Explore the whimsy and wonder of 'The Day' by They Might Be Giants, a journey of misheard lyrics and the joy of music.
"The Day Marvin Gaye and Phil Ochs got married
the trees all waved their giant arms
and happiness bled
from every street corner
and biplanes bombed
with fluffy pillows"
- “The Day,” lyrics by They Might Be Giants
My brain has inexplicably clung to these lyrics over milestone dates or important medical diagnoses I have received in my life. Without hearing it regularly - not annually even - if you put on “The Day” by They Might Be Giants, I will sing out and belt every word from memory. There aren’t many words so this is not really a feat to behold.
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Full disclosure, for a very long time, I was certain that the boys were singing “Marvin Gaye and Phyllis got married” on account that I never knew who Pil Ochs was. I still don’t, but a few years ago, I found myself reading some posts on a TMBG message board and came across this topic. Turns out, I had it wrong (yet again) and apparently, Phil Ochs and Marvin Gaye are married in this song and not some other stranger named Phyllis. Sorry, I hope you found your companion Phyllis because it isn’t Marvin Gaye.
I love this song.
It’s a beautiful poem sung like a ballad repeating the first stanza with gusto. I dare anyone to find something more enjoyable to release your inner vocalist while driving than this track right here.
The most exciting part for me is the brief respite we get between verses. The silent pause after “Pillows” and “The Day” builds up with a billowing of three accordion chords. Acchordsians. Shout-singing “and happiness bled” is an automatic serotonin source. If you have not yet heard this song, I implore you to do so right now. I’ll wait:
Well? What did you think? Tell me you didn’t want to sing along and I’ll call you a liar but still stay subscribed, please. I care about you. Honestly, what are your thoughts about this track? Whenever it comes on it feels like we’re closing the chapter on their first album but wait - there’s one more. . .