(She Was A) Hotel Detective

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(She Was A) Hotel Detective
EP by They Might Be Giants
Released May 5, 1988 (1988-05-05)
Recorded Dubway Studio, New York City and Charles Eller Studio, Charlotte, VT
Genre Alternative rock
Length 11:01
Label Bar/None, Restless (US)
Rough Trade (EU)
Producer Bill Krauss
They Might Be Giants chronology
Don't Let's Start
(1987)
(She Was A) Hotel Detective
(1988)
Lincoln
(1988)
They Might Be Giants EP chronology
Don't Let's Start
(1987)
(She Was A) Hotel Detective
(1988)
They'll Need a Crane
(1989)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [1]

(She Was A) Hotel Detective is a song and EP by alternative rock band They Might Be Giants. It was released as an EP two years after the release of They Might Be Giants, the album on which it originally appeared. The "Hotel Detective" title has become a somewhat recurring theme for the band.

As in the single release of "Don't Let's Start", the version of the song on the Hotel Detective single is slightly different from the album version. In this case, a drum track fades in to open the song, and Linnell's saxophone is more prominent. Additionally, Peter Pearmain Thomson sings backing vocals, whereas on the album, the backing vocals are sung by John Flansburgh.[2]

The entire contents of the EP also appear on the compilation album Miscellaneous T. The track "Kiss Me, Son of God" went on to be re-recorded and released on the band's 1988 album, Lincoln. Neither the CD release nor the 12" release of the EP list the untitled track in their respective track listings. The track consists of a conversation recorded on Dial-A-Song's answering machine between a listener known only as "Gloria" and an unknown male.[3]

"Hotel Detective" series[edit]

The song "(She Was A) Hotel Detective", which was written by John Flansburgh, first appeared on They Might Be Giants, the band's debut album. It was later followed up by "She Was a Hotel Detective", which appeared on an EP, Back to Skull, released in 1994. The musically irrelevant sequel was written by John Linnell, "in the tradition of 'Peggy Sue Got Married' and 'Let's Twist Again'".[4] The lyrics to "She Was A Hotel Detective" (the sequel) include the phrase "motel directive", which is transcribed between the leadout grooves of the original Hotel Detective vinyl EP.

A second sequel, "(She Was A) Hotel Detective in the Future", was released on the band's podcast, and subsequently on a CD compilation of songs from the podcast, Cast Your Pod to the Wind. This final sequel was followed by a fake "commentary track" for the song, which was actually far longer than the song itself.[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" was directed by Adam Bernstein.[6] Some portions of the video show cartoons of the two Johns, animated by Joey Ahlbum.[7] The video is split between these animated segments and segments of John Flansburgh and John Linnell performing the song in a dark room in front of a large "ROCK MUSIC" sign. The video is intentionally over-indulgent, but John and John were unhappy with the final result.[7][8]

Joey Ahlbum's animated versions of John Linnell and John Flansburgh from the "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" music video were used in the first episode of the 1991 sitcom Clarissa Explains It All to illustrate the fact that Clarissa liked Linnell (referred to as "the John without the glasses"). The figures were also used by Bar/None on promotional postcards.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by They Might Be Giants.

CD track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" (single mix) 2:20
2. "Kiss Me, Son of God"   1:49
3. "For Science"   1:19
4. "The Biggest One"   1:22
5. "Mr. Klaw"   1:19
6. Untitled   2:33

12" track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" (single mix) 2:20
2. Untitled   2:33
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "For Science"   1:19
2. "Kiss Me, Son of God"   1:49
3. "The Biggest One"   1:22
4. "Mr. Klaw"   1:19

Personnel[edit]

They Might Be Giants
Additional musicians
  • Lt. Anne Moore – vocals
  • Peter Pearmain Thomson – backup vocals
Production
  • Al Houghton – engineer
  • Bill Krauss – producer
  • Mark Marek – cover art
  • Rita Zaitschek – cover production

References[edit]

  1. ^ (She Was A) Hotel Detective EP > Overview allmusic. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  2. ^ (She Was A) Hotel Detective EP liner notes, 1989.
  3. ^ Who is speaking in the song with no name? tmbg.org. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  4. ^ Flansburgh, John and John Linnell. "First Album Q&A". TMBG.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  5. ^ Flansburgh, John (13 March 2006). "Podcast 5A" (Podcast). They Might Be Giants. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  6. ^ IMDb page on Adam Bernstein. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  7. ^ a b Myke Weiskopf interview with Adam Bernstein, 1995. Archived here. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  8. ^ Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns), 2003 DVD special features.

External links[edit]