Hands up if you remember Dial-a-song. You don’t? Man, those were the good days. Even if you don’t remember them, now’s the time to re-live them on your iPhone. Like it’s an old phone. A dial-a-song phone.
Dial-a-song was an idea by crazy pop protagonists They Might Be Giants. You could dial up a phone line and you’d get a random They Might Be Giants song played at you. That was it.
(A note to younger readers: this was before iTunes, Rdio and Spotify. This was before the web that made them all happen. Before pretty much everything you know, love and cherish was even thought of. Hush now, and listen.)
What was it for? It wasn’t for anything very important. The band – mostly named John – wanted people to hear their songs, and as noted above, even internet piracy hadn’t been invented yet. People couldn’t steal songs without getting their hands on a record or a cassette first. So the Johns just gave them away over the phone.
They were way ahead of their time.
Anyway fast forward a few decades and here we have a They Might Be Giants app, and to all intents and purposes, it’s Dial-a-song in modern guise. They’re still mostly named John. They’re still giving away their songs, just in a different way.
What’s so fun about this app is, well, pretty much everything. It’s an app made out of felt and stitching. Seriously. Look at it. The whole thing has been hand crafted, photographed, and turned into an app. It looks like a cassette, the kind people used to kill music with by home taping their music. Those bad, bad people.
The buttons are – get this: buttons. Fantastic. Actual buttons that have been sewn on to the felted background. Buttons for buttons. Ingenious. So very like John. And John.
There are two reasons why you might want to own this free app:
- You are a dedicated TMBG fan and feel obliged to own everything they create and love the idea of listening to a random song of theirs at any time, even though you already have their entire back catalogue on your iPhone;
- You have no idea who TMBG are and wish to discover the delights of their back catalogue without spending any money
- You are Particle Man.
Wait, that’s three reasons.
This app is also worth owning because of this feature:
No, I don’t know what it is either. I just don’t know.
- Source App Store