The Bright Side

From This Might Be A Wiki
Music video for "The Bright Side"

song name The Bright Side
artist They Might Be Giants
releases I Like Fun, Dial-A-Song (2018)
year 2018
first played December 30, 2018 (1 known performance)
run time 2:29
sung by John Flansburgh; John Linnell backs


"The Bright Side" is essentially about growing up, growing older and the relentlessness nature of selective memory, although I think my interest is in how the selectiveness works more than the oddity of rose colored glasses. As folks notions of unlimited possibilities fade, I think about the things they reflect on either stay positive or just to go on. The second verse of the song quotes part of the poem "The Great Figure" by William Carlos Williams, which is a burst of pretty vivid writing ... (It's also one sentence which is an idea I love in a poem.) This poem inspired his contemporary Charles Demuth to paint "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold" which feels to me more directly about the idea of sense memory, with the 5s and the grey slashes of metal and buildings kind of telescoping toward you. It takes a lot of the impulses of Futurism and removes the technophile tendencies and make motion and evanescence feel very personal.
  • In a 2018 interview, John Flansburgh stated this song "is a pretty impressionistic reminiscence of folks I knew a long time ago."[1]
  • Literary references in the lyrics:
    • The lines "Among the rain / And lights I saw / The figure "5" in gold / On a red firetruck" are a direct reference to the poem "The Great Figure"[2] by William Carlos Williams and subsequent painting I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth.
    • The line "Backwards ran your sentences / Until reeled the mind" is a slightly modified quote from the writer Wolcott Gibbs, who was mocking the distinctive writing style of Time magazine and its penchant for placing the subjects of sentences after their predicates.[3]
  • The lines "Next what's fear / And silence in / Wait just all we'll then / Upside-down everything / Turning done you're when" form a coherent sentence when the word order is reversed (the previous line, "Backwards ran your sentences", provides a clue).
  • Video directed by Paul Sahre.

Song Themes

Backwards, Body Parts, Colors, Escape, Insects, Lies And Deception, Music, Oblique Cliches Or Idiom, Poetry, Sleep, Upside-Down, Water


  • Watch it on Youtube.png

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.

The Bright Side is currently ranked #554 out of 1009. (60 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.14)