#93 – “Something You’d Like To See” (Little Lisa Whitman; 2001)

TMBG Unlimited - October
L.K.: One of everyone’s least favorite songs! Okay no, it’s not that it’s really awful, it’s just… very modern Broadway.
A.S.: And for what it’s emulating, it does a fantastic job at it. I guess people just don’t like that sort of thing.
L.K.: For most rock fans there’s a very sort of knee-jerk reaction against musical theatery stuff. Not just the style of singing, but also the whole artifice of the art form. If you’re going to sit around and make a fuss about “authenticity”, musicals are not the place for you.
A.S.: Oh Lord, yeah. Then in that case, “Something You’d Like To See” is artificial artifice.
L.K.: Between People Are Wrong! and her singing style, Robin seems to come from a more musical theater-type background relative to the members of TMBG; I always wonder if she’s the one responsible for John Flansburgh’s occasional flirtations with interest in the subject. Actually, I wonder who was responsible for writing this song. I can’t see either John being really excited about writing a faux-musical number.
A.S.: Good point, given Goldwasser’s enthusiasm for stage musicals. I can see Linnell penning something like this, but even that’d be a bit of a stretch. And obviously, there’s really nothing like it in the catalogue… well, except I guess “It Never Fails”, which Goldwasser and Julia Greenberg wrote.
L.K.: They’ve certainly both written outside their comfort zones before, but yeah, the only other musical-esque thing in the catalog… maybe “Theme From Flood”?
A.S.: Yeah, and even that’s quite different from “Something You’d Like To See” I’d also suggest Goldwasser sounds a little pitchy here, but that just might be intentional due to the enthusiasm Little Lisa Whitman (or whoever) is trying to convey.
L.K.: The overexcited young ingenue at her first audition. 90% of all musicals begin that way, or at least that’s what it feels like.
A.S.: Hence why this is so spot-on. I genuinely enjoy the “My star is rising” part, followed by the list of cities. I guess if there’s really a good reason to dislike the song, it should be because we have no idea whether or not the Johns were even involved in this thing.
L.K.: Well, no, I mean, they obviously were. This was on that leaked soundtrack to Malcolm In The Middle so it probably was originally done for something there. I have no idea whether it actually made it into an episode or not, though.
A.S.: Well, I guess, if either of the Johns had a hand in writing it or performing it… I think we can assume it’s Linnell on piano, but even that’s not necessarily a given.
L.K.: I think all we can assume is that one or both of them wrote it, really. Wrote it and arranged it, at least. From what I understand, the soundtrack work was mostly a lot of writing on their end, rather than performing. This is from the second month of Battle of the Bands, so it would make sense if this was just another completely recycled tune.
A.S.: Then in that case, I really don’t think this song deserves the derision it gets, but I can’t say I’m surprised either.
L.K.: TMBG have done much campier soundtrack work. You can’t fault them for successfully pulling off a take-off of a genre.
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