477. John Linnell – “State Songs”

My alphabetisation skills have failed me again.  This album has been in the wrong spot for years (I blame my weird belief that ‘liquor’ is spelled ‘licq…”.

As you’ll discover if I ever make it to the letter ‘T’, I once had quite the fixation on the work of the They Might Be Giants. In those pre-internet days, I was on their mailing list, and a member of their CD-a-month club for a couple of years.

Among the many esoteric releases (all EPs) was a five-track version of this long-player. I subsequently sold all the EPs for a tidy sum in the early days of eBay.  Like a drunk dotcom investor I parlayed a small portion of buying this album.

The CD is exactly what you’d think – 15 songs about US states (plus one overly ambitious theme song title Songs of the 50 States). This stinks of one of a lame high school creative writing exercises, and the results are suitably hodge podge.

Linnell may well have simply added the name of a state to a few songs he had laying about (e.g. I don’t see the connection between bicycle-crashing and South Carolina). States are anthropomorphised and a lot of attention is paid to their respective shapes on a map.

It’s not a complete mess, and there is the usual wild range of well-executed ideas in the mix that TMBG fans expect, but ultimately  I find it too throwaway and underwhelming.  See what you think:

File under: More like South Australia than Victoria

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2 responses to “477. John Linnell – “State Songs”

  1. Nice cover. Sufjan Stevens started to do an album for each state. After he stopped at 2, he claimed it was a joke. Maybe this approach is more achievable.

  2. Hi AS, Something about your name looked familiar and after a short search I realised that I was one of your CD of the Month purchasers! (three of them, on eBay back in ’02.) I was in Canberra and my final year of uni; I took the CDs to Japan for what was supposed to be a six-month working holiday. I ended up not coming back to Australia for nine years. As a result those three CD EPs of yours have been constant companions. Living in Melbourne now and still enjoying the discs…

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