"A lot of bands have something to say," explains TV On The Radioproducer/multi-instrumentalist David Sitek. "We have something to ask."
When I first heard Golden Age, off TVotR's Dear Science,album, I felt like it was the anthem to Election2008 ~ a nation at 'a twilight consciousness', stumbling out of the past 8 Bush Years, blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel, hoping it's not actually a train heading straight for us ~ as the song warns, "Like the sun spitting happiness into the hereafter ~ Oh here it comes like a natural disaster."
Apparently, I'm not the only one who felt this way. Nik Dirga over at BlogCritic, writes: "They're still a band that thrives on tension, but this is also a pitch for global audiences. I don't know if TV On The Radio set out to create the soundtrack to the Bush years, but the push-and-pull of anxiety I get from their albums makes as good a background music as any. Acidic asides on the state of the nation — "I'm scared to death that I'm living a life not worth dying for," goes a line in "Red Dress" — blend with very personal dramas. TV on the Radio are nervous, but their fears make for some unforgettable sounds."
Jon Pareles adds: "There’s still a deep streak of dread on the new album. Its title, “Dear Science,” includes the comma because it was the salutation of a letter Mr. Sitek posted on the studio wall while the band was working on the album. Mr. Adebimpe said it was written “in a kind of kid’s handwriting on yellow notebook paper.” The letter was addressed to Science itself, demanding that it “fix all the things you’re talking about” or shut up." Yup, that about sums up my feelings ~
I could go on and on trying to find the perfect permutation of adjectives to describe TVotR's music ~ moody-soulful-music-layered-under-heavy-elegiacal-lyrics meets heavy-afrobeat-rhythms-with-flowing-orchestral-sounds in a dark, smoky jazz club, they dance and talk all night, drink some 1970's David Bowie with chasers of Purple Rain and Thriller, fall in love and end the night with a bang ~ ~ ~ "bells, timpani, marching drumbeats, saxophone, flutes, husky vocals and a guest appearance from Katrina Ford of Celebration." But I'm not very good at expressing myself so you will have to listen to them for yourself, and see them on tour if you can.
A high-rise apartment building is going up next door to Mr. Sitek’s studio. “They build one skyscraper, and skyscrapers get lonely,” Mr. Sitek said in his three-pack-a-day rasp, lighting up in the alley alongside his favorite Williamsburg club, Zebulon. “So then they call their friends and more skyscrapers come, and they throw a party. And the next thing you know there’s a skyscraper blogging about the skyscraper scene in Williamsburg.”
Early on, TV on the Radio benefited from the talent-spotting and reputation-building of the indie-rock blogosphere. But eventually the band felt typecast. “I’m done with cool,” Mr. Malone said. “I’ve been done with cool for years.”