Never Knew Love

From This Might Be A Wiki
Artwork by Paul Sahre

song name Never Knew Love
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Join Us (Four Advance Tracks), Join Us
year 2011
first played July 15, 2011 (17 known performances)
run time 2:54
sung by John Linnell and John Flansburgh


  • John Flansburgh on the song in a 2011 interview: "'Never Knew Love' is actually an optimistic song. The full title would be 'Never Knew Love Like This Before,' that's pretty upbeat."
    He later elaborated on why the title was chosen: "We were kind of painted in to a corner on the title. There was a huge soul hit called 'Never Knew Love Like This Before'. Now our title makes it seem a lot less optimistic than the song really is... Sometimes it seems like all the titles are taken!"
  • Flansburgh elaborated further in a 2011 SongFacts interview:
That's a collabo that John and I put together. I think the idea was to put together something that was split. Kind of the meat of the song is this very simple slow unwinding chorus with the phrase "never knew love like this before," and it's very pretty and kind of dreamy in an electronic kind of way. And then the verses are these raging rock moments and very dense with words and very dense with ideas. It's a lot of crazy, compressed thought in the verses. So it's like any kind of musical duet where the roles are really divvied up, like the part that I sing is very rapid fire. And I can't even explain the point of view in the lyrics, which is coming from a very odd place. But it is on the topic of new love, but it just makes it much more mysterious a topic than new love really is. I mean, the first verse is all about how it sort of makes love seem like it's mountain climbing or something, that it's like this crazy adventure that you might not survive. But that's the story with They Might Be Giants, making the clear and obvious difficult and incomprehensible.
There's a song, for example, where I had a chorus and verse, and I didn't like the verse, so I erased the vocals on the verse and gave the whole thing to Mr. Flansburgh, and he cooked up a completely different melody and lyric for that section. That's the one where one of us sings the chorus and the other sings the verse. That worked, I thought. That’s the song "Never Knew Love."

Song Themes

Fire, Geography, Love, Love Gone Sour, Questions, Sleep, Traded Tracks


Current Rating

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Never Knew Love is currently ranked #484 out of 1009. (98 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.29)