TV on the Radio
Nine Types of Light



by letsgofishing USER (33 Reviews)
April 6th, 2011 | 76 replies

Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Turns out they're lovers after the war too.

How different TV On The Radio have become. It’s hard to believe, listening to Nine Types Of Light, that we used to consider this band a “black Radiohead”. I swear, though, the assessment used to make sense. After an enigmatic debut, Tunde and the boys released, 'Return To Cookie Mountain', a highly electronic experimental breakthrough, which delved into high amounts of discordance with a devilish cock tease of melody. But of course, just like Radiohead, it’s hard to pigeonhole TV On The Radio into an individual sector. Because, guess what, five years and two albums later, TV On The Radio are back, and it’s no longer a cock-tease, it’s a full out sex marathon. The band has brought us through social-economical ranting, apocalyptic preaching, and masochistic musings, but in Nine Types of Light, they’re only looking to get you laid.

As it turns out, the bands last LP “Dear Science“ was more than a strong hint at the direction the band was heading, with its increased sense of harmony and its delectable off-kilter groove. But by comparison, that was just the first course, and Nine Types Of Light is the funky eruptive musical fondue. Songwriting has suddenly transformed into an informal affair. The maniacal, fuzzed out, dense, experimental statements are gone, and in their place are pop songs. And not just pop songs, completely unreserved and unashamed pop songs. Killer Crane is a sentimental indie lullaby that the band would have considered blasphemous just three years ago, its sugarcoated refrain paired with an almost erotic accompaniment of banjo. Repetition is a proud shot out to the Dream Warriors, which bursts onto the scene with such swagger; it can’t help but become some devilish anthem. The final song on the album, which previously would unquestionably be a 6-minute whirlwind of clashing guitars, is suddenly a joyous 3-minute tribute to the pixies, ending the album on an incredibly sudden and, dare I say, carbonated note.

It’s almost shocking the way in which TV On The Radio has transformed, but in hindsight at least there was a strong inkling of it in Dear Science. It’s in the album's themes where the biggest deviations are found. After all, TV On The Radio have made you sway before, and we all know “Dear Science’s” ‘Dancing Choose’ caused you to dance a jig, but when’s the last time this band caused you to stop everything you’re doing and incite an, “aww”. Tunde and Kyp pull out all the romantic stops, and we’re not talking cannibalistic romance like previous records, we’re talking pure, innocent, perhaps even hormonal love. Lyrics in 'Keep Your Heart' (I’m going to keep your heart, if the world falls apart, I’m going to keep your heart.) and 'You' ("I just thought you would like to know, you’re the only one I’ve ever loved”) wouldn’t sound out of place in a Taylor Swift album. Indeed TVOTR have never felt so fluffy before. You almost expect them to dive into a cover of Plain White T’s ‘Delilah’. Alas, It never comes, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it did. They might have been inciting protest in "Dear Science", but now they’re satisfied with their audiences buying a bouquet of roses, and perhaps a pink teddy, just to show her you care.

The aggressiveness from previous albums is still there; it’s just covered completely with love fuzz. 'No Future Shock' is perhaps the vocal performance of 2011 thus far, with Tunde whispering, semi-rapping, and yelping with conviction. And 'New Cannonball Run' finds the band at it’s most nostalgic and electrifying. For the most part, though, this album finds TV On The Radio in new territory. Old fans might be horrified initially at what they find here, but what they’ll soon discover is a band so comfortable in its new element that it’s contagious.

Despite watering down their trademark experimentation, the band has arguably never sounded better. TV On The Radio’s new format gives them a freedom they have never enjoyed before. Instead of being creatively debilitating, as one would fear, the transformation is a creative epiphany, the music now featuring a lighthearted dynamic that has never been found in the band’s past. In fact, despite being in a new environment, the band has never felt so comfortable nor have they ever felt as unified. Hell, if you didn’t know the bands history, you would think that they’ve been doing this for years. Simply put, the songs on Nine Types of Light bubble with such an optimistic energy and a passionate excitability that it’s hard not to finish the album without joyfully grinning from ear to ear.

Where the album really succeeds though, is the new sense of intimacy with the listener the band has gained. Where once the band seemed like a distant and dark affair, as if on a pulpit watching us from afar, now they’re practically dancing with you. In fact they’ve just installed a disco ball in your basement, along with a fog machine, a bar, and strobe lights (9 different types actually). If you look in the corner, you’ll find a love couch, because they’re looking to get it on, or at least talk about whom they got it on with, depending what sex you are.

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user ratings (353)
other reviews of this album
kingsoby1 EMERITUS (3.5)
While good enough to appease the appetite of most fans, something here is definitely missing...

robin EMERITUS (5)
love me love me, say that you love me....

rebel86 (4.5)
An eclectic journey of love, heartbreak, funk, and rock and roll....

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Streaming on Rhapsody as we speak. Or you can find the leak like I did a week ago :P

If you were wondering what's been inspiring all my sex talk recently..this album right here.

I swear I'm going to do a negative review sometime.

constructive criticism is appreciated

April 6th 2011


to me this review reads a lot more like a 3 or a 3.5 but it's still a good review nonetheless

April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ha Ha, what about funky eruptive musical fondue speaks a "3" to you?

thanks man

April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

so excited to finally listen to this tonight.

April 6th 2011


This was not the album that I wanted TVOTR to make but it's still good none the less, even if it's somewhat disappointing.

April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

I wanted another Dear Science, but I'll live with this. Will Do, Second Song, No Future Shock, and Repetition are all AMAZING, and the rest is great too. Just another awesome album.

April 6th 2011


Killer Crane has such a fantastic chorus. Really like this after two listens. Not sure how much as of yet, though

April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review. Highly enjoyable album.

April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, you really have to drop your preconceived notions when you listen to this . My response was the same as

Redsky my first couple of listens. But once you drop those notions, this really turns out to be one hell of a record.

April 6th 2011


too lazy to listen to this I don't care how good it sounds

April 6th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Good review. I don't like this record.

April 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

I think this record is outstanding. Just excellent throughout, with certain individual tracks absolutely killing it.

April 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

So groovyyyyyyyyyy

April 7th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

some excellent songs on here

April 7th 2011


didnt like this initially, but it grew on me - pretty great record

April 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

growing on me

April 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

I am really starting to dig this, will be enjoying my 4th 5th and maybe 6th listens today

April 7th 2011


Well, the reviews I've seen for this have convinced me to get it. It'll be my first TV on the Radio album.

Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2011


I'm a huge fan of the two albums that came right before Dear Science. I didn't quite enjoy the latter for unknown reasons, i will check this one out, though.

Digging: Fleurety - The White Death

April 7th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Last two albums were total classics, this seems like a slow fall to me. Couple great tracks but nothing to get carried away about for me.

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