TV on the Radio
Seeds


3.0
good

Review

by Parabola USER (1 Reviews)
November 12th, 2014 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: TV on the Radio on Autopilot

Through four studio albums, TV on the Radio has found itself on the forefront of indie rock. TVOTR has merited its high praise, as the band has consistently delivered a style that is equally addicting and challenging to the listener. By their second studio album, the excellent Return to Cookie Mountain, the band was deftly juggling an array of sounds, from soulful to angsty, while maintaining a cohesive and dynamic listening experience. TV on the Radio’s breakout, 2008’s Dear Science, best embodied the band’s creative inertia. The album showcased funky and forward thinking arrangements that blended seamlessly with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s varied delivery, making transitions between tracks like “Crying” to “Dancing Choose” both jolting and immensely enjoyable. However, 2011’s Nine Types of Light seemed a slight regression from Dear Science, as the band replaced some of its fervent need for experimentation with a more laid back and warm sentimentalism. Ultimately, the band seemed content to create an album that was good but not great.

Three years after Nine Types of Light and the tragic death of long-time bassist and keyboardist Gerard Smith, TV on the Radio return with Seeds. While Seeds is TVOTR’s most poppy and accessible record to date, it also unfortunately sees the band taking another step back in creativity. Seeds is plagued by many of the same issues present on Nine Types of Light. Mainly, while the songs are pleasant enough, there seems to be some element missing -- some integral part of the formula that made the band’s earlier work so intriguing.

There are nevertheless many positives on the record. For starters, the production is slick and refined, weightlessly bouncing the album from one track to the next. The singles “Happy Idiot” and “Careful You” are undeniably catchy, pairing swirling synths and basslines with Tunde’s effortlessly smooth vocals. More energetic tracks like “Could You” and “Lazerray” are buoyant head bobbers from beginning to end. The former offers perhaps the most likeable TVOTR riff to date. On the track, Tunde begs,” Could you love somebody? Could you hold another’s care above your bright lights?” on top of a building brass section that whisks the song off with an infectious finale. The track could no doubt become a fan favorite, especially in the live setting where its energy can particularly take hold. The final tracks, "Trouble" and "Seeds" add a more reflective side of the album, showcasing the band’s tight composition and melodic prowess. The latter finishes with a beautiful outro that concludes the record on a hopeful note.

However, while there are plenty of enjoyable moments, there are an equal number that feel slightly dull. "Test Pilot" is a heavy and meandering ballad, made listenable only by Tunde’s delivery. “Love Stained” is a similarly ethereal slow burner that fails to hold attention over its runtime. “Ride” transitions from a dark and stormy intro to a loud bubbliness that makes the track feel like a strange Guster b-side. After the strong “Right Now,” “Winter” kicks off promisingly with a fuzzy guitar riff and Tunde’s mercurial shouting. However, even as it progressively adds layers of percussion, the track seems to go nowhere. Very one-note, “Winter” ultimately feels like an elongated intro for “Lazerray.” None of these aforementioned tracks are necessarily bad; they just seem to start and end without leaving much of a mark.

Lyrically, Tunde addresses many of the same themes from Nine Types of Light, tackling topics such as love and uncertainty. However, much like some of the music behind it, the album’s lyrics often seem disinterested. On “Careful You,” Tunde beckons, “Don’t know how I feel. What’s the deal? When’s it gonna go down?” Tunde has a lot of questions, but he doesn’t seem particularly intent on digging below the surface to find the answers.

No doubt the album starts and finishes strong. Unfortunately, the 2nd third includes tracks that are surprisingly tepid at times (especially considering the much stronger “Million Miles” and “Mercy” that were released over the past year). Even Tunde, whose vocals shine throughout, often cannot free the middle of the record from a dragging predictability. The loss of Gerard Smith was obviously a large blow to TVOTR’s dynamic rhythm section. While the band attempts to replace the tight, funky undercurrents with a more accessible and expansive sound, it seems that, for the first time in their career, Tunde and company do not have enough novel ideas to fill the void. Ultimately, Seeds sounds very much like a band that is content on autopilot. On “Trouble,” Tunde reassures, “Everything is gonna be okay!” And he’s right -- everything on the record is okay. However, when it comes to TV on the Radio, we’ve come to expect a lot more.


