When listening to They Might Be Giants’ 1986 self-titled debut for the first time, the opening drum fill for “Hide Away Folk Family” slightly caught me off guard. The four preceding songs establish the album’s upbeat and sprightly mood that you assume it’s the kind of rhythm and mood they’ll be going for throughout the whole thing. But no. “Hide Away” slows the album’s pacing down, allowing the listener to breathe for a few minutes and really feel the music.
Sung and presumably written by John Flansburgh, the track has a cosy and homey feel to it with a light lullaby-like melody to its lyrics and cute instrumentation. Take away the lyrics which creepily depict a mother and father who are paranoid about their house being burned down or blown up, and you have a perfect instrumental for a child’s bedtime song. The ‘happy music with dissonant lyrics’ trope is one that They Might Be Giants have used countless times; this is another instance in which it is executed with great effect. You wouldn’t realise what it was you were singing about unless you had a very good look at the lyrics.