They Might Be Giants released their eighth studio album Mink Car at Tower Records in Manhattan at 12:00 AM on September 11, 2001.
Alternate titles for this album were Unreliable Narrator and Secret Mountain Laboratory. Ultimately the title of the thirteenth track was chosen for the album. Mink Car is said to be a parody of The Cure's single Mint Car, off of their Wild Mood Swings. The cover art is interesting in that it features a schematic for an automobile and a dummy. No mink. The Dial-A-Song number is included next to the band's name.
Sample lyrics from the title track:
I got hit by a mink car / Hit by a mink car driven by a guitar / And the silver chauffer says that it's all in your head / When you're 24 carat dead / Dead
The turn of the millenium was an important time for TMBG. They recorded a documentary, collaborated with McSweeney's for a special musical edition of that magazine, released a collection of rare material in addition to recording and releasing Mink Car. Mink Car was their first CD made with the Band of Dans: Dan Hickey on drums, Dan Miller on guitar and Dan Weinkauf on bass. The Band of Dans were with the two Johns from 1999 until 2004.
I saw them when they went on tour for this album. They played an old movie theater which was pretty cool. It was pretty epic but they seemed to not be enjoying themselves as much as when I saw them on their previous tour. The most notable thing about the Mink Car tour for me was that my English teacher was there, which proved that teachers are people too. TMBG also debuted some of the children's music which would comprise their following full solo release.
- Cyclops Rock
- Man, It's So Loud In Here
- Mr. Xcitement
- Another First Kiss
- I've Got A Fang
- Hovering Sombrero
- Yeh Yeh
- Hopeless Bleak Despair
- My Man
- Mink Car
- Wicked Little Critta
- Finished With Lies
- She Thinks She's Edith Head
- Working Undercover For The Man
The first track was inspired by the story Girl With Bangs written by Zadie Smith for the sixth issue of McSweeney's. TMBG wrote many of the songs which came on a CD for that issue.
"Working Undercover for the Man" was released a year prior as the title track of an EP. Different versions of "Another First Kiss", "Edith Head", and "Older" were all previously released; the last two on the rarities disc from the year before. "Yeh Yeh" was used in a Chrysler commercial. "Older" is definitely the best birthday song to ever include a rauschpfeife and a contrabass sarrusophone. "Wicked Little Critta" is an ode to hockey champ Bobby Orr and was remixed for this album by The Elegant Too. (this was the first time TMBG used a DJ on a studio album). On Mr. Xcitement, Flansburgh emcees with M Doughty of Soul Coughing.
About a year ago a tribute album was released, with different artists covering each track. Many of the artists selected are relatively new or "undiscovered" but you may have heard of some of them before, like MC Frontalot. The whole thing's available as a digital download for ten USD and on CD for 15. All proceeds from the sale go to the the FDNY Foundation, the official nonprofit foundation of the Fire Department of New York which established to provide resources for the professional development, education, and training of members of the FDNY. The title track on the tribute album is an instrumental piano version. It's worth a listen. Hell, it's all worth a listen.
Mink Car is the only TMBG album to have ever gone out of print. It is has since been reissued. Now go buy it.