They Might Be Giants (Album)

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They Might Be Giants album cover
They Might Be Giants
Studio album by They Might Be Giants
First released November 4, 1986
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 19
Label Bar/None / Restless Length 38:29 Next album Lincoln

They Might Be Giants, often referred to by fans as the Pink Album, is the first studio album by They Might Be Giants, released in 1986 on the fledgling Bar/None label.


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Back artwork


They Might Be Giants is TMBG's self-titled debut album. Many fans refer to it as The Pink Album due to the pink background on the album cover, similar to The White Album by The Beatles, which is also fan-named but officially a self-titled album. In the early days of TMBG's internet-based fan community, it was occasionally called the Big Blue Dog album because of the illustration of the Johns riding a dog of such a nature. The cover art was illustrated by Rodney Alan Greenblat. Bill Krauss, who was the band's soundman and who had produced TMBG's demo and promotional tapes, served as the producer for the album.

The Pink Album spawned two singles: "Don't Let's Start" and "(She Was A) Hotel Detective", though neither of them charted. Videos for the two singles were directed by Adam Bernstein along with a video for "Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head", which premiered prior to the album's release.

The importance of the album and its successor, Lincoln, led to the two being re-released in their entireties alongside a number of demos and rarities on the Restless compilation Then: The Earlier Years. However, the version of "Don't Let's Start" on that compilation is the single version, rather than the album version.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Everything Right Is Wrong Again 2:20 
2 Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head 2:12 
3 Number Three 1:27 
4 Don't Let's Start 2:36 
5 Hide Away Folk Family 3:21 
6 32 Footsteps 1:36 
7 Toddler Hiway 0:25 
8 Rabid Child 1:31 
9 Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes 1:58 
10 (She Was A) Hotel Detective 2:10 
11 She's An Angel 2:37 
12 Youth Culture Killed My Dog 2:51 
13 Boat Of Car 1:15 
14 Absolutely Bill's Mood 2:38 
15 Chess Piece Face 1:21 
16 I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die 1:58 
17 Alienation's For The Rich 2:25 
18 The Day 1:27 
19 Rhythm Section Want Ad 2:21 

2013 Australian bonus tracks[edit]

The 2013 Australian reissue included a selection of B-sides and rarities previously released on Then: The Earlier Years.

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
20 Don't Let's Start (Single Mix) 2:35


21 We're The Replacements 1:50


22 When It Rains It Snows 1:33 
23 The Famous Polka 1:33


24 (She Was A) Hotel Detective (Single Mix) 2:20


25 For Science 1:19


26 The Biggest One 1:22


27 Kiss Me, Son Of God (Alternate Version) 1:49


28 Mr. Klaw 1:19


29 Critic Intro 1:38


30 Now That I Have Everything 2:20


31 Mainstream U.S.A. 1:15


32 Fake Out In Buenos Aires 1:48


33 Greek #3 1:29


34 Hope That I Get Old Before I Die (Original Version) 1:12


35 I'm Def 1:08


36 Don't Let's Start (Demo Version) 1:14 
37 '85 Radio Special Thank You 1:45  N/A
38 Untitled
unlisted, follows 20 seconds of silence




Snowman clip art, modified by John Flansburgh for its inclusion in the liner notes
  • The album is dedicated to James McIntyre, a high school acquaintance who purportedly greatly influenced the Johns. McIntyre died of AIDS in May, 1986.
  • John Flansburgh on the snowman gracing Side One of the LP lyric insert: "This piece of artwork was taken (I believe out of a trash can) at my job doing kids workbooks at Macmillan Publishing ultimately to grace the lyric sheet of the first album, and the smile of the snowman was altered to a more ambivalent expression."[1]
  • John Flansburgh on the artwork gracing Side Two of the LP lyric insert: "That picture is from the Boy Scout Handbook. It's some sort of activity, we just thought it looked very tribal and strange."[2]
  • The font, Filmotype Metro, used on the cover came from a "photographically based system" generated by a "non-computer-based machine". This machine had "decorative fonts from the 50s and 60s when the machine was developed" and "were ubiquitous in newspaper print shops as well as publishing houses".[3] Other examples of Filmotype Metro can be seen at [4]
  • On the LP version of the album, the following side titles were used:
    • Side 1: Johnny Call Home (718) 387-6962
    • Side 2: 25 hours a day 6 days a week (718) 387-6962
  • The first pressing of the CD (on the East Side Digital label) contains a typo on the back: "Nothing's Gonna Change By Clothes."
  • The European Elektra re-release of the album on vinyl has a typo on the Side 2 label, which calls the band "They Might By Giants."
  • Elektra CDs and cassettes of the album replace "Don't Let's Start" with the single mix of the song, and the CDs feature incorrect track times on the back.

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Japanese releases[edit]


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