April Review: Dear Science

30 04 2009


Dear Science

Dear Science


So some of you might know that I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with rock music from the 90s.  And sometimes it’s hard for me to get over that music and give modern rock the credit it deserves.  Well, this month I discovered that TV on the Radio is a perfect example of what’s great about modern rock!  I loved every second of their album Dear Science.

Beginning with the very first track, they hooked me.  What’s evident from the very start is that the percussion/rhythm is unique and is a major part of what makes this album so catchy and memorable.  And every song that follows confirms what you suspected after listening to only the first song.  Every song promises a beat that grabs you and pulls you into the song in a way not many songs can do.

Another thing that is immediately evident is the vocal skill of the band.  Solid vocals all around, from high falsettos in many songs to some surprisingly pleasant bass in the song Family Tree.  I was impressed.

I was sitting contemplating what else about this album made it so enjoyable and I decided that it’s because Dear Science makes excellent use of dynamics and instrumentation to guide their songs from start to climactic finish.  Every musician tries to do that but there’s something about TVOTR’s efforts here that stand out to me.  In many of their songs they make it seem like it’s a departure from the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus pattern.  I’m probably not doing well at explaining myself here, but I know that Dear Science took its songs seriously and produced some high quality music as a result.

Overall, a great album!  Songs like Dancing Choose, Golden Age, Halfway Home and DLZ continue to get a lot of attention on my music players.  I could listen to the beginning of Red Dress over and over, just cause I want to yell along with it.

High points of the album are the great rhythm and beats, catchy melodies, skillful instrumentation and song construction which, all together, makes for some very unique and memorable songs.

Low points are few but I will mention this, some of the slower tempo songs, while still beautifully showcasing the musical talent of TVOTR, I felt detracted from the upbeat feel of the album that was introduced by its first song and that I felt should have made up a better portion of the album.  But that’s just a selfish desire of mine.

Great album!  4.5 stars out of 5.




One response

30 04 2009

For the first two months of the Album Club, I have absolutely loved the featured albums. And when I read on Peter’s blog that although he liked the albums, he didn’t love them, I was always a little disappointed. I wonder if Peter will feel the same way when he reads this review.

So yeah, in case my last paragraph was not clear enough, I liked TV on the Radio’s Dear Science, but I didn’t love it. The interesting thing about this, though, is that I have had a devil of a time trying to figure out what exactly it is that I don’t love about Dear Science. I mean, on paper, it seems like the kind of album that I would love: its intelligent, its songs are all good, it uses a wide range of instruments, one of the lead singers sounds exactly like David Bowie, and it has received rave reviews. Sure, I know that I really shouldn’t be swayed by reviews, but lets face it: I read music reviews and they do affect my perception of the albums they discuss. But I guess not entirely, since I am not as much in love with Dear Science as so many music critics seem to be.

But getting back to the album: I actually really like pretty much every song on the disc, but every time I tried to listen to the entire album in succession, I tend to get board half-way through, and start to wish it was still March so that I could listen to Bruce Peninsula instead. But yeah, I can’t really figure out what is turning me off. Um, maybe the horns (although I like other bands with horns). Maybe its a little to jazzy for me. Maybe its too slick and over-produced.

All this is not to say I didn’t like the album – I did, but I just didn’t love it. In conclusion, Dear Science is a great addition to my iPod playlist, but its not enough to hold my attention for its entire length. My favourite songs of the collection (besides Golden Age, which is a given) are Dancing Choose and Red Dress: I love the way TOTR tackle serious social and political issues through songs about dancing (and, of course, I like dancing to them).

Sorry for the somewhat shorter album club post, but I’m in the middle of studying for final exams – my last ever! – and I don’t have too much free time.

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