So, this was supposed to be one of the last posts of 2017. I wanted to get it done, and move in to the new year with resolve to stay on schedule and write some truly wonderful things. As it stands, this post is now a week late, and is the third post of 2018. Once again, the best laid plans are thwarted. But I’m making up for it. I’m catching up, and hopefully you’ll get all of the fun from a week whose artist I haven’t even announced but already moved on from. But first, let’s talk about TV on the Radio.
I remember hearing Wolf Like Me on the radio when it came out. I thought it was a good song, but it didn’t grab me at the time. I was focused on other bands at the time, and I was in a rare “no time for new people” kind of mood. But I kept hearing about TV on the Radio for the next few years, and at some point just after Nine Types of Light came out, I finally decided to check out what all the hubbub was about. I don’t know what I expected, probably something like My Morning Jacket or The Gaslight Anthem or any of the other bands that hit big around the same time that I didn’t pay any attention to. What I got was different. What I got was some weird genre-mix of styles that was greater than the sum of its parts. I acquired all of their albums up through Nine Types of Light, then ended up buying Seeds within a week of release.
How do I define TV on the Radio? They are rock. you can’t debate their ability to rock on tracks like Lazerray or Staring at the Sun. But they are also soul, as you can hear when listening to Family Tree. They have an electronic side, evident in Careful You. They have funk, like in Red Dress, but can also croon out a ballad like Tonight. I can’t pick out a genre that they are more than any other. What are they? They are music. They are the heart of it, and the mind of it, reaching out in different directions as the mood takes them. They refuse definition, and as a result become an example of so many styles done well.
I am never unhappy with TV on the Radio. They are a “no skip” band, because I have never had a moment where I didn’t want to listen to TV on the Radio. They don’t yet have a lot of memories associated with them, I’ve only been seriously listening to them for about five years as opposed to the decades I’ve listened to some other bands on this list. But they have made an impact. More than that, they are a promise for the future.
As I get older, bands that were once so important to me fall away, and others take their place. I don’t listen to the amount of Pearl Jam I used to, and White Zombie has fallen out of my desired rotation quite a bit since the turn of the century. But other bands will replace them. Other artists will fill that vacuum, and they will be there for the next forty (or however many I have left) years. So TV on the Radio, even though not tied to as many memories as someone like Spacehog or Toadies, has more potential for future memories. They are my way of looking forward, and that’s not something I do easily. But I have hope, and I look forward to the next chapter with bands like this as other bands will inevitably fall by the wayside.