"New York City"
They Might Be Giants
From the album Factory Showroom
I first heard They Might Be Giants through their album Flood in high school. I loved that album -- still do -- it is so silly, fun, and hilarious and yet it's driven by really great melodies and song structures that rise above the Al Yankovich style of comedy music.
I never did move beyond those Flood waters and essentially ignored all of their other output- until I got married, anyway. The wife loves They Might Be Giants and so I was able to listen to many of their other songs. The thing is, for the most part, I found them obnoxious. All too often they wind up being too jokey and their music is too heavy on guitars and loudness, sacrificing the bouncy melodies I loved on Flood for something not necessarily darker, but more downbeat and dull.
Yet when they nail it, they are so joyful and full of happiness my heart fills with love for them again and again.
"New York City" was first sent to me by my wife when romance was just begging to bud. We were what you might call Long Distance Friends with a hint of something more to come. I had sent her a couple of mixes full of songs I loved and she sent me one with this song on it. It was fitting. It was perfect.
Lyrically the song is all about someone calling her lover to cross a great distance so that they can be reunited in the city. There are great references to NYC landmarks and a great ending line that reads "the best part about New York City is you and me." While we weren't lovers at the time, and we had never been to New York together, it fit right into the distance between us and a relationship that was beginning to spark.
Musically it is this wonderful, celebratory spasm of crunchy guitars, pounding drums. and church bells that swell and release into an explosion of orgiastic organ tones and deliciousness.
Over the years the song got lost amongst the hundreds of other songs that fill my life. I found it again last night and have spent most of the day playing it over and over again. It reminds me of discovering new love in a nostalgic haze and yet remains a remarkably fresh and wonderful song in and of itself.