Phoning It In: “I’ll Be Haunting You” And “Long White Beard”


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.

It’s the beginning of the end of Dial-A-Song 2015 and, by extension, Phoning It In. The latter enterprise dried up long ago in terms of interesting or original things to say about the former enterprise; all we have now are the formalities, the bows and ribbons to tie it all up. Statistics will be calculated and rankings determined. Until then, we have two songs to discuss.

“I’ll Be Haunting You” is about how the Google search engine will forever associate my byline with this year in the wilderness of They Might Be Giants. LOL JK. The production on this song is strange—more Jam & Lewis than Linnell and Flansburgh. It’s also a song where Linnell tries to fit too much text into the lyrics, and it results in a monotone vocal. Admittedly, this happens a lot in TMBG’s songs and is often successful; here, it’s not so great.

“Long White Beard” is culled from new children’s album Why? and features vocals by Robin Goldwasser, who is John Flansburgh’s wife. Goldwasser also sings Why? opening track “Oh You Did,” and Phoning It In wishes that song had been selected instead: It might be the LP’s best and funniest track. Phoning It In would also like to announce a ratings correction; the song “Elephants” has been bumped up from a 6/10 to an 8/10.

“I’ll Be Haunting You”: 4/10
“Long White Beard”: 6/10