Weekly Download Vol. II No. 24

Will Do by TV on the Radio.  This track is from TVoTR’s new album Nine Types of Light released this week.  It was anticipated greatly.   Their last two albums Return to Cookie Mountain (2006) and Dear Science (2008) were very much enjoyed by me for their general genre bending awesomeness (N.B. thoughts on why I slipped into the passive voice those last two sentences?).  Plus, the band is from Brooklyn and has a great United Nations’ look (and not in a casting call Black-eyed Peas kind of way) that makes me proud to be an American.

This album is very much more chilled out and happier than their prior albums.  Not that the prior two were angry, there were just some dark themes and some dense music.  But ultimately they came off as hopeful (may we all one day compose and sing a song, write a book, film a movie or even brew a beer described as hopeful.) Nine Types of Light appears to have broken from the darker parts of the previous albums (I guess as reflected in the title.  Although I can’t find anything particularly ominous about Return to Cookie Mountain.) From what I’ve read, this appears to be not unrelated to (sighs) the band’s move from Brooklyn to L.A. for recording.  Mostly, I think this is bullshit.  I’ve been to both places and L.A. is far, far more depressing in a this what America did with prolly its most beautiful place way.   It certainly sounds (and I believe this to be correct) like an album made by a group of producers.  I can see all five of these guys in the studio nodding their heads to freshly laid beats but at the same time constantly thinking “what if we added (insert esoteric music production trick you and I don’t understand) here. It would kill.”

Most describe TVoTR and I guess their trend toward producing one upsmanship as “art-rock.” Well….that just seems really boring to me, given the passion and density in a many of their tracks. (N.B. I’m sitting at my desk at home and anticipating what I’m about to write (that is picturing myself saying it outloud to you in bar (always in a bar)) and hoping for your reaction to it so I can have an independent assessment of its worth while at the same time actually feeling like a whiney hipster.)  I think we’ve reach the point where labeling music genres should cease.  I think there should just be two broad categories.  My problem is that I can’t decide what they should be.  Initially I though it was (1) music played on corporate owned radio stations v. (2) everything else.  But then I heard some Bowie smashed between The Eagles and Magic Carpet Ride at lunch yesterday and realized that was a little obtuse.  Then I thought it was (1) might be sung by a contestant of AmericanIdolsHaveTalenedXFactor v. (2) “excuse me? you want me to sing what? talk to my manager.” But then that just seemed more of an ad hominem attack.  So finally I landed on (1) Is or might one day be a WD v. (2) Never will.  And that, my friends, is as close to a clinical diagnosis of egocentrism, you’ll ever get to saddle me with.  Enjoy.

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