Artist: TV on the Radio
Album: Dear Science
Comments: Taking a break from writing, I left my room and watched Law and Order with one of my roommates. As we watched Dick Wolf's latest tale of crime and punishment, I asked my friend for some guidance.
"Have you ever listened to TV on the Radio?"
"No," he replied. "I never have."
"I'm trying to review them right now, and it's giving me so much trouble that I've already written two separate reviews (this being the 3rd). I know that these songs are awesome. I should be in love with this band, but I just can't seem to get there."
His eyes never left the TV, but he gave me a very sound piece of advice. "Well then, it's not awesome."
This album is over a month old, and the odds of me bringing anything new to the discussion about this band are slim to none. By now, if you've got an interest in TV on the Radio, you've already bought this album and decided it was one of the best of the year.
You aren't wrong. Dear Science is full of catchy, sexy songs that do things to rock music no one has done since David Bowie. Tacks like "Halfway Home," "Golden Age," and "Red Dress" are fantastic works of rhythm, steeped with soul and feeling. "DLZ" and "Dancing Choose" are rock cuts that sound good here and will sound even better when the band tears into them live. The whole album is catchy, smart, fun, and brilliantly constructed. This should be my new favorite record.
And yet, it isn't. Maybe it's because of the production which feels fuzzed out and distant, or maybe it's because the songs seem to exist in a vacuum in which they are catchy, but only as long as the album is on. With the exception of a few tracks, Dear Science is a paradox, both brilliant and forgettable.
Of course this has to be a problem with me. Any sane person can hear this is their best album, and one of the best of the year, hands down. Its also worth mentioning that I had similar feelings about Return to Cookie Mountain, the bands last album, equally brilliant and forgettable. Maybe in a few more weeks I'll figure out what the problem is.
For now, Dear Science is an album that I'll put on and enjoy immensely from start to finish. The only trouble is that once it's over, I will have forgotten about it within minutes. Very good album, just not awesome.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Key Tracks: Halfway Home, Golden Age, Red Dress, Lover's Day
Buy, Steal or Skip: Buy