Magazine article Colorlines Magazine

TV on the Radio

Magazine article Colorlines Magazine

TV on the Radio

Article excerpt

Dear Science

(Interscope/4AD)

A CURSORY LISTEN TO THE SINGLES from TV on the Radio's third full-length album (and second for major label juggernaut Interscope) might lead one to believe that the band had finally accepted the message sent by executives and A&R reps--huge critical successes are great, but they don't translate into units sold. And that eventually becomes an issue for the biggest players in an industry faced with a decade-long sales slump due in large part to huge leaps in consumer access to lighting-fast developments in recording and distribution technologies.

A more accurate take would be that TV on the Radio is meta-narrating the ascent of their career, making both literal and abstract commentary on the dynamics of attempting to innovate in the context of an industry desperate for the next "big thing," yet completely terrified of blowing apart the mechanism that's long guaranteed a return from a product appealing to the lowest common denominator.

If the dark, lush production of 2006's Return to Cookie Mountain shined the band's trademark walls of sound to a gloss that reflected and refracted the frustration, anger and darkness of the period onto itself, Dear Science would alternatively be flecked with Obama-esque hope. It's not exactly deliverance from the Bush administration quagmire of nihilistic cynicism, but it is cheeky, Parliament-Funkadelic-styled admonition to dance our way out of our constrictions, or at least through the end of the mortgage crisis and into a workable bankrutcy. …

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