Sometimes artists say things like, “I know my old songs backwards and forwards,” but few can mean that quite as literally as They Might Be Giants. At a recent appearance on their Flood 30th anniversary tour, the absurdist rock outfit premiered a new song, “Stilloob”, which turned out be an old song, “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love”, played backwards note-for-note.
Fan footage captured this reversal in New Haven, CT on Thursday night. On its own, “Stilloob” is poppy but discordant, with shades of Animal Collective, and lyrics that sound garbled from another language. While TMBG didn’t explain to the audience what they were doing, John Linell and John Flansburgh ended the performance with some jerky moonwalking as a hint.
One Twitter user took the time to reverse “Stilloob”, and while the results don’t sound exactly like the original, it was close enough to agitate YouTube’s copyright bots. @MovingToTheSun wrote, “after reversing the video for YouTube, the copyright bots recognized the original song before I titled it.”
Check out “Stilloob” backwards and forwards, and listen to the original “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love”, below.
For the first time last night, @tmbg played a classic song of theirs, memorized and performed completely BACKWARDS.
Also mind-blowing: after reversing the video for YouTube, the copyright bots recognized the original song before I titled it.
— Jon Uleis (@MovingToTheSun) February 7, 2020