• Record Label: Zoe
  • Release Date: Jul 13, 2004
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic 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. 60
    Nothing on The Spine drills into your cerebral cortex and demands to be whistled on public transport like earlier hits, but the tunes are agreeable enough. [Aug 2004, p.99]
  5. 60
    Too often... their ideas are dead ends. [Aug 2004, p.140]
  6. Another solid addition to the Giants' catalogue, but as with their last few records, it doesn't seem likey they put their back into it. [#7]
  7. 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.
  8. They might not be as manic and frantic... But The Spine rocks without any loss of wit or melody.
  9. 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]
  10. Not a bad album, yet contains too many mediocre tracks to be comforting.
  11. At least 40 per cent of 'The Spine' is really rather charming. [3 Jul 2004, p.65]
  12. For most of The Spine, They Might Be Giants hammers its quirks into predictable shapes, mistaking catchy for listenable ("Prevenge"), layering on effects to bolster the dull ("Bastard Wants To Hit Me"), and generally delivering what's expected.
  13. "It's Kickin' In" sounds like Linnell doing karaoke over a failed garage rock single, and most of the rest sounds like, well, Fountains of Wayne.
  14. Every now and again they hit on a promising musical idea, then ruin it.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. JasonF
    Jul 19, 2007
    2
    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 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. Full Review »
  2. WesleyM
    Apr 10, 2006
    9
    Agreed with Chuckie Mustdie. A strong, consistent effort that brings us several of TMBG's best since John Henry.
  3. Sean
    Dec 7, 2005
    8
    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 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. Full Review »