#92 – “I Am Not Your Broom” (2002)

A.S.: Okay, one thing I’ve never understood about this song is after the broom finishes singing about “throwing off [its] chains of servitude,” why does it then immediately start sweeping?
L.K.: Because brooms don’t understand slave revolts. Also because it’s a broom, I mean, what else is it going to do?
A.S.: I dunno, live a life of some other fulfillment?
L.K.: This is another song I don’t really get the appeal of…
A.S.: Yeah, I’m not really sure how it caught on, other than I guess people like John Linnell singing to himself as an inanimate household object.
L.K.: Based on Linnell’s description of the songwriting process, it seems like another one of his penned-in-an-afternoon numbers, which as we’ve seen before frequently yields some pretty uninteresting stuff.
A.S.: Yep.  It first showed up as just something Linnell created to test out his new video camera and became the first of eight TMBG QuickCam videos that showed up on their website long before the days of YouTube.
L.K.: I think I would be ok with it if it hadn’t progressed beyond the silly Quickcam video stage. I mean, maybe kids like it, so I guess it could be on No! too. But why on earth has it been performed live so many times?
A.S.: It was performed an awful lot in the late ’90s, before they were doing kids albums.
L.K.: I could say similar things about songs like “Older” or “Violin”–they’re just incredibly simple gimmick tunes that don’t really hold up to repeated concert performances.
A.S.: I like “Older” – “Older” at least has a solid (if simple) melody behind it, and a pretty good rhythmic drive.
 But yeah, I’m inclined to agree, especially given the number of incredible songs that never make it to the stage.
L.K.: Yeah, I don’t think any of these are songs that anybody in the crowd would be really excited to hear, even if it were that person’s first concert.
A.S.: Unless you’re Rupert Grint.
L.K.: Yeah, what a weird… of ALL the TMBG songs to put on your featured celebrity playlist. It makes John Linnell’s featured iTunes playlist look normal by comparison.
A.S.: It’s like going to your friends and saying, “Hey, I love this band – they have a ton of interesting ideas and are really creative and inventive and melodically gifted and – look, he’s pretending to be a broom!”
L.K.: Well, I get the feeling if your favorite TMBG song is “I Am Not Your Broom” then you probably haven’t actually heard anything else by the band. Though I mean, if he’d at least heard the rest of the album, he could’ve at least picked something like “Four of Two”.
A.S.: Or “Sleepwalkers”. Oh wow, I’ve never seen this Linnell playlist before. That is a strange list.  You get ultra popular stuff like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” mixed in with album cuts from Tom Waits and Frank Black
L.K.: Hey. They’re songs he tried to resist!
A.S.: I was just signing “Midnight Train to Georgia” in the car on the way to Easter dinner.  Goddamn those backup vocals.  The syncopation is phenomenal. But I digress.
L.K.: Yeah, back to this damn broom song.
A.S.: Sorry one more thing, I’d just love to hear JL sing along to “Gay Bar”.
L.K.: Oh boy… You know, for me, the only redeeming feature of this song is that it’s another excuse for some classic ridiculous Flans improv as The Broom. In live performances of this song, the broom seems to be constructed specially for each show, and some of them have really terrifying faces.
A.S.: Yeah, I guess their mid-show improvisational segment has moved over to The Avatars, which if they’re an excuse for the Johns to write weird, new material, I’m all for that.
One Response to “#92 – “I Am Not Your Broom” (2002)”
  1. Nathan says:

    I remember seeing an animated video that suggested the sweeping was the sound of the broom leaving, since I guess a broom would make sweeping sounds wherever it went.

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