The verdict is out: TV On The Radio sucked on Saturday Night Live. The acclaimed critics’ darlings, the band whose last Brooklyn show caused The New York Times to boast it was “complete ownership of its sound,” the band fresh off a 28-date tour, the band whose sound design is so pristine that it made even Scarlett Johansson wanted to cuddle up with a buncha Billyburg beardos. Yeah, they sucked. Just like Ashlee Simpson, and Kanye, and Fleet Foxes, and Taylor Swift. And, I’m no R. Buckminster Fuller but, is there a pattern here? Maybe since the pattern is “music bloggers passionately taking about how they never miss an episode of Saturday Night Live,” and NBC would have to be pretty short-sighted to actually do anything about the musical performances’ lousy sound quality instead of just basking in the free publicity. Thanks for taking the bait, suckers! Here’s a video of Andy Samberg on a boat!
Compare the version of “Dancing Choose” played on Saturday Night Live with the version played on last night’s Colbert Report.
I’m no sound nerd, but you can tell that the Colbert track was actually mixed to sound like a band, not a collection of errant noises that happen to appear in a room together.
—It is almost as if the sound guy on Colbert has heard this band before and knows that an intrinsic part of their sound is post-4AD sound mush. That the goal is not putting Tunde screaming over the entire mix like Kelly Clarkson.
—The handclaps actually sound like handclaps not like Fred Armisen adding an armpit squeak sound effect and grinning.
—Kyp’s guitar is a warm effect, not a jet engine. Also it sounds tuned!
—The saxophone is not pushing the entire mix into the red. And sounds like a saxophone, not Toonces driving off a cliff directly into the indie rock blogosphere where people are completely livid that this would happen for the 1,000th time this year.
Stop taking the bait, you clowns. Saturday Night Live knows people were watching last weekend’s episode for the cute guy in He’s Not That Into You, not for the band that gets mad shout-outs from [MUSIC BLOG NAME REDACTED]. So how does SNL get extra free press from music bloggers? By making those bands’ performances worthy of comment from the snarky post-Gawker cyberworld, where you don’t get mad traffic for “Oh, Spoon was just so darn good on Letterman! I wanna cuddle Britt Daniel in a Snuggie!” You get traffic for “The sound on SNL was so bad that I hope everyone in 30 Rockefeller gets a hand-engraved envelope full of anthrax and syphilis and farts.”
So, keep up the good work bloggers! You’re doing everything possible to make sure that when your dream comes true and Wavves inevitably performs on the Studio 8H stage, it’ll sound like Jefferson Starship.