All Songs Considered
Thu September 5, 2013
Dancing Vegetables, Singing Ground Beef: TMBG's Old-School Video
They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh and John Linnell have just delivered an old-school video — think "early days of MTV" — and it's a pleasure to see. Over the course of 16 albums, the two Johns (first as a duo and later as bandleaders) have always kept humor at the core of their sound and general attitude. They continue the tradition with "You're On Fire," the first single from their 25-song, 45-minute album Nanobots.
The video is filled with dancing vegetables, singing ground beef, air-guitar-playing broccoli and trumpeting carrots. I assumed these were animated vegetables, but director Hoku Uchiyama surprised me with this factoid: "One thing we're proud of is that the food you see isn't animated; it's puppetry. The vegetables are actual produce from the grocery store that we rigged up to be puppeted on set. The wires were removed in post."
John Flansburgh says he was attracted to Uchiyama's work after seeing a music video the director had created for Amanda Palmer: "I saw the video Hoku did for the 'Evelyn Evelyn' video a couple of years back. I loved the way he integrated live action and special effects. It took until now for the stars to align, but we finally got to get this project going. The video triangulates off the lyric of the song in an unlikely and super-fun way, instead of that 'shrinking world' feeling you get from so many videos. It adds its own mystery."