While TV on the Radio emerged from the depths of obscurity long ago, their Nov. 18 release Seeds finds them at their most accessible. Much of this can be contributed to a sound that is sanitary, with cleaner production than ever before.
When a group like TV on the Radio vies for more mainstream success, they often abandon the formula that made them admirable. Such is not necessarily the case on Seeds. Still, the album is relatively unremarkable in terms of TV on The Radio’s catalogue.
The songs on Seeds are tight, seamless, and flow easily into one another. However, there is something about the work as a whole that feels unsubstantial.
The lighthearted, catchy lead singles serve their purpose quite well. “Happy Idiot” will surely receive heavy radio playtime, and rightfully so. The song is smooth, well-constructed, and has a music video that features a racecar-driving Pee Wee Herman.
Uptempo tracks such as “Lazerray” capture the listener’s attention, but many of the other tracks blend together with insignificance.
Middle tracks “Test Pilot” and “Love Stained” are relatively useless to the overall feel of the album, and find the listener losing faith in the substantiality of the songs as a collection. In essence, the album starts and finishes with intrigue, but loses itself in the middle.
In Seeds, TV on the Radio have merely produced a solid album—not a great one. They have honed a great new sound, but without their trademark experimentalism, or a real sense of sentimentality.
While the production sounds great, without a bigger theme or message it is too light and airy. Simply put, Seeds does not have enough weight to it to stand out as one of TV on the Radio’s better albums.