Nine Types of Light marks TV on the Radio’s 5th album, if you count their self-released demo, which I do. It was released on April 11th, 2011 on Interscope. It is the last album to include long-time bassist, Gerard Smith, who passed away just over a week after its release.
I’ve noticed something both interesting and disappointing over my span as a TV on the Radio fan. The effect of the aforementioned “thing” I’ve noticed gets exponentially worse with every disc. Guess I’ll get right to it, every album sounds more and more like the album before it. TV on the Radio has been covering hardly any new ground in my ears. It’s so blatant, so noticeable to me that it’s a damn shame. The music is good, but I just can’t get past the familiarity of it all. If 2008’s Dear Science was a step in the right direction, which it was, then this album is a small step backwards. Listen to the two albums and tell me that Nine Types of Light doesn’t sound strikingly similar to Dear Science. I dare you. You can’t do it, because you’re not a liar. (I assume the best of my readers.)
Maybe I’m out of line here, and if you think so, please feel free to comment. However, I don’t think that I am. I can’t really even pick out any outstanding tracks on this one. Possibly “Killer Crane”? Possibly. It’s no surprise that I picked it. I always enjoy their slow burns, I think that’s where TV on the Radio truly shines. These songs are like buried treasures lodged in the middle of each album. See “Family Tree” on Dear Science, “Ambulance” on Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, and “A Method” on Return to Cookie Mountain. That being said, I also enjoy “Second Song”, the opening track in this instance.
To me, their music is like a drop of water dangling from the tip of a beautiful, two foot long icicle hanging from your garage. You stand there and stare in stark anticipation, waiting for the damn water to fall triumphantly to the ground like it is obviously destined to do, but it just sits there. It just fuckin’ sits there, all bulbous and still. Nine Types of Light is good music. Let that be written here. Good music, nothing fantastic, and fantastic is what potential demands from these guys. I remain a fan, if only a fan who is left wanting more.