Phoning It In: “Apophenia” And “I Am Alone”


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

Apophenia is the psychological process of making false connections, projecting meaning onto meaningless patterns, and mistaking coincidence for purpose. It also happens to describe much of how Phoning It In (and the majority of music writing) works. It is a mental disorder. Mere weeks from now, when Phoning It In “hangs it up” (!) and concludes coverage of 2015’s Dial-A-Song campaign, we’ll think it was all a hallucination. And then we’ll Google it and find out it was real, because they let us use the computer for an hour each day here at the care facility (or, if you prefer, “nuthouse”).

“Apophenia” is a good example of how John Linnell turns internal dialogue into lyrics. Or vice versa. The song’s walking bass line gets a little tedious, but it serves the crazy lyrical patter. “I Am Alone” rocks a little harder and has a decent guitar solo at the end.

“Apophenia”: 6/10
“I Am Alone”: 7/10