Talk:The Velvet Ape

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More Filler[edit]

And another week ticked off. Residentish music and vaguely political backing. Difficult to imagine anyone playing this more than once. There was a time when every release, every album track, every EP, every B side was carefully considered by the band to show how high their standards were. This is no longer the case. (Mr Tuck)

Really? I think this song is really "out-there", but I really think it's great! I respect that you don't like it, but I may have to disagree with your last two sentences - I mean, what time period are you talking about? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deysian (talkcontribs) 16:29, July 7, 2015
It's not "out there" it's a weak filler track. I think the Giants last sweated over every single release about the Spine? Agree to disagree though. :-) (Mr Tuck)
I agree to disagree about whether it's weak filler ;). But we can talk about releases and filler - remember TMBG Unlimited? That was filled with filler and duplicates. I think 'Larger than Life' was pretty annoying and a waste of a third of the non-album tracks on that EP. As were most all the re-mixes they would put on until the S-E-X-X-Y EP... There were real tracks, too, like Mr. Klaw, which were not so substantial. So, I don't think the latest are any indicators that they've gone downhill. Another problem is that I really like this track! I wish we were having this discussion last week, I can't stand the Moms and Kids song.
By the way, I definitely enjoy our discussions on the DAS Direct stuff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deysian (talkcontribs) 17:15, July 7, 2015
Points well made and ones I may struggle to counter! The only gap in my They Might Be Giants knowledge is TMBG Unlimited. Back then I didn't have broadband and I've never really caught up with it (I assumed it would be released on CD at some point - at some point the Giants should do an anthology of unreleased and rare stuff not available on CD and we can wade through it. I'd love some early duo live stuff circa 87-92). Mr Klaw is an interesting example you used for not being substantial. It's difficult to argue with and my argument is on rocky ground: Mr Klaw is silly, it is slight and yet it works! Why? Part of me wonders if it's just the 17 year old me who is speaking as this was the age I first heard it, and along with the other songs on the Don't Let's Start (Europe only compilation) I found it a breath of fresh air from traditional pop music. The Velvet Ape, to these 40 something ears sounds like a mannered skit. Mr Klaw doesn't though, even though it probably should: it's just as self indulgent and as Residentish influenced as Ape. I can't explain why I like it more - probably the guitar riff, gives it a structure that Ape lacks. Glad you enjoy chatting about the songs, I do too. It's interesting that this week has such a limited response from posters, listeners obviously don't want to praise and can't face defending The Velvet Ape... (Mr Tuck)
Mr Tuck, I haven't really weighed in here on the Wiki to date regarding these songs but I notice that with the songs you are critical of, you often mention that you can't see yourself playing them more than once. With TMBG in particular, I often find you need to play them several times to let them wash over you - particularly with the more out there tracks. After about 6 plays, this one is really growing on me. Sure it's not the greatest thing they've ever done but wouldn't it be boring if they were like most bands out there playing it safe and doing the same thing over and over adnausium... -Ash

Hi Ash. Points well made. And it's more me than the Giants on the listening to it once thing. Like most people I don't really listen to music in the same way as I did when I was a kid. The days of sitting down and listening to a whole album are rare now. I tend to have big varied playlists and I'm more eclectic in my tastes than I used to be and new stuff gets put into my Evening Playlist, and if it's not immediate it doesn't get in. I think the last album I really listened to in the old conventional sense was the last Kurt Vile one which I really liked. Back in the day when you bought an LP or EP you really gave it a chance as you'd paid your cash and you might only buy a few a year (especially as a kid). Now, with Spotify you have access to so much stuff, that I lack the patience. I tend to gut the best tracks from albums and add them to the playlist and if it doesn't grab me, well that's it. I think it's also fair to say that I don't like less of the left field stuff of Giants since the Spine (the last really good album, in my view) than I did in their early days. I think I am losing out in someways as songs do grow on you, but with Spotify I just listen to so much music that I immediately like. (Mr Tuck)

I feel I must stand up for this one. Not being contrary, given my vitriolic feelings against the post-Glean period of DAS, but I adore this track. TMBG doing 'dark' and TMBG doing psychedelia are probably my two favourite modes of theirs, and this is both. I have no idea what it's about and don't particularly care, it's just a pretty perfect piece to my ears, in songwriting and production, and exactly what I'm paying my money for - LP-quality tracks. I'm still very worried about the poor hitrate elsewhere though, and am also troubled by the Flans/Linnell balance tipping so far towards the former that it's almost breaching the Trades Descriptions Act now... ~SirDarrell

Tuck, if you want to catch up on Unlimited, private message me -

Thanks for the offer, not quite sure how I do it. #embarrassed (Mr Tuck)

I'm not sure either - do you have a user page when you log in?

Intriguing experiment[edit]

While I don't consider this a stone-cold TMBG classic, it does bear many of the hallmarks of the band's darker, more experimental work. For example, I instantly thought of "Boat Of Car", "Chess Piece Face", "Token Back To Brooklyn", and even "Indian Ocean". As stated above, these are heavily influenced by the sound and style of arty weirdo collective The Residents. Whether that's a good thing or not is a matter of opinion, but I think it's an important facet of the Giants' oeuvre. For every cheerful pop melody like "Birdhouse" or "Erase", you have the anything-but-pop sound of tracks like this.

I'll be the first to admit that "The Velvet Ape" won't please everyone. There's no real point of accessibility, no glimmering pop-rock hook. So what do I like about it? The double-tracked Flansburgh; the dramatic drumwork; the overall ominous vibe. Also, for whatever reason, the phrase "nineteen seventy-old" is greatly amusing to me. Like music critic Robert Christgau once said of the band, "The arbitrarily amusing--their specialty." --MisterMe (talk) 08:17, 8 July 2015 (EDT)

I think this song is psychedelic and badass. TMBG have been doing a lot of soundscape-y kinda stuff lately and this just fits right in, in my opinion. I want more songs like this. Weirdojace (talk) 19:05, 11 July 2015 (EDT)
I don't get why people are referencing The Residents for this one. The Velvet Ape is coherent in mood and meaning. I'm not deep in The Residents but in what I've listened to so far they never seem to advance beyond a simple exposition of absurdity - and they don't rock. The Velvet Ape rocks. --Nehushtan (talk) 21:10, 26 September 2019 (EDT)

This song will likely be on "Why?", the next children's album, as it's essentially a dramatization of a stuffed animal fight. My prediction.

Scenes from One Got Fat[edit]

I felt like finding out what the scenes from One Got Fat originally looked like, so here they are. One, two, three, five... And then the ending. I don't know how I could put them on the page, so feel free to add them. --DoubleDenial (talk) 09:46, 5 May 2019 (EDT)

Phil Collins[edit]

The famous drum sound from In The Air Tonight makes an appearance in the chorus. --Nehushtan (talk) 18:17, 14 September 2019 (EDT)