Tuesday Tune Two-Fer: Rock and Roll Hall of Presidents

Two tangentially-related tunes for Presidents Day

Look: there are a lot of Tuesdays in a year. They can’t all be winners.

This Monday was Presidents Day in the United States, a great reminder to Americans of how it’s an office of importance that should theoretically still be respectable. And how the whole idea of “anyone could grow up to be President of the United States” is supposed to be wholesome and aspirational, not an ominous warning of a terrible design flaw.

First this week is “Ana Ng” from the They Might Be Giants album Lincoln. It’s always unsettling watching old TMBG videos, because 1988 John Flansburgh looks eerily like 1988 me. (Or maybe vice versa).

I can’t choose a favorite song off of Lincoln, but it’s probably a toss-up between “Ana Ng” and “Mr. Me.” An edited version of the latter was used as the closing theme music for an animated cartoon block on a local station in Atlanta, so I kind of just assumed it came from somewhere in Cartoonland. It was a surprise to hear it years later, popping up out of nowhere on a CD I’d bought after getting really into Flood. But it tracks, seeing as how they’ve always been at least a little bit cartoon-adjacent, making weird music for nerds and the children of nerds.

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that Martha Wash’s last name is actually Wash? I always assumed she’d shortened it from “Washington,” but no. So that’s why you’re saved from having “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” as the second song this week.

Instead, it’s “Concrete and Clay,” my favorite song from the soundtrack to Rushmore. Consider it an upgrade; that’s like Washington and three whole other presidents. It’s nice to remember how impressive Rushmore was when it first came out; it seemed to come out of nowhere, full of self-confidence and a surprising amount of sincerity. Now I’m getting nostalgic for the late 1990s.