There’s only one everything.

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John Linnell of They Might Be Giants has a great skill for writing hooky pop songs whose lyrics incorporate intellectual inquiry. He’s written songs that present potted – but accurate – histories of US Presidential candidates (“James K. Polk“) and Mesopotamian kings (The Mesopotamians“), detailed considerations of phrenology (“Contrecoup“) and taxonomy (“Mammal“), and simple philosophical truths (“Older“).

It’s no surprise that They Might Be Giants have had so much success in the educational kids’ music field, with Here Come the 123s, Here Come the ABCs, and the recently announced Here Comes Science, providing fun and playful singalong primers that are a natural progression of the band’s lyrical tendencies.

“One Everything” is a great example of the last kind of song, containing many wonderful philosophically flavoured lyrical gems, but for me the standout would have to be:

What if you drew a giant circle?
What if it went around all there is?
Then would there still be such a thing as an outside?
And does that question even make any sense?

The fact that these questions are presented in the form of a kids’ song, as performed by a talking world globe, fills both my dad-heart and my nerd-heart with joy. Here’s to the opposite of dumbing down. Enjoy the song.


Poet. Author. Beard. Husband. Dad. Four chickens. Dog. Cat. I can sometimes fix my lawnmower.

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written

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About Adam

I'm a dad and the author of the poetry collections The Third Fruit is a Bird and Not Quite the Man for the Job, the novel Man Bites Dog and the short story collection Heroes and Civilians.

I'm currently working on "Dance to the Anticlinal Fold", a spoken word walking tour that will be part of the Castlemaine State Festival in 2019. Find out more about the show here.

Bookings for public appearances can be made through Booked Out Speakers Agency

This website was created on Dja Dja Wurrung land.
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