Have you ever wanted to hear They Might Be Giants sing about sex?
That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is yes, of course. A big, fat, dripping, emphatic yes. To hear They Might Be Giant’s two Johns — Flansburgh and Linnell — sing about the holy act of coitus in their trademark nasal sing-speak would be a transcendent experience, akin to descending Niagara Falls in a slow-motion barrel with the ghost of the Dali Lama as your companion.
And c’mon: They Might Be Giants? When it comes to the size of their cocks, there’s no need to be ambiguous. They are giants. And, someday, the world may be blessed with an album in which the two sing exclusively about their erotic exploits.
But until that time comes, it looks like the closest thing we’re gonna get is Home’s Sexteen.
A voice calls out: “Home? Those lo-fi cassette gurus who’ve been around since, like, the first Bush administration”?
Yep, those guys. And here they are in 2006 with an album that’s pretty much about bush. Sexteen is the group’s sixteenth record (duh), and the first since 1995 with original drummer Chris Martin. Martin must have spent a lot of time fucking since he left the band, because Sexteen‘s songs are mostly his. And they’re all about fucking.
And it’s a pretty good album, one in which effortlessly melodic power-rockers coincide with stilted Beck-style funk workouts and intermittently touching ballads of love and longing. And it’s all filtered through Home’s DIY aesthetic and musical-chairs philosophy, in which it seems that any band member could be playing any instrument at any time.
But it’s a little tough to get through. The album has nineteen songs, and, once again, they are all about fucking. Not in a misogynistic Internet-porn sort of way (not one mention of bukakke!), but earnest and idealistic — wholesome even (the line “fucking is currently my favorite form of expression” sums up the general lyrical bent).
And, yes, the lyrics often sound like they are sung by They Might Be Giants — nasal, cartoonish and overly precocious (“I know for a fact that simple cell regeneration is no match for the hard crust of the winter ice”). It’s not very arousing.
But getting aroused isn’t really the point. The point is to enjoy listening to an album of preternaturally well-crafted songs, and Sexteen has these in spades (although nineteen tracks is about seven too many). Highlights include the blistering power-pop of opener “Other Times Solar,” the swaggering “Juicy Ass,” and “Bubble,” which includes a real-life phone-sex interlude involving a hand-job fantasy (yeah, I know, hand-jobs are lame).
Despite its indulgences, single-mindedness and occasional annoyances, Sexteen is ultimately an enjoyable album, especially if one derives pleasure from contemplating the sexual tendencies of nerdy middle-aged men. And who doesn’t?
As for They Might Be Giants — the ball’s in their court now. Gentlemen, please release an album devoted exclusively to boning.