This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #330: Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio.
One of the real joys for me in tackling this project has been the ability to do a deeper dive into the background of singers and bands that, previously, I had only known at a glance. Forcing myself to examine some of these artists with greater focus has helped me uncover several absolute gems! “TV on the Radio” ranks as one of the shiniest of them all.
“TV on the Radio” got together in NYC around the same time as Interpol, Yeah, Yeah Yeahs and The White Stripes did around the year 2000. This whole scene was borne as a response or an evolution on the earlier Punk and Grunge scenes and was coined as Post-Punk Revival by music critics. The music scene in NYC was very vibrant; the musicians all knew each other and often helped out on each other’s records. Together, they grew as a collective force, appearing together at Festivals and helping to generate lots of buzz for themselves and for other artists from their area.
“TV on the Radio” is fronted by Nigerian singer and actor, Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone (vocals/guitar), David Andrew Sitek (guitar/keyboards), Jaleel Bunton (drums). *Gerard Smith was a guitarist with the band until 2011, when he passed away from Lung Cancer. “TV on the Radio” have produced several albums, from which came many hits songs such as “Staring at the Sun”, “Young Liars”, “Dancing Choose” and “Wolf Like Me”. The band are known for the poetry-like lyrics they write, the amazing live performances they give and the intensity with which they perform. “TV on the Radio” are, generally, regarded as one of the best, if not the best, live band in the US since the year 2000. They are definitely rockers but, they infuse their songs with Blues/gospel-like fervour, exquisite musicianship and harmonizing that, not only works on a vocal level but, also, in the way they blend/amplify their voices with their instrumentation. All in all, the effect is phenomenal.
“TV on the Radio” have appeared on late night talk shows many times; especially, the NY-based ones, like David Letterman’s show, when it was still on. The video that you will see for “Wolf Like Me” is from an appearance on his show, where the audience is on their feet and completely into it and the band…well, they absolutely rip it up! This performance is, easily, one of the best live performances on television that I have seen.
The song, “Wolf Like Me” is about werewolves but, more to the point, it is about being powerless in the face of a transformative event and, in the end, kinda liking the effect, even if the transformation yields deadly results. Werewolves and vampires have always had an underlying sexual element to them, which is conveyed nicely in this powerful performance.
So, I will end this post by thanking you for encouraging me to pursue this project. Because of you, I have come to know bands like “TV on the Radio” much better and am the richer for having heard them. They are sensational. This performance of “Wolf Like Me” nearly blows the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theatre in NYC. Letterman is, obviously, a fan because he had them appear seven times as his musical guest. So, if it is good enough for Dave then, I hope it is good enough for you guys, too. Get ready for, arguably, the best live band in America, “TV on the Radio” with “Wolf Like Me”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio, can be found here.
The link to the official website for TV on the Radio, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP for providing such a platform for live music. The link to their website can be found here.