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Thing a Week Three

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Album Review

In the third installment of his Thing a Week series, Jonathan Coulton somewhat reduces the pathos and adds a bit to the eccentric nature of the lyrics, further cementing his geek pop credentials. Where previous albums carefully wrapped the human experience into well-crafted arrangements, this third installment spends a little more time simply having fun and exploring genres. The album opens with a thumping bit of pop that opens up some organ in combination with the guitars, and hails from the earlier days of Coulton's career as a singer/songwriter in cafes. "When You Go" shows off sheer choral music. There's straightforward bluegrass in "Just as Long as Me," and some fairly dark shoegaze in "Famous Blue Raincoat." While Coulton jumps from genre experiment to genre experiment, the fun pops out. A song devoted to Tom Cruise's existential crisis brings out a dose of the fun that characterizes Coulton's music to his fans. "Soft Rocked by Me" uses the sensitive soft rock ballad concept as a blatantly insensitive mating play ("You've never been soft rocked 'til you've been soft rocked by me"). The irony carries over to "Not About You," with a stalker-in-denial protagonist and a quick pop riff. Of course, the human experience is still present as in all of his collections, but it's been phased back primarily to unrequited love and dreams of grandeur. The hit "Code Monkey" combines thick power pop with a longing for the office secretary and a better life, and deserves highlighting both for the music and for the sentiment. The music is a little more playful on this installment than on previous ones, and replaces pathos with longing as an underlying theme. The songs might linger in the mind a little less than some of his other compositions, but "Code Monkey" alone puts this album firmly in line with the rest of the series as an excellent combination of music and sentiment.

Customer Reviews

Coulton's supremacy in the new 'CD' format continues to astound.

Jonathan Coulton, sometimes better known as "minstrel" to author and raconteur John Hodgman, endeavored to record one song per week, hence the title of this and the other albums in the set. Since acquiring Things a Week One and Two, they have been in constant play on my iPod, and this album finds more of the same. Some of the best works of the series are in this collection, known for "Code Monkey", which has a video starring Hodgman himself, available on Youtube. (There are also videos for the song using footage from 'A Clockwork Orange' and the first 'Matrix' that are hilarious.) "The Presidents" is a nice bit of history that I'm trying to get my 11 year old to memorize; and it's true: "If you had Tom Cruise's troubles, you might be Tom Cruise crazy, too."

Code Monkey Like Song

Not just for coders this is a great song for geeks and nerds (I are one) in general or any guy who's sick of being stuck behind his desk at the office daydreaming about being with the object of his affection.


I can finally listen to Code Monkey on my Nano...yes! This is great.... *bows to Jonathon Culton* (typo intended)


Born: December 1, 1970 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

When They Might Be Giants were first starting out they experimented with an answering machine service named Dial-a-Song, by means of which listeners could call them in Brooklyn and listen to a random taped song. The service was popular enough that it broke down frequently, but not before it helped them get signed to an indie label, Bar/None. Jonathan Coulton, standing on the shoulders of the Giants both musically and spiritually, found fame by the 21st century equivalent of Dial-a-Song through "Thing...
Full Bio
Thing a Week Three, Jonathan Coulton
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: Dec 15, 2006

Customer Ratings