[Video tagged as "best dang band land grammy" among other things.]
A.S.: I’m pretty surprised that this song gets as much live play as it does.
L.K.: Yeah, especially considering that it isn’t even an album track.
A.S.: Which, aside from a couple of really old B-sides, TMBG pretty much sticks to the songs that appeared on albums. This is pretty unfortunate, since as we try to prove here, there’s a ton of incredible stuff that was left off the LPs…
L.K.: It’s also sort of weird that it gets as much live play as it does because it’s co-written by a non-TMBG person.
A.S.: One of the very rare TMBG tracks of this nature.
L.K.: Chris Anderson is obviously a pretty close friend of the band though (or at least a close friend of Mr. Flansburgh and Ms. Goldwasser), so I guess it’s not that weird. He’s made a ton of appearances in a whole bunch of TMBG-related projects and side-projects.
A.S.: I wonder exactly how he and Flans wrote the song – if they partnered up on the whole thing or one handled lyrics and one handled music or whatever.
L.K.: Also I seem to have misspoke about “We Live In A Dump” not being an album track. It’s an album track… in Japan.
A.S.: Well, yeah, but they haven’t been to Japan to play it live, have they now?
L.K.: You know, I just looked up the BMI page for this song, and Chris Anderson is nowhere to be seen! I guess he’s not getting any royalties for performances of this after all…
A.S.: Hmm… yeah, I wonder if there’s any concrete evidence indicating that Anderson wrote it. What we are pretty sure of is that this was the final song to ever play on Dial-A-Song, right?
L.K.: Oh yeah, that much I can say for sure. For most of my teenage life, Dial-A-Song was non-functioning, but then for a brief, glorious moment in April of 2006, it was up again. I don’t know how many times I called it before it went down for the final time. I know I got through at least two or three times. One time I called very late at night from my living room floor, and I think most of the other calls were from my high school. I was really taking the “free when you call from work” thing to heart.
A.S.: Yeah, I regret to say that I never had that sort of experience. This was the only song you heard on it though?
L.K.: Yeah, because it was the only song they put on it! It was only up for a couple of weeks and then the answering machine died. And then that was it. No more dial-a-song. Ever. It took them two more years to give up the phone number though, I think, so everybody had that little glimmer of hope.
A.S.: And it was the demo version of this song that appeared on DAS that was a full step lower than what wound up on Cast Your Pod To The Wind.
L.K.: Hm, so I just found a show review from 2006 that quotes Flans as saying Chris Anderson was co-writer. It also has Flans mentioning that he has to remember that they changed the song’s key! (The relevant part: “Flans not only needed to remind himself of the change in key, but also the lyrics. However, he was able to salvage it and continue. He also credited Chris Anderson for co-songwriting.”)
A.S.: Well, there we go.
L.K.: I don’t know if it’s coincidental or not, but I find it weird that this song and “Yeah, The Deranged Millionaire” date from around the same time and both mention bats. It would be one thing if it were a more common noun, but bats? I don’t think they popped up in song lyrics again until “Old Pine Box”.
A.S.: That is a weird little coincidence… especially since this one misstates that bats lay eggs. Why the false claim? If it was supposed to be correct, why not use any bird that actually does lay eggs?
L.K.: I mean, unless the whole point was for the statement to be incorrect to begin with.
A.S.: Right, which is not terribly unusual for them. These are all Flansburgh songs, too…
L.K.: It’s just a weird animal to be popping up in multiple songs at once. Both were on the companion disc for the initial release of The Else, right? The bonus disc of podcast content?
L.K.: That’s sad.
A.S.: It really is. I mean nothing against “We Live In A Dump”, because it’s a great, jaunty, bouncy little pop tune, but I think there are quite a handful of Flansburgh songs that are better.
L.K.: Yeah, to me, this is a good song, but definitely not one of Flans’s best. Hey, speaking of different versions of this song (and the frequency with which it is performed live), there was a recording of this included on the live bonus CD that IFC members received in January. That’s an Instant Fan Club thing that actually is allowed to be discussed in public, since they’re offering it as one of the things members can get for signing up this year (though I don’t understand how that would make former members want to rejoin…)
A.S.: Physical release? Extra tracks, right? So there is something in it for returning folks.
L.K.: Hm, I guess. But CD releases in and of themselves aren’t that exciting.
A.S.: Yeah, but lumped in with everything else, why not I suppose. Either way, the live version isn’t terribly different from the one on the Cast Your Pod… disc, so I guess we’re done, then.