#38 – “I Enjoy Being A Boy” (2005)

[audio http://www.tmbg.com/mp3/IEnjoyBeingABoy.mp3]
A.S.: Weirdly enough, I downloaded a Banana Splits compilation not all that long ago but have yet to listen to it in full.  I think I’ll give it a listen while we discuss this song.
L.K.: Aren’t the Banana Splits like a children’s band or something? Or am I completely off base there?
A.S.: No, you’re completely correct.  They’re pretty much the harbingers of 60s-LSD-psychedelia into the world of children’s music.
L.K.: OK, well… this makes sense then.
A.S.: They’re a fake band along the lines of Josie and the Pussycats and The Archies, but way more surreal, and if you ignore the cartoony aspect of their existence and just listen to the music, from what little I know of theirs, it’s just really great, sugary, 60s bubblegum pop.
L.K.: Whoa this is the first time I’ve actually listened to the TMBG version, even!
A.S.: Really?
L.K.: Yeah! I guess I never heard all of the first podcast; I only started listening from the 3rd podcast on or so.
A.S.: This, like “P.S.O.K.” was one of the songs I downloaded for free from TMBG’s site, so I heard all those podcast/otherwise unreleased tracks at once.
L.K.: I’m listening to the original and it’s pretty trippy. Ahh, the 60s.
A.S.: I knew TMBG’s version before I knew the original; first heard the original a few weeks ago hanging out at My Mind’s Eye.  Store-owner Charles was playing a couple of Banana Splits 45s and “I Enjoy Being A Boy” was on it, and that piqued my interest further on the band.
L.K.: The bass and drums and other spacey dance stuff in the TMBG cover are so weird to hear after hearing the original recording. It’s not a completely straight cover, in that way.
A.S.: As indebted as the original is to its 60s production, TMBG made theirs indebted to the 00s. Also, Flansburgh added a riff to it that’s absent in the original recording; I think it works very well!
L.K.: Oh yeah.
A.S.: The “la la la”s in the middle are a little unsettling though.
L.K.: And at the end!
A.S.: Do you think that’s Flans?
L.K.: It’s not like he hasn’t done weird crap with his voice before.
A.S.: True.
L.K.: It’s impossible to tell who it actually is. Given the capabilities of modern digital voice manipulation, who knows, though it’d probably be easier to involve as few people as possible on vocals… unless it’s sampled from something too. Again, I have absolutely no idea.
A.S.: I’m listening to this Banana Splits album, and it’s really good.  It hardly sounds like children’s music, at least no more so than “Yellow Submarine” or The Kinks’ “Phenomenal Cat” or some of the Monkees’ songs.
L.K.: So it’s more like “all ages” stuff music-wise, even if the series was aimed at children? Though if it were like Barney or something, TMBG wouldn’t have bothered covering it.
A.S.: Pretty much.  A nice mix of baroque-pop and R&B rave ups. I don’t think this song “Wait Til Tomorrow” is a kid’s song at all.
L.K.: Yeah, from listening to this, I can’t say I’d tell any difference between this and anything aimed at a more adult audience.
A.S.: And yet it was immensely popular in its time among the younger set.
L.K.: The lyrics in particular don’t seem very kid-centric, unlike say, TMBG’s own kids stuff. I know I’ve seen Linnell mention liking the Banana Splits. The Johns were kids in the 60s, so this may just be some weird giant nostalgia trip thing for them, indulging themselves in some covers and weird other things for their first podcast.
A.S.: I don’t doubt it.  And speaking of Linnell, if any of their kids songs harken back to the idealistic, youthful romance that seems to run rampant in this Banana Splits stuff, it’s “Apartment Four”, which I still think is their best children’s song.
L.K.: Oh man, I just remember being confused by the title of this song, since I had never actually heard it.
A.S.: Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense without the remainder of the sentence.
L.K.: It was just like, “Wow TMBG, way to be SEXIST. What’s wrong with NOT being a boy?”
A.S.: Did you really think that?
L.K.: Not in like an angry way, but yeah, I did think that. This is what you get when you look at song titles without hearing the rest of the song. I mean, I’m sure there’s still somebody angry about it based on the lyrics in the rest of the song, but it’s such a catchy little song and I pay so little attention to lyrics anyway.
A.S.: There’s always someone.
L.K.: It’s about living in a cucumber castle, for god’s sake… somebody’s going to find a way to make that phallic, actually. Some internet person is going to RUIN this whole thing.
A.S.: Hey speaking of people getting angry about music, since I think we’ve said what’s to be said about “I Enjoy Being A Boy”, how ’bout them Grammys?
L.K.: I watched them, but I have no idea why. I paid very little attention to them; they were just background noise to me tweeting, mostly. I can’t say I cared about ANY of the artists nominated for anything, and the “performances” were a joke. For something dubbed “music’s biggest night”, is there a reason why dancers outnumbered musicians by what appeared to be a 3 to 1 ratio?
A.S.: This is the first year in ages I haven’t watched them, but it’s only because I don’t have TV. (Actually now that I really think of it, I think I do have very limited network TV, but we haven’t watched it in like half a year here.  Oops.) But I felt like I was watching it what with the endlessly great Twitter posts.
L.K.: You really didn’t miss anything if you didn’t watch it. It was the same five people over and over again all night. And poor old Paul McCartney…
A.S.: If you weren’t following Twitter, you missed @fart retweeting a bunch of horrifying pro-Chris Brown tweets from women.
L.K.: Oh man, yeah, those are… I wish I could say I was surprised by those. But all of Chris Brown’s fans appear to be women anyway, at least if Twitter is anything to judge by.
A.S.: Ah, the Grammys, an award so important, John Linnell lost one of his.
L.K.: I think Flans said he gave his first one to his parents.
A.S.: That’s sweet.
L.K.: There appears to be no video footage of the Johns getting their first Grammy, but the band (minus Flans) accepting their award for Here Come The 123s is one of the most adorably awkward acceptances ever. Shame John Linnell isn’t winning any Oscars. The man knows how to deliver an unbelievably brief acceptance speech.
A.S.: Geez, all I can think about now is how I forgot I had network TV.
L.K.: Again, you’re not missing anything.
A.S.: Not surprised.  Is it worth torturing oneself to stay current?
L.K.: Nope. Too much cool stuff in the past still waiting to be discovered.
A.S.: And in the present – just not on “music’s biggest night”. I dunno, dear reader, what did you think of tonight’s Grammys?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Daily TMBG-related email??

    Join 13 other followers

%d bloggers like this: