My iPod #161: They Might Be Giants – Can’t Keep Johnny Down


Last post for today.

It was my sixteenth birthday when the details of They Might Be Giants’ forthcoming fifteenth album “Join Us” were released to the public on Pitchfork. I was so excited. A new They Might Be Giants album? What could be better? Only a link to the brand new single!

Yes, “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” was probably the first song in full that They Might Be Giants fans heard from “Join Us”. The band had been releasing ‘teaser’ videos of work in the studio, but this was the the moment that they had all been waiting for in 2011.

Although it did take a few listens for me to get into the swing of things, “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” was an appropriate choice of song for people to hear. Some may have been worried how the band would sound after they had released children’s albums in 2008 and 2009 with “The Else” being their last ‘adult’ album in 2007. This song proved that there was no need to be worried at all.

I did assume that it was autobiographical, probably just because it has the name “Johnny” in the title. As in “Johnny” Linnell or “Johnny” Flansburgh. But that was until they said that it was from the point of view of an ‘asshole’. Those are Linnell’s words, not mine.

The band then commenced the biggest fan contest to have ever existed. That was to create their own video for the song, and whoever won it received a cash prize. The winner was the entry above.



Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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