Posts Tagged ‘Nine Types of Light’

Going To ’11: Albums of the Year

Best Cover Art of 2011?

At the start of the 2010, I made a goal for myself to read one book a week—a goal I ended up abandoning by, I believe, the end of January. (Do you realize how much reading that entails?) In 2011, I tried to keep it more manageable: I made a plan to listen to one new album per week. While I once again fell short of my attempted goal, this time I came a lot closer to completing it and, as a result, I ended up listening to far more new music this year than any year since high school.

You would think that this would make compiling a Best Of list easier, but it did not. Unlike last year, when my number one album was never in doubt, 2011 lacked a standout record. This is not to say there weren’t great albums released, but there were none that had the impact of The Suburbs, or This Is Happening. Over at The A.V. Club, Steven Hyden called this year “The year of no Important Albums,” and while I don’t really like the term “Important Album” (important to whom?), I pretty much agree: This was a year of a lot of Very Good albums, but few Great ones. Continue reading

Nine Types of Light: Review

Here’s a question I hadn’t really considered until just now: Does TV on the Radio constitute a supergroup? There’s some obvious evidence to the contrary, specifically that none of its members were famous before the band. And the term “supergroup” is so loaded that it shouldn’t be applied liberally. But all of its members have robust solo careers—since 2008’s Dear Science, Kyp Malone and Dave Sitek each released solo albums. Even more illustrative, though, is how each member seems to refer to the band in interviews: Malone, Sitek, and Tunde Adebimpe seem continuously shocked that they are still together, as if TV on the Radio were a side project that kept growing.

This week’s release of Nine Types of Light should make fans very happy that the band is still together. Despite the broad tastes and styles of the band’s members, TVOTR has developed a coherent sound that is uniquely its own, which its members would be unable to match without one another. Indeed, the band’s different sounds have blended together so well that I often can’t even tell who is singing on a particular song.

On past albums, the multitude of styles that TVOTR comprises has led to songs that tend to change on a dime—like “King Eternal”—or that tend to sound frenetic, like a lot of songs being played at once—like “Dancing Choose.” Nine Types of Light, on the other hand, has a more relaxed, deliberate sound. The differences are clear from the very beginning. “Second Song,” the first song on the album,* begins slowly, with just Adebimpe’s voice over a lone note, before adding a crisp, simple drumbeat. Of course, the song gets more complex than that, but it is essentially built around the vocal interplay between Adebimpe and Malone, creating a rather straightforward song. Continue reading