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They Might Be Giants No!

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For the parent who feels the need to say “Not Constantinople” after someone says “Istanbul,” I present to you the tenth anniversary, deluxe edition of the first family-friendly album from They Might Be Giants: No! Of course if you think, “well, that song was originally recorded by the Four Lads,” then you must be nerdy with grandchildren. Kudos to you!

If you’re not familiar with They Might Be Giants (TMBG), Brooklynites John Flansburgh and John Linnell formed the group in 1982. They had alternative rock hits with “Ana Ng,” “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople). No! was released in 2002 on Massachusetts-based Rounder Records, which was originally founded in the People’s Republic of Cambridge back in 1970.

The title track “No” is simply awesome. “No is always no. If they say no it means a thousand times no.” Then John and John ask the most perplexing question on “Where Do They Make Balloons?” (Seriously, where do they make balloons?) The album is also instructional; “In the Middle, in the Middle, in the Middle” reminds everyone to not “cross in the middle, in the middle, in the middle of the block.” A good lesson for those pesky jaywalkers. Most of the album retains the classic TMBG sound, but also expands to a musical cadre that would make Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields smile. Or maybe frown a little bit less.

Just remember: No! is kid-friendly; their 1996 release Factory Showroom, featuring the single “S-E-X-X-Y,” is not.

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