They Might Be Giants

Birdhouse in Your Soul

Song Review by

Although their major-label sojourn ended in tears, the opening moments alone of 1990's "Birdhouse In Your Soul" prove that the added recording budget that came with the jump from tiny Bar/None Records to Elektra was well worth it. Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley's production, rather than smothering the song, brings out John Flansburgh and John Linnell's knack for dynamics and arrangement. The panoramic shifts back and forth from the quietly building verses into the instantly memorable singalong chorus would not sound nearly as impressive without the crystalline production. The song takes every advantage of the duo's increased financial resources, to the good. Lyrically, it's one of the group's finest efforts, a tune sung from the point of view of a nightlight that posits itself as the listener's guardian angel. Thanks to the inventive video, insanely catchy chorus and clever lyrics (initially obscure but easy to figure out, thereby making a generation of high school students pride themselves on their ability to "get" the song), "Birdhouse In Your Soul" was They Might Be Giants' breakthrough into the mainstream of early '90s alternative music.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Flood 1990 Elektra 3:20
Billboard Top Modern Rock Tracks 1990 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 3:18
No Image 1990 Elektra 3:15
On the Edge [Warner Brothers] 1992
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:15
Now: 1990 [1993] 1993
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI
Rock the First, Vol. 10 1996
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 3:20
Severe Tire Damage 1998 Restless Records 3:11
Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants 2002 Rhino 3:19
TBS Tunes: Fun Tracks, Wisecracks 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:18
Life is Music 2008
Various Artists
Studio Brussel / EMI 3:16
100 Hits: Mum 2010
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:19
No Image 2011
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 3:18
The Other Side of the 80's [Rhino] 2016
Various Artists
Alt Rock [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 3:20