Recommended Tracks: Could You, Happy Idiot, Lazerray, Trouble, Seeds


user ratings (173)
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Slex
November 12th 2014


12261 Comments


Great review, pos'd. You should try to get it featured man. The first 2 tracks off of this, which is all i've heard so far, were unbelievably boring, so i don't have high expectations for this at all. It's such a shame, Dear Science is one of my favorites.

Digging: Magdalena Bay - Mercurial World

Parabola
November 12th 2014


78 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the kind words, man. How do I go about doing trying to get it featured? haha



Also, since it's my first review, i'd definitely welcome any constructive criticism from anyone.



Anyway, I agree about the album. From interviews, it seems the band purposefully went for a more accessible sound this

time around. Nothing wrong with that at its core. Unfortunately, the album just doesn't have that many surprises imo...





Slex
November 12th 2014


12261 Comments


I would say work on formatting, it's always a bit hard on the eyes to read a mixture of big and tiny paragraphs. Honestly, the only other error I saw was that 'baselines' should be bass, not base. And to get it featured I believe you have to find the thread in 'Community' and request for it to be featured, i'm not entirely sure as it's been a while since i've written a review and i've never been featured lol. You should definitely try though man!

Chrisjon89
November 14th 2014


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review. agree with this. was hoping for a song I enjoy as much as Will Do off their previous album.



like the last two tracks. i'll give it another try.

Parabola
November 14th 2014


78 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agree about the last two tracks. Also, "Could You" is one of my favorite TVOTR songs to date. Some solid pop cuts on this album but not much more.

Nrap
November 16th 2014


466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. Theres some songs i really enjoy and others that are kinda meh. Its not a bad album at all. Just not killer. I do actually kinda like Love Stained

HeavyMetalSnail
November 18th 2014


88 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, I have to say I share your thoughts. It's definitely missing something that made their last two albums so great (I didn't care much for Return to Cookie Mountain though). I disagree about some of the songs you chose for recommended tracks, I'm not the biggest fan of Trouble and Happy Idiot, though Lazerray, Could You, and Seeds are great. I have to disagree with you about Test Pilot, it kind of reminded me of a lost track off of Nine Types of Light, which I adored. Ride was also pretty solid, just the intro seemed disconnected from the rest of the song.



Overall, while I disagree with your opinions on individual songs, I agree with your assessment of the album as a whole.

Piztol
November 18th 2014


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review, tho I disagree.

Parabola
November 18th 2014


78 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interesting. From scanning some other reviews of the album, it seems that a lot of critics share a similar sentiment for the album as a whole but are consistently recommending different tracks.

johnnyblaze
November 19th 2014


3340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

solid review.



this album has been tough for me. i want to love it, but it just doesn't live up to expectation. i also disagree with you re. Test Pilot; it's my favourite slow burner on the album. and i actually do like most songs here, i just don't love them like i usually love tvotr songs.

JWT155
November 19th 2014


14793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Honestly, if you divorce your expectations of the album from your listening experience, this is an awesome and fun pop record.

RadicalEd
November 20th 2014


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed. Quartz, Careful You, Happy Idiot and Trouble are my favs right now. (also the last 20 seconds on

Could you are amazing) And tbh I think this album is maybe their most consistent effort. Almost every song

bounces between a 3 and 4 for me. Tbh i could see this growing into a 4.



It's hard to divorce expectations from your listening experience when you already heard what they are

capable off. Because they just don't reach some of the towering heights they achieved. ("Golden Age"

easily slays every track on this album) Obviously Gerard smith is a big loss especially for their funky

side. I wish they could merge the consistency on this album with the punch they had on "Dear Science" and

"Return to Cookie Mountain"



Review is good..

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2014


58172 Comments


keep reviewing

Digging: Penfold - Our First Taste of Escape

RadicalEd
November 28th 2014


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

tbh I think this is a grower.

johnnyblaze
November 28th 2014


3340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

some songs have definitely grown on me. Love Stained and Right Now come to mind.

Aids
December 4th 2014


24462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ok so this isn't as bad as I thought it'd be, it's actually pretty good, but it's definitely their weakest effort since OK Calculator

NorthernSkylark
December 16th 2014


11697 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

damn, think this is growing on me!

Digging: Ex:Re - Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble

hiyabootchie
December 26th 2014


418 Comments


It is a solid album some of their best vocal hooks. The problem is the drums. There really is no complexity to them at all which makes for the pop sounding record.

Skoop
June 9th 2015


2192 Comments


Underrated

Underflow
February 13th 2016


5029 Comments


This is a solid album from what I've heard so far.



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