But Seriously, They're Funny

Newsweek, January 2, 1989
by Katrine Ames

"Rock music has become like soap opera," says John Flansburgh. "It has every element of real life except humor." Flansburgh, 28, and John Linnell, 29, are They Might Be Giants, a dowtown New York duet. Their new album, "Lincoln," has a romantic song about a Vietnamese woman, "Ana Ng," that just bumped U2's "Desire" from the No. 1 spot on college radio. TMBG's hard-core fans track the group on Dial-A-Song, its phone-answering machine. The two-man band is very funny, but also serious, as in the pop satiric "Youth Culture Killed My Dog." TMBG wears its new success lightly. "We're misunderstood because we have a bit of levity," says Flansburgh. "Our songs say something." TMBG has been a brand-new band for six years. "When you reach a new plateau every couple of months," says Linnell, "people keep saying, 'Look at my discovery.' "