TV On The Radio - Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

TV On The Radio

Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes (2004)

Touch and Go

I bought this CD based on recommendations. For about a week I had heard from a lot of friends about how good it is. I'd also seen a lot of hype in different magazines and in record stores. So I bought it. And I listened to the first three tracks. And I put it in my stack. And I didn't think about it for a few days, reveling in my other purchases.

It's not that I didn't like it. In fact, "The Wrong Way" and "Staring at the Sun" (despite sharing song names with Sublime and U2) had me fairly hooked. Both featured upbeat loops with simple and heavily distorted bass-lines. The thing is, with "Dreams" the tempo slows a bit and the mood of the entire CD shifts to "chill music." I wasn't ready for it. So I put it away for awhile.

When I picked it back up, I was ready to give it another shot. And I'm so glad I did. What truly grabbed me was the acapella song "Ambulance." It was not so much the music that grabbed me, but the sheer power of the vocals delivered by Tunde Adebimpe's distinctively gorgeous voice. When the chorus hit with enough harmonies to encompass a small choir, I soon found myself singing along with "I will be your accident if you will be my ambulance/I will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast/I will be your one more time if you will be my one last chance/Oh fall for me." I was hooked and instantly in love.

To really describe TV On The Radio's sound, it's necessary to understand that they're only a three piece band. The music is composed of bass, guitar, loops, and multiple vocal harmonies that usually feature a kick-ass falsetto (yeah, I know, that sounds like an oxymoron). Two tracks feature real drums, but they're played in a way that is undistinguishable from the loops. Two other tracks feature flute and bari/alto saxophone. Overall, it's great music to listen to while laying back and absorbing it completely.

I realize that this isn't going to be music that everyone on this website is going to enjoy. It's not punk, and some fool is going to whine about that. And the fact that I said that it's not punk and that somebody is going to whine about it is going to make someone whine about it trying to sound witty. Trust me: you won't sound witty. I honestly don't think that print can do this band justice. The only reason why this CD isn't getting a 10 is because there are some tracks that just don't match up to the others. Still worth the buy. This band has lived up to it's hype.

Staring at the Sun (Young Liars EP version)
Staring at the Sun video