They Might Be Giants' awesome new kids' CD: HERE COMES SCIENCE!

I am thoroughly smitten with the new They Might Be Giants kids' album, Here Comes Science, which ships with a charming DVD of videos and supplementary material. In the best traditions of awesome educational kids music -- Schoolhouse Rock, the Animaniacs, Electric Company -- Here Comes Science combines top-notch pop music with humor that's aimed at both kids and adults (I once heard the creators of Sesame Street discuss how the inclusion of humor targeted at adults meant that grownups were more likely to watch with the kids, and thus be on hand to answer questions and discuss the material; this should be gospel for everyone who makes media for kids). And, of course, the material is great. Better than great. Perfect. This is the album They Might Be Giants was put on Earth to record: they are genuine science nerds, and it shows.

For Here Comes Science contains a broad, inclusive and thought-provoking tour through science in all its facets. Songs like "Science is Real" (which explains how scientific beliefs are different from beliefs in unicorns and other beliefs formed without rigorous testing) and "Put It To the Test" (possibly the best kids' song ever written about falsifiablity in hypothesis formation) cover the basics, the big Philosophy of Science questions.

Then there's songs for all the major disciplines: "Meet the Elements," "I am a Paleontologist" (also delving into the joys of a science career), "My Brother the Ape," "How Many Planets," and the diptych formed by "Why Does the Sun Shine?" (stars considered as superheated gas) and "Why Does the Sun Really Shine?" (stars considered as superheated plasma) -- these last two are a brilliant look into how different paradigms have different practical and theoretical uses. "Photosynthesis," "Cells" "Speed and Velocity" -- you get the picture.

Finally, there's some jaunty little numbers about technology: "Computer Assisted Design," and "Electric Car" and one genuinely silly and delightful track, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space)." (I haven't enjoyed an "in outer space" reworking of a beloved classic so much since "Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space").

These songs definitely address themselves to an older audience than the last two TMBG kids' discs, Here Come the 123s and Here Come the ABCs, but if you've got kids who started with these two, they're certainly ready to move up to Here Comes Science. And even if you don't, I defy you not to rock out to this excellent disc.

Here Comes Science on Amazon

Here Comes Science on They Might Be Giants' site


  1. TMBG have consistently churned out excellence for kids and adults alike. Don’t forget the “No!” CD for more awesomesauce for the whole family. =D

  2. I agree.

    It’s also a fantastic album for your budding young rationalist.

    I was enthused at its unabashed swipes at religion and those who insist that children shouldn’t test ideas that their parents tell them.

    The Johns clearly haven’t gotten the message that we must all be nice to religion, and religion and science aren’t in conflict at all. As they say

    “I like the stories
    About angels, unicorns and elves
    Now I like the stories
    As much as anybody else
    But when I’m seeking knowledge
    Either simple or abstract
    The facts are with science
    The facts are with science”

    I’m overjoyed at the hard rocking anthem “I am a Paleontologist”, which I think captures the sheer joy of loving what you are doing, when you are doing something awesome.

  3. Fantastic

    “possibly the best kids’ song ever written about falsifiablity in hypothesis formation”

    This is a small niche, though. What is the 2nd best kid’s song ever written about falsifiability in hypthesis formation??


  4. When you watch this video, thank a science teqcher.

    In this case, that would be Messrs Scott, Arnold, and Maciel; Ms. Patton and Bailey, and others whom I cannot remember from the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School faculty of the early ’70s.

  5. “I was enthused at its unabashed swipes at religion and those who insist that children shouldn’t test ideas that their parents tell them. The Johns clearly haven’t gotten the message that we must all be nice to religion, and religion and science aren’t in conflict at all.”

    I’m a big fan of TMBG and I applaud the work they’ve done for kids. As with our science classrooms, however, I wish they would have kept out any reference to religion. Kids have been dragged into the ugly debate enough as it is. Allow them to enjoy science on its own.

  6. My friends recorded a track called “Heavy Metal” about a decade ago in their basement. It was just them reading out metal characteristic over overly-distorted guitars tuned down a few steps. Quite hilarious, although not as catchy as this stuff!!

  7. I love TMBG but have thus far avoided their children’s stuff. I have no kids nor know none to gift with such.

    Still, this sounds pretty good. :)

  8. Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School faculty of the early ’70s

    Ashland HS in the early 70s for me. Howdy, neighbor.

  9. I’m buying this just for myself. No kids in the house at the moment, but a whole science-themed TMBG album? I’m there.

  10. Cory:
    I’d love to get this for my little brother but my mom is a “bornie”. Born-Again Christian, for you Phillistines out there. :)
    Is this going to totally piss her off? Or is it vague enough to get by her Jesus monitor?

  11. #17 I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet but I’d be very surprised if the album has any overt references to religion. A. it’s just not TMBG’s style, and B. Their children’s albums are put out by Disney, who would be unlikely to allow it in any case.

  12. I first heard the Sun song in third grade; our music teacher had a LP of space songs and played it one day.

    That was around 1971.

  13. I didn’t know this was coming out when my daughter and I recorded this version of us covering “Why Does The Sun Shine?”.

    #20, yes, the original is from a record called “Space Songs”. TMBG released their cover on an EP by the same name in 1994.

  14. I am a TMBG fan and have bought most of their albums in the last 20 years.
    “Here comes science” which arrived today in the mail doesn’t play in either of my ordinary (B&O, Sanyo) DVD-Players, also not on my usual CD-player program on my computer.
    The CD dos not bear the CD logo and is clearly not a red book CD but crippled by some copy protection scheme.
    Bravo Disney!
    I was able to rip the audio and burn it on a CD that plays in my players, however I could have avoided the hassle and download the tracks from the net for free which is probably how I’ll get the next one.

  15. Nice work, TMBG! It’s great that a well-known group can introduce educational music to so many people.

    My company (Rhythm, Rhyme, Results) produces educational rap & pop songs in math, science, language arts, social studies, and more. If you like this album, you’ll probably like our science stuff. It just won a 2009 Parents’ Choice Award.

    Robbie Mitchell
    Rhythm, Rhyme, Results

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