"Ana Ng" by They Might Be Giants, 1988

Friday, September 20, 2013

This song is particularly special to me for two reasons.

1) They Might Be Giants are distinct among bands that I like a lot, and not just because they're such freaky weirdos: I first liked them by seeing them live. When they toured in 1992 (I think) to promote Apollo 18, I had never heard them. Still, they came to SUNY Binghamton, where  I was a freshman, and lots of my friends were going. The show was right in the student union. Of course I went. And it was fantastic. I can't remember another time I went to see a band live whom I'd never seen or heard before and fell so thoroughly in love. I in particular loved this song, which had me (and everyone else) bouncing around the room like crazy people.

2) Like a lot of my favorite songs,"Ana Ng" is a perfect little self-contained story, though a weird one, I'll grant you. In this case, our narrator is in love with a woman who leaves clear on the other side of the planet, and he's never met her. Maybe they're pen pals, but I prefer to think it's some other kind of connection that is conceivably in the narrator's imagination. That idea, added with the lines "Who was at the Dupont Pavillion? Why was the bench still warm? Who had been there?" inspired me to take on perhaps the most challenging book idea I've ever had. I'll probably never finish it.