“Will Do,” the first single from TV On The Radio’s long-awaited fourth studio album, “Nine Types of Light,” is destined to be divisive. In essence, the band has hit that pivotal point in its career where its volume of fans has caught up with its critical accolades. In other words, we have heard most of the tricks TVOTR has up its sleeve. Now, the band has to find new ways to surprise us within the formula that made “Young Liars,” “Return to Cookie Mountain,” and “Dear, Science” so engaging. “Will Do” certainly captures the surprise portion of this equation; it is the engaging aspect that is lacking.
“Will Do” is a song destined for mix tapes (or iPod playlists) across the country. Its oddly romantic, yet less than straightforward lyrics will no doubt be the voice of many yearning kids seeking to impress via Tunde Andebimpe’s words rather than their own. In its own way, I suppose that makes “Will Do” a success. The problem is that the song is too “easy” – there is no challenge here. Contrast this track with “Return to Cookie Mountain’s” opening salvo, “I Was a Lover,” and the sonic difference is shocking. Whereas “I Was a Lover” accosted the listener, “Will Do” breezes by on little more than Andebimpe’s smooth vocals and Sitek’s increasingly suspect production.
Since “Young Liars,” TVOTR has sounded “different,” infusing oddball barbershop harmonies into noise-filled compositions. This simple, yet stunningly effective, group aesthetic is grossly absent from “Will Do,” which is basically an Andebimpe solo effort. This does not mean that the track is a failure, though – it will no doubt pop up on shuffle periodically and breeze by affably. For a band like TVOTR, though, that is a disappointing step backward.
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