The appeal of TV On the Radio is the seeming incongruity between their electrified funk sound and the English major complexity of their lyrics. Today’s song is yet another metaphor-rich track that begs for in-depth analysis.
‘Stork & Owl’ doesn’t have an easy groove like many of its counterparts. While most of the album is avant garde poetry that passes for dance music, this is avant garde poetry that sounds like exactly that.
“Who’s here because they saw this on The Shield??”
“Just heard this song in Justified and had to look it up!”
“Loved when this played at the end of House!”
It used to be considered selling out when a band gave its music to a TV show or commercial. These days it’s just smart marketing. And it works, based on the number of people who find their way from their TV sets to a YouTube clip of the song.
I took some birthday money and bought a bunch of new music right around this time last year. Actually, I even wrote a post about it… this one. Of the seven CDs I bought, two rose quickly to the top of the heap: Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad (the beginning of a beautiful friendship) and TV On the Radio’s Dear Science.
It feels like I wrote my review of TV On the Radio’s Dear Science just a couple of months back but checking the timestamp I see it was published on New Year’s Eve, 2008. Are we really halfway through 2009 already?
My opinion of the album hasn’t diminished a bit since then. It continues to feel like something brand new, a fresh blend of sounds and ideas with the funkiness of Prince and the lyrical ingenuity of Elvis Costello.
Ten Best Songs of 2008 – #4
This was probably my hardest pick in the top ten… not because I wasn’t sure if a TV on the Radio song would make it but because I couldn’t decide which one.
‘Family Tree’ was my first choice but then I decided to switch it up for a couple of reasons. First, it isn’t really representative of the album (Dear Science) as a whole. It’s far mellower than, and lacks the wonderful grooviness of, every other track on the CD. And it’s also a grower… I didn’t really “get” it the first two times I heard it, and I hesitated to put a song out there that might not grab people instantly.
Earlier this year I jumped on the My Morning Jacket bandwagon after ignoring the critical hype for a couple of years, and discovered that their latest album Evil Urges is one of the very best releases of the year.
Now it’s TV on the Radio’s turn. After seeing their Dear Science album on a heap of year-end top ten lists, owning the top spot in several, I broke down and bought the CD. The early verdict: Believe the hype. This is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard in years.