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TV on the Radio “Return to Cookie Mountain” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

What is most unsettling about Return to Cookie Mountain is its originality. When considering how much music is released in any given year it becomes dumbing as to how much of it is uninspired or generally lacking any real unique qualities. With that, just as the weight of this crashes down with full substantive force, TV on the Radio gives us something to truly outrageous to feel happy about.

When it comes to understanding the basis for any number of notable poetic examples I often find myself feeling as though I’ve missed some sort of bigger picture. Not to say that I don’t relish any number of fine poets, but poetry’s success is something that is completely relative to the audience to which it finds itself accepted by. Taking a blatant musical reference (and one which some might say is…overrated) for example, Jim Morrison wouldn’t have made a damn bit of sense with much of his writing had it not been set to the landscape and time period it was. If it were accepted by a different group of societal outcasts, it may have become infamous for quite different reasons.

“The End” could’ve really been taken to some dangerous extremes had it been cast as the theme for some apocalyptic cult; just sayin’…

With that understanding, so too could TV on the Radio’s “Blues From Down Here” have been taken as an epic cry for fresh beginnings. “Pull the pin, drop it in, let it wash away your…” unleashes a trusting statement within the context of the song that challenges one to relinquish negative past feelings that consume your mind.

“Can you picture what will be, so limitless and free, desperately in need…of some strangers hand in a desperate land.” But to find meaning within Morrison’s words one had to know who he was, and likewise, one has to understand who TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe is. Therein lies the beauty and mystery of the album. Though the band has become popular on many fronts there isn’t an overwhelmingly notorious history that surrounds either Adebimpe or his band.

The music works because it serves as a mask for the underlying poetic influence that is given birth with the album. Without gravitating heavily towards love or hate, the album finds common ground in gracefully associating itself with its own confused inner feelings, and making them known. Return to Cookie Mountain is beautiful not simply because it comes at a time in which an album pushing musical boundaries is relevant for simply that cause, but also for the fact that its lyrical content serves as something universal. Or in this case, universally confusing.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]