By JoCo August 23, 2006

The time has come, my friends, for this:

You may have heard me talk about this in recent interviews. Here is the plan: when I get to song 52 of Thing a Week, I’m going to take a little song writing break of uncertain duration. Believe me, it’s for the best. On the plus side, all of these songs will be released on 4 CDs, in their original order and as they were first recorded. Crazy! I’m not even weeding out the bad songs! Who would do such a thing? Does Sting have the balls to do this? How about Aerosmith? Maybe Bruce Springsteen? No, no and no. None of these people have the balls.

And granted, if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already downloaded these songs for free, as is your privilege as a JoCo fan. But wait. There’s more. Liner notes by John Hodgman (I got him to do it free so I could pass the savings along to you). Plus, I can tell from your emails that some of you are not comfortable with this whole mp3 thing, and that you actually prefer to have high-quality, plastic copies of your music. Or maybe you want to give me as a gift to some friend or relative (you can’t put a bow on a download!). Or maybe you just want to own all four CDs so that you can prop them up in your trophy case and admire them for the important cultural artifact they represent. A song a week for a year (OK, so the mashup won’t make it on there for legal reasons, and yes, I took three weeks off, but still)!

The first batch of TAW One is winging its way to CDBaby even now, and should be available for purchase there within a week or so. TAW Two and Three are in the production hopper, and TAW Four is of course incomplete at this point. I will also have fresh, warm, juicy copies of TAW One with me at the Ardmore show this Saturday.

Dear Sting, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen: where are your balls?


Dave says

OK, I've downloaded the cover art. When will the liner notes be posted?

Eric Ginsberg says

HAHAHA, I love you, Dave. John, all I can say is "rock". Nay, "ROCK!"

Thank you,

Spiff says

And how do we get our hands on autographed copies of these CDs?

Zach says


Now I just have to figure out a way to get a lossless "Mandelbrot Set," given that I've already bought WTMT in mp3.

JoCo says

I'm afraid autographs can only really happen at shows right now - not sure there's any way for me to sell personally autographed CDs through CDBaby, and I just don't have the mailroom to get it done here.

Zach brings up an interesting point, even if he was joking. I do intend to offer individual lossless formats for sale in addition to the CDs eventually, just haven't had time to do it yet. There is probably a way for me to mine the database for the emails of people who purchased mp3s and send them download links for the lossless files once I have them ready. I kind of feel like that's the fair thing to do. That's right, isn't it? It's always bothered me a little how when CDs came out you just had to pay for all your music again.

Daniel K. says

As a guy who has lovingly podcast many of JoCo's tunes (as recently as CREEPY DOLL last week) I applaud the bold experiment of forcing out material for a year. I'm buyin' every one of those CDs, man.
As an optional extra for #4, you should include the Daily Show song about snakes.

Matt says

Good. You deserve a break. A year's worth of things, live performances, Hodgman's audio book, Hodgman's book tour plus finding time for friends and family. You did remember to breathe during all this, right?

Glenn says


What does that book say? I look forward to picking up an autpgraphed copy (or more than one copy) at Powell's.

Misty says

That pipe makes you look manly and smart.

Matt says

You know, when it's a soulless corporate clone that brings out a slightly improved version and makes me pay for it if I want it, I'm upset. But when it's good people (or people who give the illusion of being good and make me feel good with said illusion) I don't mind shelling out a few extra bucks for the actual CD.

For instance: I bought Hodgman's book in hardcover. Now he's releasing the paperback with added material. Also, the audio book which features new jokes and special apperances by some wierd guy with a guitar. Hodgman is either a nice guy or master illusionist. Either way, I don't mind adding to his sales by purchasing the new copy and somebody will get a hand-me-down copy since some of my friends are too cheap to purchase one. It balances out the universe.

Dennis says

And here I was beginning to think you always wore coonskin caps.

Jaychanning says

Long-time listener, first-time poster, here (well, okay, ever since February 2005, but in Internet Time that counts as the Paleolithic Era, right?) As a nigh-luddite who will be among the first against the wall when the robot apocalypse comes, I applaud your decision to release Thing A Week on hard-copy. I gotta get me some sweet, sweet TAW II when you get that far. Question is: Any chance there'll be space on the disc two for the Flickr movie? It so feels like the video version is the "official" one.

