From This Might Be A Wiki
Live studio video
Track artwork by Paul Sahre

song name Cloisonné
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Join Us (Four Advance Tracks), Join Us, Them Ain't Big Eye Ants, Idlewild, 50,000,000 They Might Be Giants Songs Can't Be Wrong
year 2011
first played July 20, 2011 (216 known performances)
run time 2:40
sung by John Flansburgh


  • Cloisonné is an ancient enameling technique used in decorating metalwork objects.
  • The horn arrangement for this song was done by Stan Harrison.
  • For this song, Linnell used his plastic Yamaha bass clarinet (model YCL-221ii), which "didn't cost too much and stood up to the punishment of the road better than a wooden one would."[1]
  • Flansburgh said of the song[2]:
The story behind the song Cloisonné is pretty discombobulated. In an experimental period of putting Join Us together we created a series of electronic beats entirely without song ideas behind them. The idea was to make the tiniest drum machine-based beats that were still exciting. I probably spent twelve hours just editing and tweaking these sounds with no particular song in mind. The lyric is kind of from a Rat Pack point of view—like the guy singing is really into his own swagger, but he's also kind of out of date and out of it. The idea of not knowing what a sleestak is does come from my real life—I am actually exactly a year too old to have watched that show. Having to have Land of the Lost explained to you is slightly undignified, but thus is the fate of those who get old.
  • Flansburgh added in an earlier Songfacts interview: "You know, I did not know what a Sleestak was until I met my wife, who does an imitation of a Sleestak, which is, I guess, a creature from a television program called Land of the Lost."[3]
  • This video is the first to feature the restored Mojo Chessmaster guitar since the demo of "Working Undercover For The Man" 11 years earlier.
  • The music video for this song features a different recording than the album version.

Song Themes

Animals, Body Parts, Counting, French, Friendship, Nonsense Words, Numbers, Occupations, Paranoia, People (Imaginary), Personification, Questions, Stories, Titles And Honorifics, Water, Windows


  • Watch it on Youtube.png - static video of Join Us version
  • Watch it on Youtube.png - in-studio music video
  • Watch it on Youtube.png - in-studio music video "in process"
  • Watch it on Vimeo.png (Live at The Pop Machine in Indianapolis)

Current Rating

You must be logged in to rate this. You can either login (if you have a userid) or create an account with us today.

Cloisonné is currently ranked #169 out of 1009. (165 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.83)