Minimum Wage

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Minimum Wage
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Flood, Birdhouse In Your Soul (EP) [European 12" EP], Dial-A-Song, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants: Melody, Fidelity, Quantity, Flood + Apollo 18
year 1990
first played November 24, 2000 (185 known performances)
run time 0:47
sung by John Flansburgh


  • Roger Moutenot, who recorded and mixed much of Flood, provided the whipcrack sound. On the mechanics of the sound, Flansburgh tells, "The wind sound of the whip coming from Linnell's decaying Moog synthesizer, and the actual crack sound created by a wet towel snapped in the air and some creative miking from Roger. He was kind of revealing his inner-jock with that move" (Rolling Stone, 2009).
  • The song's musical track is largely based on Frank Sinatra's cover of the Petula Clark hit "Downtown." At times, the backing track is almost completely identical to the Sinatra recording arranged by Nelson Riddle.
  • The song's opening likely references the opening to the 1940s cowboy song "Mule Train," first made famous by Frankie Laine, which begins "Mule traaain, hyah hyah!"
  • Used by Jake Fogelnest as the theme to his short-lived MTV show, Squirt TV.
  • This is also in the first episode of 30 Days, in which host Morgan Spurlock and his fiancée live and work on a minimum wage salary.
  • Briefly featured in an episode of British comedy radio series On the Hour.
  • The minimum wage for U.S. workers at the time of this song's release was $3.35 an hour.

Song Themes

Album Lead-Ins, Aversion To Work, Money, Occupations, Problems With Liner Notes


Current Rating

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Minimum Wage is currently ranked #551 out of 1005. (121 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.11)