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State Songs

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Album Review

One of the most interesting aspects of They Might Be Giants fandom has always been analyzing the creative mix between John Flansburgh and John Linnell to pinpoint what each artist brings to the table in crafting the group's albums. Listening to State Songs offers the rare opportunity to observe one Giant alone in his natural habitat, as you view the world strictly through Linnell's eyes in his uniquely absurd take on 16 of the nation's 50 states. As he often does on Giants records, Linnell covers plenty of musical territory on this album, from the grooving, midtempo pop of "Idaho" to the manic polka of "Michigan." He even recruits a carousel band organ to play backup on several of the songs. Shifting gears wildly, he masters every stylistic leap he takes; the tunes are all united by the catchy-as-the-clap melodies. You're guaranteed to be continually amazed by the inventiveness and sheer beauty of his melody lines. Searching for deep meaning in the lyrics will probably only lead to severe migraine headaches, though — unless you're crazy enough to think that Linnell actually believes "Oregon" is bad or "Iowa" is a witch. Such serious ponderings are better suited for Bob Dylan records. Better to just lean back in your chair and let Linnell's State Songs whiz by your car window in a wild and surreal blur.

Customer Reviews

Quite Possibly the Most Original...

I love each and every one of these songs. John Linnell's totally random songs named after states are so great. They're all catchy tunes, that will stay in your head all day, but in the good way. They all have great sounding keyboard riffs, and great lyrics. It's like generic rock progressions meet John Linnell's lyric writing ability, bizzarely named after states, so you can remember them. They're indescribible really, so listen to the previews of the songs, if you think you'll like it, chances are you will.


I have had this album for years. It is truely a masterpiece. A must buy if you are a TMBG fan. Cheers!

South Carolina is truly a wonderful creation!

This entire album is a truly wonderful creation, but South Carolina is a song that when you listen, you begin to see the events unfold before you. Mr. Linnell is a genius.


Born: June 12, 1959 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Best known as one half of goof-pop duo They Might Be Giants, singer/songwriter/accordionist John Linnell was born June 12, 1959 in New York City; while growing up in Lincoln, MA, he befriended one John Flansburgh, and together they began writing songs. Linnell and Flansburgh went their separate ways after graduating high school, with the former joining the little-known Rhode Island new wave band the Mundanes; however, in 1981 both relocated to Brooklyn, NY, where they began writing and recording...
Full Bio
State Songs, John Linnell
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Oct 26, 1999

Customer Ratings