In 1990 I became a huge fan of the band They Might Be Giants. You’ve probably heard of them. They did Particle Man, Instanbul not Constantinople, and the theme to Malcolm in the Middle. My friends and I listened to their album Flood endlessly. At one point we tried to sing the whole album beginning to end and actually got pretty far. As the years have passed, though, I’ve thought about them less and less.
But then I came across the Tumblr blog They Might Be Hipsters, that “takes lyrics from the songs of They Might Be Giants and pairs them with completely unrelated pictures for the ensuing hipster fun.” I’m not sure what hipsters have to do with it, though. I guess hipsters sometimes use Holga cameras, or set their DSLRs and iPhones to add a funky, 70s-look to their photos, and most of the images have that kind of feel to them. What I like is seeing the TMBG lyrics out of their usual context and reading them again for the first time. It reminds me of why I thought Linnell and Flansburgh were such amazing songwriters back in the day. I was inspired to submit a few of my own They Might Be Hipster images, but they haven’t been posted on the site yet. Apparently there’s a huge backlog of submissions so it may be awhile.
They Might Be Giants were notorious for having short songs – most hover around 2½ minutes in length. In 1992 TMBG released Apollo 18 which included a group of really short (mostly 5-20 seconds) tracks, usually referred to as Fingertips. They were designed to take advantage of the Shuffle feature on CD players and show up randomly in between other songs. I didn’t get a CD player until 1993, so I first experienced all of the Fingertips tracks strung together at the end of my cassette tape. I thought they would lend themselves really well to the They Might Be Hipsters project, so I put together a poster with 21 photos and the lyrics to all 21 tracks in order. Since Isabelle from TMB Hipsters says she’s swiped most of her photos off the web, I decided to “borrow” images from Flickr in order to go with the flow. I figure it’s probably okay since: 1: I’m not using them for commercial purposes, 2: I’ve used artistic license to heavily edit them in order to make them more “hipster-ish,” 3: I’m providing links to each of the original images on Flickr to give the original photographers credit for their own work, and 4: If any of the photographers take umbrage to me using their images I’ll happily take their photo out of the poster, replace it with something else, and re-post. I’m hoping if they ever see this they’ll consider it as a compliment.
Here are the links to the original photos I used from Flickr in order: