics let their joy that he'd done something new could the fact that what had been released was mediocre. The last decent Bowie album was Heathen and it was just that: Decent. In reality the period where he was at his peak was between Ziggy Stardust to Ashes to Ashes. From them on, really patchy. I think the Giants have had a more productive mid to end period of their career, but they haven't had a cohesive album since Lincoln. Though, that's not true. No, is a cohesive album and I think Linnell's State Songs is cohesive. State Songs, is probably my second favourite release and I remain gutted that he's not doing a follow up!

The real judge though is time. It's like the great songs that last of the American Songbook and the one's that just fade away; or the Beatles undimmed brilliance - although it seems to me that already the early Beatles stuff is fading. Rubber Soul onwards being the stuff that really matters. Compared to their indifferent solo careers where they struggle to have 10 songs between the 4 of them that matter.

I think the Giants will one day get the recognition that they deserve but it will only be on a certain level. The music lacks the universalism required for popular success. Which is other people's loss. My one regret of the otherwise excellent Gigantic DVD was the lack of Critical Voice. The line from the Giants is that the Electra deal went sour when their champion at Electra left and they were left with "juniors" to promote Apollo 18. In reality, the album was incredibly hard to market in a world where alternative suddenly meant Grunge and mainstream pop meant conventional hit. All potential singles on the album (I Palindrome I; My Evil Twin; Dinnerbell; See the Constellation and Statue got me High) were hard to promote to a mass audience. That's why the band took so long to get signed by the major. Flans tells the story of the major rep watching a gig where the band rocked and still not wanting to sign them. It's because he saw their limited appeal. (Mr Tuck)

So let me get this straight—you think TMBG's limited commercial appeal due to lack of universalism is a bad thing? Also, no cohesive album since Lincoln? Wow, I'd say a lot/most TMBG albums are cohesive (especially if you count the first two as such): Flood, John Henry, Mink Car, The Spine, and The Else all strike me as particularly cohesive, and Apollo 18 and Nanobots are at least fairly so. To me, at least. And even when the albums aren't traditionally "cohesive" (like Factory Showroom), I think there's still something that glues it together as an album. Though that may be due to my familiarity with them. ~ veggieman 03:29, 6 February 2015 (EST)
I COMPLETELY agree. --Propman (talk) 04:24, 6 February 2015 (EST)

The lack of universalism or conformity is why I think they've never broke through. Like most fans it's their wonderfully idiosyncratic nature that makes them my favourite band, but the fact remains they baffle most people. Is is a bad thing? It's more a sad thing. To my mind they've got literally so many songs that should be adored and yet are unknown. If we take REM, the band I is feel the Giants nearest mainstream relative the Giants have far more songs and a better track of what I would call perfect albums (for me the Giants perfect albums are: They Might Be Giants; Lincoln and a cheat, Linnell's State Songs; some good ones: Flood, Apollo 18 and Spine; and a host of pretty good albums. In my view the only weak album is the Else, whilst John Henry suffers from a band in transformation)

I do feel that in recent years in recent years I've found myself liking only about a third of new songs, disliking a third and being kind of indifferent to the others. It's more my own falling out of love with some of Flans stuff. Stuff like: Spy; Drink; The Guitar; and all those terrible ballads, Sometimes a Lonely Way and Tesla being recent examples. I'm also not a fan of his more supposedly edgy stuff: Black Opps; Dogwalker; ect. Whereas on the earlier albums he punches as hard and as consistently as Linnell, I feel pretty much from Flood he struggles. With the democracy of the giants this has meant that lots of good Linnell material has ended up shunted off the main releases. If I'd have been in charge of recent releases I'd have moved some of Flans weaker stuff onto the spin off albums like Cast your Pod and This Album Raises and moved some of the stronger Linnell material onto the main albums. I also think the Giants should maybe self censor. Far too much substandard stuff, like Hate the Villanelle is getting released today. Anyway that's me done on this. Just going to stick to reviewing the new songs. Really enjoyed the comments on the page. I especially like that lots of people enjoy the songs that I don't. It would be a boring old world if we all thought the same eh? (Mr Tuck)