Sunday, April 17, 2011
Explain it to me: TV on the Radio
For a long time, a number of friends who I respect have being trying to sway me onto the charms of TV on the Radio. Despite listening to all their albums multiple times, I still like exactly three songs and remain largely mystified as to what all the fuss is about.
Today, I gave their widely acclaimed new album a listen and by track 5, it felt like it had been playing for about six hours. While there are elements that I like (mainly Tunde Adebimpe's vocals, the horn stabs and some of the atmospherics), I'm still trying to wrap my head around what makes this band so special. As I sat there sighing and generally complaining/mumbling, I asked my girlfriend what I was missing. Her response, "You have to listen to Return to Cookie Mountain. The other albums are good but it's really Cookie Mountain that makes them special." So I gave it a listen. The result was I was bored.
As I listened to it, I had the following conversation:
JH: Is this good?
GF: Yeah, it's good isn't it! Wait. What?
JH: I asked 'is it good?' Not that it was good.
GF: It's great. You just have to get used to the vocals.
JH: I like the vocals, that's not the problem. It's like they keep piling random shit onto the track and seeing what sticks.
GF: (definitively, walking off) It's good.
As I said, I like those three songs (a whole lot in fact) but there seems to be some disconnect to me between the accolades the music receives and the music I'm listening to. I will persevere though as it sounds interesting and I want to like them, maybe I need to listen to it in the right context. Am I supposed to be stoned or something?
TV on the Radio. Anyone care to explain it to me what I'm missing?