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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Birdhouse in Your Soul"

They Might Be Giants - "Birdhouse in Your Soul" (1990)

The picture opposite him is a lighthouse!

This is a really fun song. Creative interesting lyrics, a trumpet solo by a klezmer musician, easy to follow counterpoint and a sing along chorus that everyone can learn by the end of the song. What's it about? The song is a point of view song sung by a plastic molded canary night-lite in a child's room. What's hard to understand about that? Kidding. I remember everyone talking about this song back in 1990 and there being quite a discussion. Of course, if you just read the lyrics off a lyric sheet it's pretty obvious. This was the band's breakthrough hit, coming before Istanbul and Particle Man showed up on Tiny Toon Adventures.

What's counterpoint you might ask? It's when in a song there are two voices (any instrument) that are harmonic but have totally different rhythms. The lines are the chorus /Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch/Who watches over you/Make a little birdhouse in your soul/ (Linnell)  and this second voice: /and while you're at it/Keep the nightlight on inside the/Birdhouse in your soul/ (id) They are sung separately and then later together.

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