Also, dude does not NEED the pipe to look manly and smart.

Corey says

@ daniel K: yeah, the snake song would be a great addition, also, maybe you could include an uninterupted version of Big rock candy mountain that you did in that one podcast (but without the hodgman commentary ;) no offense to hodgman)

Spiff says

I just realized what's missing from the album cover -- elbow patches! Every sophisticated thespian needs elbow patches on their blazer. Someone grab the Photoshop and get that man some elbow patches, stat!

Len says

LOL! I love the album cover. It's like the follow up to the previous album, "I Am Sensitive."

Orkendark says

I second the elbow patches. Perhaps this can be corrected for disc 2.

Also, OMG NOW I CAN LISTEN TO IT IN MY CAR! It isn't just luddites who need hardcopy cd's these days.

That is all.

dirkk says

good choice.

Jay says

If Aerosmith is weeding out the bad songs, I wish they would do a better job of it.

Michael Meiser says

Please send me an email... or better put me on the mailing list.... and let me know as soon as it's up on CD baby... So I can give you a little podcast lovin' promotion. :)

Zach says

re: your lossless formats (all we want to do is eat your lossless formats)

That would be amazing. I may buy a CD copy of WTMT anyway because it's such a great record. But I'd love to have a lossless copy of Madelaine.

Bob says

> OK, so the mashup won’t make it on there for legal reasons

What about "Baby Got Back"? Or are you paying royalties on that?

Patrick M~ says

Whoa, the Signet edition of Catcher in the Rye with the James Avati illustration that Salinger disliked so much he switched publishers? Where'd you get that? That thing's worth, like, four bucks.

jpez says

w00t! Can't wait to buy all four!

Glenn says

Why stop at four?

That's a copy of Catcher in the Rye? I've seen Conspiracy Theory -- I know what that means!

JoCo says

Hey, why didn't anybody tell me I misspelled "Springsteen"?

Eric Ginsberg says

Dear Jonathan Coulton: I found the balls of Sting, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen. You'll never guess where. Sting's were on the mantle at Stewart Copeland's house, along with his old nose. Aerosmith's were mangled in Rick Ruben's ceptic tank. Apparently, when they did "Walk This Way" with Run DMC, Rubens ate their balls before showing them the contract. That man's a genius. And Bruce Springsteen's balls were, ironically, in the Navesink River. Go fig. We did that show, and they were right there, the whole time. No wonder the Navesink has been much cooler since Bruce sat down to write The Rising. He threw his balls in the river, first.

You're welcome,

Gle3nn says

will shopvac be the version with the solo or without? Also will Just As Long as Me have the fiddle part too or is there legal stuff in the way?

Gle3nn says

will shopvac be the version with the solo or without? Also will Just As Long as Me have the fiddle part too or is there legal stuff in the way?

Chris Radcliff says

Are those zombies off in the distance?

Oh, and this is totally what I'm giving everyone for the holidays this year. Any chance of one of those awesome box-set sleeves, maybe as part of the super-duper collector's edition With Additional Never-Before-Seen Content And Gag Reel?

Dave says

JC: I didn't want to appear like the obsessed Bruce fan that I really am.

MikeB says

You know, I thoroughly enjoyed JoCo's post above, as well as all the commentary that followed. You know a guy's good when those that surround him are good. If there was ever a JoCo Fan Club Summer Camp, it would be a blast.

Bryan says

You haven't seen anything yet. Wait 'til TAW 4...

Tee2 says

I'll really miss your Thing.
That sounds bad.....
Just saying.

Paul says

A little-known fact: Sting, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen actually all share the SAME set of balls. Which explains why they never tour together. But seriously, man, enjoy your break. Charge the batteries, cook up some new, wild ideas and I know we'll see more mind-blowing stuff. Elbow patches be damned.

Jerry says

Oh, man, is that REALLY the cover photo? Takes me back to "The Lettterman", or "Rick is 21".

a11en says

Yes! A pipe! Excellent! If you're ever in central IL (you'll know, because there will be cornfields in all directions for miles), we've gotta have a pipe together! [and not of wacky-to-baccy- i mean the real stuff- the evil killer tobacco! hahahha.]

Serious kudos for sporting the pipe! (if you smoke one, what type of blend to you prefer?)