March 18, 2004

Test Spin: TV on the Radio

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Ultimately, rock music should be measured by its effectiveness. So in spite of the number of touchdown passes Donovan McNabb threw last season, TV on the Radio’s latest release Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is a failure. Not a miserable failure, but a failure nonetheless.

But I don’t mean to imply that the hype surrounding this latest release has colored my impressions. Sure, the band’s ecstatic debut, the Young Liars EP, did nothing to squelch burgeoning expectations for the band. It’ll definitely take awhile to wash all of this semen off.

Appropriately then, a large part of the record is about sex. But it doesn’t involve the mysteries of the birds and bees any more than the scorecard of your latest round of minigolf. The liner notes have images resembling abstract interpretations of the egg fertilization process, testicles line the highways, and Metallica’s Load casts its foul specter over the album’s artistic atmospherics: “Your mouth is open wide / the lover is inside.”

Basically, this record is hella creepy. Granted, we’ve all watched our secret crush give oral sex –that’s not it. It’s the narrator’s overdramatic romanticism, his unreciprocated feelings, his constant observations, his insistence: hey you, yeah you: “Let me make you mine mine mine / Let me make you mine mine mine.”

Archived article by Walter Chen