Listening Booth: TV on the Radio, “Dear Science”

Written by Listening Booth, Music

Dear ScienceFrom time to time, the price bands pay for innovation is the inability of music writers to accurately capture what they’re doing. It’s a strange irony that the bands most worthy of being written up are those that are hardest to write about. A wise critic should avoid hyperbole, but with TV on the Radio, statements of grandeur are almost the only way to be honest. TV on the Radio are, without a doubt, one of the most forward-thinking groups currently creating music. They can do almost anything, really — even write this review!

See, sometimes in order to represent something in its truest form you have to use different mediums, speak different languages. So, to give TV on the Radio the type of review they deserve but rarely get, I’ve enlisted TV on the Radio … in lyric form.

TV on the Radio, “Halfway Home” (download)

From “Halfway Home”:
“Hard to see and harder still to say” — TV on the Radio are still a challenging band to describe on Dear Science.

“Collides with world and wilderness” — there’s something primitive and organic about their music, but it’s also very much a product of current times.

“Surfs the sun and scales the moon” — they’re ambitious.

“We’re closer now” — this is TV on the Radio’s third album (fourth if you count their demo), so we’re more used to them. Dear Science doesn’t feel quite as immediate and outlandish, but ultimately reaches the same grandiose heights as their other releases.

From “Crying”:
“Take this car: drive it straight into the wall / build it up from the floor” — representative of TV on the Radio’s creative approach, somewhat deconstructed, ignoring the vehicles of genre.

From “Dancing Choose”:
“Just keep your dancing shoes off mine” — there’s an angry yet celebratory attitude on Dear Science.

From “Stork & Owl”:
“Like the voice that cried on the lonesome tide / Like the wave was the only love it ever saw” — their voices sound as though they’re in love with every single word they sing.

“Hold its hands / It’ll feel like lightening” — Dear Science is electrifying, energizing.

From “Golden Age”:
“All you’re s’pposed to be / Let it move right in / Let it kiss your face / Let it sow your skin” — TV on the Radio seem to know what’s expected of them, and they embrace it.

TV on the Radio, “Family Tree” (download)

From “Family Tree”:
“Brought down by an old idea whose time has come” — too many reviews just compare TV on the Radio to other bands, which is something of an insult to a group this original.

From “Red Dress”:
“I’m scared to death that I’m living a life not worth dying for” — there’s a desperation in the lyrics of Dear Science, like the band is grasping for everything within reach, afraid of what’s coming.

From “DLZ”:
“Long winded blues of the never” — how to describe TV on the Radio in ten words or less.

From “Lover’s Day”:
“Yes here of course there are miracles” — it can be a little worrisome when a band is consistently so good that one almost begins waiting for them to drop off, but that hasn’t happened.

“I’m gonna keep you weak in the knees” — self-explanatory.

See? TV on the Radio can do anything!

Are they perfect? Well, the only drawback to Dear Science is that it takes a little more time to digest than Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, or Return to Cookie Mountain. But is that really a drawback? Depends on who’s listening.