Interpretations:The Darlings Of Lumberland

From This Might Be A Wiki

Classic They Might be Giants[edit]

Classic in the sense that it's really left field. Linnell appears to have handled the music side with the bass clarinet of Linnell high in the mix (I think it's bass clarinet). Flansburgh is left with the difficulty of adding the lyric and melody He goes down the surreal route, a kind of Adam's family take on the normal and commonplace. Shades of the Edison Museum in there too. Again the lyrics show the Giants love of nonsence just for the sake of it really, which is probably their Lennon and Edward Lear influences showing.

It's getting difficult for a ghoul Wax museum dreams are so foolish No rehearsal, no finishing school It's getting difficult for a ghoul

Hold my cold dead hand for a bit Just got my cast off, I'm gonna blast off A little melody if time permits Hold my cold dead hand for a bit

Interpretating whether is works is complicated. Part of me just likes the music, but it's hard to criticise Flans as it's hard to know what actual subject matter does spring to mind when you hear the music. It actually reminds of a Smiths story. Johnny Marr had written what he thought beautiful music and when he head the finished song, Morrissey had added the immortal lyrics that "Some girls are bigger than others." He wasn't best pleased.

Of course you can't divorce lyric and music after a few listens, and that's how I feel about The Darlings of Lumberland. Lyrics and melody kind of sound wrong, but after a few listens it just sounds how it should. It's one of my favourite songs on the album and has that Live feel that they went with on the John Henry album almost 20 years ago. Where does the time go eh?

(Mr Tuck)

Just for your FYI, Stan Harrison gets a publishing credit on this one according to the liner notes, so presumably he had a big role in arranging it. ~ magbatz 12:31, 19 March 2013 (EDT)
I happen to have spoken to Stan Harrison about this one quite a bit and he mentioned that most of it was him under the direction of Flans. -macdrown

Country rock reference[edit]

The high wavering harmonies of the chorus seem to be in imitation of Neil Young. Combine this with the resemblance of the title to "Sweetheart of the Rodeo", the Byrds' country rock album, and there would seem to be a theme emerging. However, these are the only references. Thread Bomb (talk) 00:27, 21 February 2020 (EST)

A piece of the puzzle?[edit]

When trying to get a handle on what Flansburgh was talking about in his interview with Sam Kogon (quoted on the song page), I googled around until I landed on an article discussing the legendary Johnny Darling, who was a Catskills-area "Paul Bunyan" but with crazier stories. Some of the stories about him are preserved in collections of regional folktales. I have to wonder if the song is based on some of those tales (I don't know any of them, naturally) since it's so full of fantasy elements. I wish I could find the full interview to see if JF dropped any other clues. Maybe one day... --Nehushtan (talk) 10:40, 8 May 2020 (EDT)

Duh... the link takes you to the full audio interview. And there wasn't any more about the song... bummer! --Nehushtan (talk) 21:39, 27 April 2021 (EDT)