Science Is Real
From This Might Be A Wiki
|song name||Science Is Real|
|artist||They Might Be Giants|
|releases||Here Comes Science, Podcast 55|
|first played||October 1, 2009 (30 known performances)|
|sung by||John Flansburgh|
- Video directed by David Cowles and Andy Kennedy, and animated by Kennedy, Sean McBride, Adam Sacks, and Chris Conforti. According to the October 27, 2021 episode of This Might Be a Podcast, which featured Cowles, this was the third video that he completed for the album.
- Sacks animated the section of the video with the word "REAL" being represented with several different images and graphics.
- One of the only somewhat controversial songs in the They Might Be Giants catalog, because of the lyric "I like the stories about angels, unicorns and elves". A 2009 Examiner article showed how online discussions on Amazon regarding the song were stirring up controversy even prior to the album's release, because of the affirmation to children that angels are fictional and are to be seen in the same light as unicorns and elves.
- Also in 2009, John Linnell spoke with Nature Journal. Answering the question "Your lyrics talk about evolution being real and how stories about angels and unicorns are just that, stories. Did you worry that this might alienate some listeners?":
John Flansburgh took the bull by the horns by writing that song and addressing that situation, which is that religion cannot take the place of science. It's not something you can tiptoe around. It's important that everybody gets what the discussion is about. If we're talking about the history of Earth, we can't rely on religious tradition to tell us all the information. He says it in the song: as beautiful as the stories are, they don't tell us everything we need to know. It's an old complaint on the part of scientists, but it bears repeating.
- A t-shirt was released in September 2009 on the theymightbegiants.com store for this song, featuring fake cover artwork for a non-existent single (see right). The cover artwork is a direct parody of The Louvin Brothers' 1959 Satan is Real album cover (see lower-right), and mimics almost every feature of the original cover, including the addition of a fictional Chemistry Records logo.
- From a 2016 interview with The Irish Times:
Flansburgh laments that science has come to be seen with an aura of suspicion in the US. Or as he puts it, "People still want to get on planes but they don't want to admit science is real."
- In 2017, an alternate version of the video was uploaded, with both differences in the song and visuals.
- An alternate lead vocal take is used throughout the song, noticeably sounding as if Flansburgh is a short distance away from the microphone. In addition, at the end of the song, the mixing of the vocals is different.
- The intro is different, with a brief drum fill at the beginning and drums being played throughout it. The visuals show a few of the images shown during the drum fill in the middle of the song.
- Instead of fading into a visual with stars when the Big Bang is mentioned, a blue painted backdrop is dropped behind the boy, who proceeds to cover his ears as an object on the left side of the screen explodes into stars. This section was changed by Disney's Standards and Practices team due to being perceived as "too dangerous".
- The child interfering with a boy's paper clip tower does not open their eyes after laughing.
- The bus passing during the city sequence is not seen until after the child runs off screen, and does not yield. This was changed by Disney's Standards and Practices team to avoid encouraging reckless pedestrian behavior.
- In a 2018 interview with Angelus, the publication from the Archidiocese of Los Angeles, Flansburgh stated:
The lyric line in the title track is, "I like those stories about angels, unicorns and elves / I like those stories as much as anybody else." And the truth is, our creative lives are really wrapped up in imaginary things, but also literary things and symbolic things. I'm not a spiritual person by formal definition, but both John and I think about literary ideas and philosophical ideas, and abstract ideas that are mysterious and elusive, and we're preoccupied with creative stuff. Some of it is fantastical; a lot of it is just fictitious. A lot of our songs are written from the point of view of an unreliable narrator. The lyric might seem cavalier, but I would really beg for people to take it exactly at face value.
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Science Is Real is currently ranked #431 out of 910. (48 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.25)