#111 – “D & W” (2005)
A.S.: “I like to watch the sports.”
L.K.: This isn’t going to win any songwriting awards, but damn is it cute.
A.S.: John Linnell in a dialogue with himself. Can’t go too wrong with that premise.
L.K.: He’s got a secret desire to be a voice actor, I’m telling you. At least he can do amusing accents. The D puppet from the video is really adorable, but that W is terrifying. It’s got that demented little mouth in its middle…
A.S.: You’ll have to take that one up with Robin Goldwasser.
L.K.: I don’t know if it would terrify me if I were a child, but I can say that it frightens me as an adult.
A.S.: I think it’s the teeth more than anything else.
L.K.: Yeah, but Linda Ronstadt on Sesame Street scared me so much as a toddler that my mom had to turn off the TV and take me out of the room the second it came on.
A.S.: I always changed the channel when the opera bumper happened, so anyway. Getting a little too psychological here.
L.K.: Anyway yeah, back to this song. You know, few things amuse me more than adults trying to interpret the kids songs that have incredibly straightforward meanings. Somebody was trying to interpret the W as being George W. Bush, which is totally illogical and yet makes perfect sense.
A.S.: I can see that, but then who is “D”?
L.K.: I don’t know, because it sure ain’t Dick Cheney.
A.S.: What aging president has the initial “D” in their name?
L.K.: D. Look at D. Shooting an old man in the face.
A.S.: I think the last one was Eisenhower, but he was long dead when Dubya assumed office.
L.K.: Aging president? I don’t know. FDR doesn’t really count.
A.S.: He was dead before Eisenhower was president!
L.K.: I just love the big bombastic music for W.
A.S.: Yeah, there’s a good key change there.
L.K.: Actually, I do love the different nature of the music for each letter. It’s simple, yet effective. This is a good example of a song that is clearly intended for a child-only audience, yet isn’t obnoxious to the adult’s ear.
A.S.: Yeah this song ain’t bad at all.
L.K.: There’s no musical or lyrical depth or anything, but it’s completely harmless.
A.S.: I just wonder why “D” of all letters is old and tired and so forth.
L.K.: Hm… maybe D looks like a hunchback. It lacks the structural integrity of certain other letters.
A.S.: Perhaps. Hey, am I the only person who thinks the “D” and “W” could have something to do with Danny Weinkauf?
A.S.: Maybe they’re different sides of Danny’s personality.
L.K.: Danny Weinkauf probably sat around feeling self-conscious about his name afterwards.
A.S.: Then again, he is quite far from fat. Extremely far.
L.K.: And yeah, he is totally the buffest member of They Might Be Giants. By far. The commentary over the end credits of Gigantic is just A.J. and Flans talking about how ridiculously buff and hot Danny is.
A.S.: Oh yeah, during the “Guitar” bass solo.
L.K.: Sarah Vowell and John Linnell wisely decided to stay out of the discussion.
A.S.: One more thing I think: Is there another point in the catalogue where a John has a discussion with himself? I feel like it has to happen somewhere else…
L.K.: The commentary for “(She Was A) Hotel Detective In The Future” is all Linnell again. It’s far longer and far stranger than this song. It’s also not even a song.
A.S.: I’m thinking an actual song though.
L.K.: Although both parts of “It Never Fails” are sung by him. Not sure if that counts for your purposes or not.
A.S.: I might be thinking of that. Who knows, maybe down the road we’ll hit it. Maybe it’s just a figment of my imagination.