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Many will argue that the real highlight of TV on the Radio’s Dear Science is “Golden Age,” a song that offers a very unique, dual-sided analysis of the modern world. I will certainly recognize the excellence of this song (as I have already), but I feel that the real gem on the record is “Dancing Choose.”
The first hook set on the listener is the handclap. While the vocals speed ahead, there are a few instances of clapping that just pop right through and grab your attention. From here, the smooth guitar (like that seen in Radiohead’s “15 Step”) chimes in and continues until the first chorus. Here, the stunning vocals combine and lay down an unnerving and excellent lyric, calling out “in my mind I’m drowning butterflies, broken dreams and alibis; that’s fine.”
After a brief moment for reflection, the song becomes amazing. Saxophones jump in and the noise goes wild, filling out some of the empty space initially observed. The whole thing is very danceable as the chaos works around the relentless rhythm. Then, as if remembering the stunning power involved, the band revisits the chorus with the noise in tow. The whole thing is stunning as the butterfly image is revisited under a more chaotic guise. In a slight glance with rage, the song ends on a strange comment when the band notes, “just keep your dancing shoes off mine.” Then, the instruments carry on for a bit longer as the saxophones bring the song to a close.
“Dancing Choose” is an amazing and difficult song. The precise meaning is tough to read, but the mild anger of the music is very clear. Even without the complete translation, it is readily clear that the music and singing are impressive. TV on the Radio knows how to gain attention (the handclaps and guitar), then further hold your attention (the chaos of noise) and ensure your continued listening by offering a strange narrative. These men are masters of their craft, and this song is a testament to their excellence.