Don’t Let’s Start
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful
I still remember the day vividly—sitting in my bedroom on the top floor of a two-story house, tucked away in a cul-de-sac near Spanaway, Washington. It was a Sunday afternoon, and my radio was tuned to 107.7 The End, Seattle’s Alternative Rock station. For the first time ever, They Might Be Giants (TMBG), my favorite band, was being broadcast through my speakers, not because I had inserted a cassette but because everyone listening to this station was hearing them too. It was a moment that felt much larger than myself or the song being played. It was "Don't Let's Start."
A Little Background
Though I didn't know it at the time, "Don't Let's Start" was a hit in the college radio scene and even had some late-night MTV airtime. To me, it signified that people would finally know about this band I adored, expanding my circle of TMBG conversations beyond just my best friend. The striking reality, however, was that I still didn't encounter anyone who seemed to know about them. With the Internet really not a thing yet, TMBG remained my little secret, a niche passion that somehow made it even more special. Once every year or so, I would get to hear them appear on my favorite radio station between songs like “Friday, I’m In Love” or “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” They were in good company.
The words I’m saying now mean nothing more than “meow” to an animal.
This song holds a sacred space in my heart- er, my ears. My ear heart-ears. It was the first TMBG track I tried to master on the guitar. My older cousin, a professional guitar player and instructor, praised the song's "Duane Eddy surf riff," a feature that adds a layer of coolness to its charm.
🎶Bweedle eedle eedle eet, bweedle eedle eedle eet, beow beow beow beow bow.🎶
You really have to hear it to get it.
Evolution of Interpretation
As a young listener, I would cheerfully sing along, captivated by what I thought were fun, whimsical lyrics without giving close attention to the meanings of the words being sung. Fast-forward to adulthood, and the lyrics resonate in a profoundly different way. Losing someone to suicide, teen parenthood, the deaths of more family members, a dissolved marriage, surviving a house fire—they all imbued the song with a new level of meaning, transforming it into a poetic commentary on life's harsh realities.
Lyrics That Speak Volumes
No one in the world ever gets what they want
And that is beautiful
Everybody dies frustrated and sad
and that is beautiful
I don't want to live in this world anymore
I don't want to live in this world
Depressed days have found me hyperfocused on that phrase in an almost scary way sometimes, if I’m being candid. As a person who has seen the trail of agony left in the wake of someone who ended their own life, I can’t go down that road. It is off the table completely. The loss I experienced in many ways prevented me from going down that same road. I’m okay now. I’m good.
"Don't Let's Start" isn't just a song; it's a lifetime companion that has been with me through thick and thin. I look forward to the countless replays it will get for the rest of my days on Earth.
Do you remember your first experience with this song? Share your thoughts, stories, and feelings by leaving a comment or emailing me at email@example.com. Let’s create a supportive community around TMBG.