TV On The Radio Are Holding Out Hope

Sep 22nd, 2008 // 7 Comments

From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. After the jump, we look at the critical reaction to TV On The Radio’s new album, Dear Science, which comes out in the US tomorrow.

• “They’re the house band for a country that has no idea what’ll hit it next, and Dear Science is a jagged landscape of self-doubt, Bush-hate, and future-fear. And once in a while, you still get some of their optimism. Take the first single and the album’s fulcrum, ‘Golden Age,’ which ice skates to heaven on billowing horns, sweet swirling strings, a video that stars harmless dancing cops, and Malone’s falsetto. Malone has said it’s about ‘utopia.’ And he sings like he still believes in it. But he has nothing to back him up but the beat.” [Pitchfork]

• “The album’s sexually explicit closer, ‘Lover’s Day,’ is likewise unfit for underage ears, but it’s refreshingly unprecious about a well-trod subject. Amid a giddy cacophony of sounds—horns, choir… dude, are those jingle bells?—Malone howls triumphantly, ‘Yes here of course there are miracles/A lover that loves that’s one/Groomed with the laughter/Ecstatic disaster/Come let’s arouse the fun!’ TV on the Radio may still — and always — make capital-A art, but they’ve found something universal, even joyful, in the noise.” [EW]

• “This sort of self-consciousness keeps TV on the Radio honest, pushing them past easy sentiment and boilerplate pop. But the group is still determined to stage a revolution worth dancing to, a throwback to the days when New York artists like Patti Smith, Television and the Ramones set out to do the same. That sort of ambition is a tradition to be proud of.” [RS]

• “Tackling love and war, often within the same song, is all in a day’s work for TV on the Radio. However, the band’s take on these themes is subtly but notably more optimistic here, as though lightening their sound lightened their mood as well. ‘DLZ’ broods over ‘the long-winded blues of the never,’ but on the brilliantly funky ‘Golden Age,’ Adebimpe sings ‘there’s a golden age coming ’round’ without a trace of irony. Malone’s ‘Crying’ calls out the wrongs of the world but ends up just as hopeful as it is angry, while the pun in ‘Dancing Choose’’s title is pointed enough that the song almost doesn’t need to prove that dancing on your troubles is powerfully therapeutic as thoroughly as it does, but that’s just another example of this album’s rare balance between craft and passion. That comma at the title’s end seems naggingly open-ended at first, but it’s actually a perfect fit for Dear Science,’s openness to possibilities and positivity.” [Allmusic]

  1. Tauwan

    “‘Yes here of course there are miracles/A lover that loves that’s one/Groomed with the laughter/Ecstatic disaster/Come let’s arouse the fun!’”

    Anyone else get a “sing this as if you are in a traveling production of Robin Hood Men in Tights/Renaissance fair” vibe from these lyrics?

  2. RaptorAvatar

    @Tauwan: Christ, you could almost set that to a limerick as well.

  3. Tauwan


    I also can’t get the melody to the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song out of my head now.

  4. MayhemintheHood

    This album is awesome.

  5. Dick Laurent is dead.

    Really not understanding why people seem to like them so much. Not shite, but nothing remarkable either.

  6. Halfwit

    @Dick Laurent is dead.: DLZ… DLZ.

    This feels like the album that I thought would be coming after “New Health Rock”. I really REALLY didn’t like “Return to Cookie Mountain”, but this is the hotness.

  7. Tauwan

    @Halfwit: @Dick Laurent is dead.:

    I have never been a TVOTR fan [aside from Wolf Like Me of course], but this disc is pretty satisfying to the ears. And that’s my opinion after only listening to brief clips of each track.

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