How Can I Sing Like A Girl?

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name How Can I Sing Like a Girl?
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Factory Showroom, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, John Henry + Factory Showroom
year 1996
first played April 25, 1996 (284 known performances)
run time 4:32
sung by John Flansburgh; John Linnell sings some harmony


This song is as much about freedom of expression as it is about how to sing high. Its title was inspired by part of TMBG's live show where Flansburgh had to sing in a falsetto to reproduce the sound of a sped-up vocal from a recording called "She Was a Hotel Detective". And so the idea of having "the right to sing like a girl on demand" was born.
  • Flansburgh further elaborated on this idea in 2017 and in 2021, saying, "It's for all humans about the state of being human!" and "Expressions like 'throw like a girl' were typical in hazing when I was a kid in the suburbs of Boston when I also had long hair (which wasn’t appreciated by everybody)." [1][2]
  • The line "I want to raise my freak flag" may refer to the Jimi Hendrix song "If 6 Was 9" ("I'm gonna wave my freak flag high, high!") or the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song "Almost Cut My Hair" ("I feel like letting my freak flag fly").
  • The song was subjected to extensive pre-production, with Pat Dillett mixing the track using a Neve console at Donald Fagen's studio.[3]
  • In live performances since 2011, the song has often been played with accordion accompaniment only, showcasing a more unplugged arrangement rather than a rock tune. In multiple cases Flansburgh would exclaim "Rock me John!" before Linnell's accordion solo. In 2018, it was frequently performed during the "Quiet Storm" section in many performances, with acoustic guitar, accordion, and electronic drums, showcasing a mellow arrangement, as opposed to the former. Both arrangements are transposed to the key of D major, instead of B major on the album.

Song Themes

Animals, Falsetto, Forgetting And Remembering, Freaks, Gender Issues, Loneliness, Music, Pointing, Questions, Windows


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How Can I Sing Like A Girl? is currently ranked #370 out of 1010. (117 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.48)