#88 – “Even My T-Shirt” (2001)

They Might Be Giants vs. McSweeney's
L.K.: More tiny tracks, oh boy
A.S.: This one is exceptionally strange, too.  I kind of really love this one. It’s just… inexplicable.
L.K.: A lot of McSweeney’s tracks are completely inexplicable when viewed as individual tracks.
A.S.: Yeah, we need Nathan’s help with this one, since he actually has a copy of McSweeney’s Issue #6. But I mean… just this looped clip of Flansburgh saying “Yeah that’s, that’s what I’m saying” followed by this brief little riff that keeps modulating up half a step, and the phrase “Even my T-shirt” …And that’s the song.  It’s inexplicable and wonderful and I love it.
L.K.: Yeah, this is definitely a weird, weird song. I’m wondering if the “Yeah, that’s, that’s what I’m saying” was sampled from some other pre-existing thing or whether it was created specifically for this, just because it’s the sort of sample that sounds like it was just chopped out of something else.
A.S.: Yep.
L.K.: Though then again, that could’ve been what they were going for too. Do we know who is talking in that clip? I honestly can’t tell whether it’s Flans or not. The dude is pretty quiet and mumbly.
A.S.: It sounds enough like him, although that is true, we don’t know for sure.
L.K.: Man this song is weird.
A.S.: Ever notice how many songs reference T-shirts?
L.K.: Hm, I don’t know if it’s a significant number of songs, but it’s at least a noticeable number. There’s this, “T-Shirt”, and “I Got My T-Shirt Back”, right?
L.K.: It’s a pretty generic piece of clothing, worn by people of all genders, all walks of life, in all situations that don’t merit more formal outfits.
A.S.: “Bangs”. I dunno, I think that’s enough songs to constitute a weirdly recurring theme
L.K.: I guess you could say the same thing about blue jeans, but I think t-shirts probably outstrip even those in generic clothing-ness. They sure outstrip them in terms of TMBG lyrics.
A.S.: Very true.
L.K.: Maybe it’s just the default article of clothing in the Johns’ minds. “I need to mention some piece of clothing. Okay, T-shirt, got it.”
A.S.: Whadda song.
One Response to “#88 – “Even My T-Shirt” (2001)”
  1. Nathan says:

    The McSweeney’s issue includes a fair number of pictures where some guy with a van is displaying a sign referencing whatever he’s in front of. For this one, the sign says, “Even my T-shirt has a history,” but I don’t remember what else was in the picture. “Mr. and Mrs. Nuclear,” “Lincoln, Washington, and That Jefferson Guy,” “Oprah,” “Grassroots Internet Revolution,” and probably others I’m forgetting were all references to that project, often just duplicating the sign matter in song.

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