Ah, Chumbawamba, 1997 was such a good year for you. You hit the top ten with a song that was little more than naming various drinks followed by mindless shouting. People were singing your song in bars and stadiums across the nation and the world; how tragically the fortunes have changed. “Tubthumping” is now listed on Rolling Stones‘ “20 Most Annoying Songs” and Chumbawamba became synonymous with “one-hit wonder” before the song even fell off the charts. Who could possibly resurrect your legacy?
How about the anti-one-hit wonders of They Might Be Giants. In business for close to 30 years now, they are well-known for their prolific output of great, catchy songs. Who else could take a wacky original and add wackiness to reinvigorate a song most people would rather forget? The folks at the A.V. Club assumed this song would be the last to be covered, but as John Linnell explains, of the songs remaining “it was the most familiar kind of music to us.” By cramming the recording space with as many staffers as possible to sing the chorus, the Johns highlight the most important part of this song: it was meant to be shouted with other people.
Lame lyrics aside, the power that came from this song for those few months everybody loved it (and you know you did). You could be battling your arch-nemesis, but if this song came on you would have to pause to sing along together, arms slung over each other’s shoulders. For three minutes TMBG capture that energy. Unfortunately, now those three minutes will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
They Might Be Giants – Tubthumping (Chumbawamba cover)
Check out more They Might Be Giants at their website.