The Spine - They Might Be Giants
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: Now together over 20 years as a band, the duo of Johns (Linnel and Flansburgh) return with their 10th studio album (their first for adults in three years), reuniting with producer Pat Dillett (who worked on the pair's 1990 album 'Flood').
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. 82
    Each song on The Spine is characteristically intelligent, observant, and poppy as all hell. [#11, p.94]
  2. It goes a long way in showing how the band continues to be relevant, even vital, in a scene that chews up and spits out bands with ferocious speed.
  3. The Johns (Linnell and Flansburgh) are firing on all cylinders here, wrapping their suitably obscure and sometimes ethereal humor in the most capable songwriting of their careers.
  4. They might not be as manic and frantic... But The Spine rocks without any loss of wit or melody.
  5. Even if The Spine is decidedly uneven, it still has enough good songs to please diehard fans and keep them around for the next album.
  6. Alas, for all its genuine charm and the way the two Johns genre-hop without leaving footprints, The Spine lacks the spark of true greatness. [Aug 2004, p.119]
  7. Every now and again they hit on a promising musical idea, then ruin it.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. IS
    Jul 24, 2004
    love it. things rarely get any better
  2. brian
    Jul 27, 2004
    It is hard to say which TMBG album is the best, because it seems like everytime I pick one, I rediscover another and find something new I like about it. The Spine will undoubtedly be the same way. There are no truly great songs, in the vein of "Birdhouse", "Ana Ng" or "Dead", but from top to bottom the disc is very listenable and re-listenable. If I had to pick one "great" song Thunderbird is one alot of people may not appreciate. "Before you fall, you have to learn to crawl..You can't see heaven when you are standing tall.. to get the whole sky, on the ground you have to lie." That line and the entire song typifies TMBG's ironic songstyling. The song is also a very funny homage/lament about Thunderbird wine. As usual, most of the album is catchy, fun and infused with wit and humor only found in TMBG material. Expand
  3. WesleyM
    Apr 10, 2006
    Agreed with Chuckie Mustdie. A strong, consistent effort that brings us several of TMBG's best since John Henry.
  4. Morvit
    Jul 12, 2004
    This is definately not their best album, not it's not their worst either. It's sorta in between. They are trying out new patterns of music. It might not sound like other TMBG albums, but it's still petty good in my ear. Expand
  5. Sean
    Dec 7, 2005
    I thought it was awesome 'til I bought "Flood." Now I know better. It's still a-pretty-pretty-good. Ignore John M and that reviewer from The Guardian. Hell, "Birdhouse in Your Soul" was a top 10 hit in the UK (number 6 if I'm not mistaken), so I think he's one of the very few Brits who don't get TMBG. Expand
  6. MattS
    Aug 12, 2004
    The best CD the Johns have put out since John Henry, The Spine features some fantastic tracks that, I believe, will become classics.
  7. JasonF
    Jul 19, 2007
    Museum of Idiots is an excellent song but the rest of the album isn't up to their usual high standard. I really wanted to like this album, but ultimately I think the song writing on this one was weak. Expand

See all 13 User Reviews