TV On The Radio - Dear Science
Published in 2008
First off, "Hey Jerk, where is 2009?"
The Best of 2009 #1 album was Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which I wrote about already. I could use this opportunity to do an actual album project about it, but that would be 1. too easy, and 2. I'm not going to. Shut up, you.
I actually am somewhat excited to see if out there in my fans there is someone who can explain why they like this album to me. I have some interesting (for me) ideas to share (at you) and I'd love to hear some others about this.
TV On The Radio is one of the bands that I have never really listened to, but I know a bunch about because of the AVClub. I use the AVClub to pass time at work, and to get my pop culture fix, so the things that they like, I know lots about, but the things that they are ambivalent towards, I am a bit hazier on. TV On The Radio is strictly in the former category.
It's somewhat hard for me to see why this was picked as the album of the year. Well, that's not strictly true. I totally understand that they love these guys over there, and with their way of picking winners, it is more likely to be something that they love than someone completely insane (except Kanye). So, I don't know if they collectively agreed that this was the best, or if they collectively enjoyed it, and it squeaked by.
This album is perfectly pleasant to listen to. It's actually a delight in how enjoyable it is, and how easy it is to get into. I've been listening to it for about an hour and a half now, and I am not tired of their sound. It's well made, well produced, and it just is solid in every place that it should be.
The vocals are incredible, the band is great, the songs are well written, and it's just fun to listen to. So why don't I like it more?
First off, I think that it is missing that hook that I need to get into it. Remember when Gnarles Barkley came out with Crazy, and everyone knew that song was amazing? I just do not hear that kind of song in this album. I can't put my finger on why that is, because they obviously are killing it in every other department, but there is just no song that I am unable to turn off.
Secondly, it's a little too easy for me to just drop in and drop out of listening. Over the course of this hour and a half, I have consciously found myself listening to it about 20 times, which is pretty damn low. I'm talking about those moments where you recognize that your focus is entirely on the music playing and not on anything else. Now, I am writing a blog while I am listening, which decreases my focus on the pure music, but usually, I hover somewhere near 45-60 for a good album and I have trouble writing when it is a great album.
Thirdly, it sounds a little ... flat? I guess. It sounds like there isn't a huge variation in the sound of the album, and without that depth, it is hard for me to get totally into it. I hear all of the individual parts somewhat washing together, which is unfortunate, because whenever I separate the parts out, it sounds amazing, but it takes a great deal of focus to separate them. The songs are amazing, but I can't hear the range of it, because it seems that the whole of the album is squished together behind the vocals.
Now, to be clear, I think you should hear this album, because I think it is very good. I just think it might not be my cup of tea. Also, I think there might be the Dreamtheater effect here, where not knowing where the band comes from and what kinds of songs they are striving for is getting in the way of my enjoyment. I just don't think this is anything other than an optional album.
Anyway, if there is anyone out there who would like to tell me why I am wrong, you can help Phil earn 5 bucks of my hard earned Korean Won, and if you have any album suggestions, you can throw them down in the comments.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."