Singles: Pop

Billboard, January 27, 2001
by Chuck Taylor

PRODUCERS: Pat Dillett, They Might Be Giants
WRITERS: J. Flansburgh, J. Linnell
PUBLISHERS: Fox Film Music Corp./New Enterprises Music, BMI
Restless Records 242 (CD promo)

Over the past 15 years, They Might Be Giants has delivered its clever brand of alternative rock to the tune of 3 million albums sold, more than 1,100 live gigs, and memorable outings like "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Don't Let's Start." At last, they're on the cusp of a major national breakthrough with "Boss Of Me," the high-profile theme from the Emmy-winning Fox TV series "Malcolm In The Middle." The ska facade of this rapid-fire, anti-establishment mantra is so easy to pick up, it's a wonder that schoolrooms aren't already a massive chorus of "You're not the boss of me now/And you're not so big." Clocking in at a brisk 2:57, the song has been expanded from its TV version, but thankfully Giants members John Flansburgh and John Linnell don't pad it with a bunch of cotton candy. There's a tempo-driving guitar solo and a couple of added choruses that only intensify the song's intention: to make audiences sing along till their heads explode (in a joyous way, mind you). It's been a while since a TV theme song has tickled America's fancy. This one has as much potential at mainstream top 40 as it does on rock radio. Look what we have here: an across-the-board smash that's meaty enough to please programmers but accessible enough to be one easy sell to audiences far and wide. Resistance is futile--just spin the thing. From the upcoming full-length TV soundtrack, including tracks from Baha Men, Travis, Hanson, and Barenaked Ladies.