The Many Hats of They Might Be Giants

The name “They Might Be Giants” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Even if you don’t instantly recognize them, I would bet good money that you know at least one of their songs. They have a wacky and alternative sound, but the thing that fascinates me about them is the unexpected places their music pops up. The first time I became conscious of their name was while watching a video essay about the kids movie Coraline (a surprisingly meaningful movie). The video mentioned that all the music for the movie had been written by a band called “They Might Be Giants.” I knew the name sounded familiar so I did a quick google.

Alternative ’80s Fame

The first two names that popped up were “Istanbul” and “A Birdhouse in Your Soul,” and I instantly knew why the voices in Coraline sounded so familiar. I get a huge amount of my music taste from my mom, and my mom loved alternative music in the ’80s, so both “Istanbul” and “A Birdhouse in Your Soul” are songs that I hold dear to my heart. If you don’t recognize them by their names, listen to both of them and you will definitely recognize at least one of them. For an alternative band, TMBG made it real close to the mainstream in the ’80s.


While TMBG will always stand out for their mark on the 80s music scene for me, their soundtracks have also had an impact on my life. We’ve already discussed their presence in the movie Coraline which was a favorite of mine as a kid, but they also created something more impressionable on my childhood. They wrote and sing the opening music and the song “Hot Dog!” from the animated kids series The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. This music is so catchy that I still find myself humming it subconsciously years after my last viewing of The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When I discovered their place in these soundtracks, my mind was blown. The fact that the group that sings “Istanbul” also sings “Hot Dog!” was a lot for me. I started discussing my recent discovery with friends.

Kids Music

This is when I found out about yet another endeavor of TMBG. When I made a post on my finsta about my recent discoveries, a friend responded informing me that she loves TMBG! I was expecting a comment on their album “Fool” or one of their older songs, but she told me that she grew up to an album of theirs titled No! This lead me to fully research TMBG. Just when I thought their story couldn’t get any stranger, I discovered their extensive discography of educational children’s music, and to my surprise, I kind of loved it. Some of my favorites include “Meet the Elements” and “Can You Find It?”

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