Sunday Morning Music: TV On the Radio

Many songs were written to be played to a large crowd; this one sounds best in an empty room. “Killer Crane” is the musical fulcrum on TV On the Radio’s underrated album Nine Types of Light.  It is a beautiful and expansive, but never sprawling. Its sparse, patient instrumentation showcases the band’s restraint. That simple chord progression anchors the whole song, and it needs to, as the vocal lines dip and soar unexpectedly during the chorus.

It’s impossible to enjoy this song with your eyes on the clock; the listener moves from chronos to kairos. Sunlight filters through hanging vines, and one catches a glimpse of one’s lover through the swaying greenery. Yet listeners are challenged to appreciate not only communion with others, but also deliberate solitude, free of its false urgency and distractions: “Leave it behind / Your restless mind / Your jealousies / But isolation / Demands your patience.” Surely this is a message for 21st century Sabbath seekers.

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