Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

They Might Be Giants: Here Come the 123s [Disney Sound, 2008]
Chuck Berry once defined music as "just some mathematics and a few vibrations," which suggests why the 2008 installment of TMBG's preschool-ed series is more adult-friendly than the 2005 alphabet and 2009 science editions. These supreme technicians were made to devise songs about numbers, and although being clever is always their specialty, these arithmetic lessons give them the chance to be very clever indeed--suddenly 7-year-olds who've long since memorized "One Everything" or "Even Numbers" are going to figure out their deeper meanings and start dreaming in algebra. Other multitracks for the ages include "Zeroes," which "mean so much," "The Number Two," about connectedness, "Apartment Four," occupied by a drummer, and "Infinity," which doesn't go on forever though they could have pulled some out-groove trick just to be perverse. A-