Phoning It In: “ECNALUBMA” And “Starry Eyes”

TMBG

They Might Be Giants have resurrected their ingenious Dial-A-Song concept by streaming a new song each week of 2015 at www.dialasong.com. MAGNET’s Matthew Fritch reviews them all.

After 19 consecutive weeks of posting Phoning It In, we finally got our own category on the MAGNET site, and then … we miss a week. (Who is this “we”? It’s just me. Fritch. Army of one. Deflecting blame.)  This week, then, it’s a Dial-A-Song double shot. Which is fitting, because these two tracks play like the A-side and B-side of a single. A single that doesn’t chart very well.

“ECNALUBMA” is “ambulance” spelled backward. The song has an odd momentum, aided by skittering horns and drums, but it never seems to reach its destination. Cover songs are at an automatic disadvantage; “Starry Eyes” by ’70s power-pop band the Records is a fine choice but doesn’t have the sneery British accent of the original. Credit is due, I suppose, for the Johns not attempting a British accent.

File-A-Song (“ECNALUBMA”): 5/10

File-A-Song (“Starry Eyes”): 4/10