#3 – “Even Numbers” (2008)

Here Come The 123s

L.K.: You know, if I were a kid, I don’t even know if this would explain to me what an even number is.

A.S.: It is a bit too long an explanation for such a simple concept. I’d probably end up skipping too many numbers.

L.K.: It’d be fine if it was musically or lyrically interesting, but it’s not.

A.S.: I have nothing against this song

L.K.: I don’t know if it’s more enjoyable to 2-year olds, but it’s really annoying/boring to me.

A.S.: I actually enjoy the “Skip the first number and second one…” verse.  Something cool about Linnell’s vocal rhythm there.

L.K.: I am just naturally skeptical about anything with shouting chorus of kids or whatever.
A.S.: Yeah, throwing the kids voices on can ruin even a great song.
L.K.: …Are those even actual kids?  I hope it’s not just John Linnell sped up a ton or something.
A.S.: I think in this song, it’s actual kids, although I feel like there are a couple songs on …123s where it’s just multiple high voiced Flansburghs.
L.K.: There’s the french fries connection with the “Crystal Fortress” song.
A.S.: Now, there’s a song I really don’t like.  Give me “Even Numbers” over “Crystal Fortress” any day.
L.K.: Aw, what’s wrong with “Crystal Fortress”?  It’s not supposed to be an actual song; it’s Homestar Runner, man.
A.S.: Another day, another Song-A-Day.
L.K.: We’re getting off-topic here.
A.S.: It’s difficult to analyze songs written for 3-year olds with a 22-year old brain, although I do feel like they’re up for scrutiny because the Johns repeatedly insist that there’s really nothing different happening creatively between when they’re writing music for adults than for kids, right?
L.K.: Right, and it’s people with adult brains who are buying it and who have to sit through it at concert or who choose to play it for their kids.
A.S.: And it’s not like kids wouldn’t necessarily enjoy the stuff on the adult albums anyway. Kids like music.  I mean my favorite music as a toddler was R.E.M. and Billy Joel.
L.K.: And it’s being written by guys who are over twice our age!  So I think we can definitely analyze the kids stuff like anything else. It isn’t fair to give it a pass.
A.S.: Alright, just so we’re clear about that
L.K.: And I still don’t give “Even Numbers” a pass, because I think it’s just a boring song.  It tries harder than it should to be educational but kind of fails on that end too.  If I wanted a kiddie song that would go over children’s heads about numbers, I’d take “One Everything” instead.
A.S.:  “EN” is a bit lazy, but I’m perfectly fine with it, unlike a few other songs on …123s that we’ll get to eventually.
L.K.: And there are many!
A.S.: And I am pretty happy that a song about even numbers is our third song in this thing.
L.K.: I was still hoping for “Number Three” myself, but that seemed almost too easy.
A.S.: Also, is it me, or could the “You’re girl, but you’re a boy…” part be interpreted as Linnell assigning genders to children?  Like in The Who’s “I’m A Boy”?
L.K.: She was a boyyyy… Just thinking about DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR.
A.S.: Yes!  Or any number of other TMBG gender-confused lyrics
L.K.: Hm, I don’t know. I would say why is John Linnell reinforcing the gender binary to children
A.S.: This is the 21st century, man.
L.K.: I don’t think there’s any sort of ulterior motive either way.
A.S.: No, but that’s one way of looking at it, I guess.
L.K.: “She wants to be your man. / She’s got another plan.”  Yeah, on the notion of gender-confused songs, I personally find the boy-girl section here to just be another example of the uninspired writing on the song more than anything else.
A.S.: Oh, I know I’m overthinking the lyric, but I’m just saying
L.K.: I know!  But I am just saying that there are better songs to overthink lyrics on, or at least more amusing ones.
A.S.: Yeah, I should save what’s left of my brain for some other ones.
One Response to “#3 – “Even Numbers” (2008)”
  1. Nathan says:

    I think this one really doesn’t succeed as an educational song. What it teaches can be more or less summed up with: “What are even numbers? The ones that aren’t odd! Then what are odd numbers? The ones that aren’t even!” Very circular.

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