Here Come the 123's, the numerically inclined sequel to They Might Be Giants' winning CD/DVD set Here Come the ABC's, presents more fun and unexpected ways to learn from John Flansburgh and John Linnell. The album begins in mathematically precise fashion, starting with the bouncy bossa nova of "Zeroes" before hitting one through ten and then onto fancier numbers like 12 and infinity. "One Everything"'s funky rock is one of TMBG's typical brain-twisters, a little bit zen ("there's only one everything") and a little bit urgent ("please clean your room/we share the same omniverse"). Many of the other songs are just as fun, but feel more like standard kid's fare than Here Come the ABC's did, and need to be experienced on the DVD for their full, quirky impact. That said, story songs like "Triops Has Three Eyes" and "One Dozen Monkeys," and movement songs such as "Ooh La! Ooh La!" are never less than adorable. However, as Here Come the 123's' numbers get higher, the album builds momentum. After getting basics like "Ten Mississippi" out of the way, on songs like "Nonagon," the Johns get down to the kind of smart kookiness and purposeful silliness that fans of all ages have come to expect. Seven gets two songs: "Seven Days a Week" is an anti-reveille full of laziness and trumpets, and is a singalong favorite in the making. "Seven," meanwhile, imagines a world where number sevens can ring the doorbell and hang out for awhile eating cake. "Nine Bowls of Soup"'s bowl-balancing ichthyosaur makes that song a standout too, and things get literally loopy on "Figure Eight"'s action-packed, figure-skating rock, and on "Infinity," a tribute to eight's sideways sibling. Even if it's not quite as brilliantly clever as Here Come the ABC's, Here Come the 123's never talks, or sings, down to its audience.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2