Phoning It In: “Prepare”

TMBG

They Might Be Giants have resurrected their ingenious Dial-A-Song concept by streaming a new song each week of 2015 at www.dialasong.com. MAGNET’s Matthew Fritch reviews them all.

“Prepare” is a song about the passage of time and how quickly the present becomes the past and how unknowable the future is. (Hey Merlin, the only thing more fractured than time is the pitiful structure of the previous sentence. —Ed.) If you accept that we exist in a multiverse, in about 90 percent of those universes the remainder of this post devolves into a discussion of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. It reads like a True Detective McConologue minus the beer. However, we are not in one of those universes because this version of myself realizes that the aforementioned topic makes for stultifying copy.

On the topic of the actual music, “Prepare” takes on the auditory persona of a shitty 1970s psychedelic rock band. Why the Johns chose this musical style (and, to their credit, re-created it down to the defeated, muddy production) is the central question here. Is this what Spirit sounded like? I can’t remember. Approximately every three years, I attempt to appreciate Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum but never make it through the extremely dumb-as-it-ever-was “Summertime Blues.” But we digress, because “Prepare” doesn’t sound anything like Blue Cheer. And it’s not so much a song about time itself, but one about the anxiety of time passing. Of course TMBG makes specific choices about style (the synth-pop “All The Lazy Boyfriends” or the country/gospel “Impossibly New,” for example), but why choose this?

This is the most confusing Dial-A-Song so far.

File-A-Song: #ImNotHigh #NoYouAre

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