TV On The Radio - Mercy

TV On The Radio have been including new song “Mercy” in live sets for a little while now (we covered one iteration of the song back in May), and today, a studio version has emerged. The completed track is all sharp edges and buzzing guitars, flashing bright, bold colors against negative space. It’s much heavier than anything on TVOTR’s last album, 2011′s Nine Types Of Light, and that’s a welcome development to be sure. But it features Dave Sitek’s lush, multilayered sonics, too, especially as it builds to a climactic finish. Sounds pretty damn good to me. Listen for yourself.

Comments (47)
  1. holy sh*t, what a f*ckin jam!!!

  2. Was that a subtle little dig at Nine Types of Light? I thought that album was fan-fucking-tastic.

    • This track is badass though.

    • I like it too actually but I’m glad they’ve changed course, because going too much further in that direction would have really pushed them into some weird and not great adult contemporary space.

    • Nine Types of Light was a great listen. But the combination of slower songs and Gerard’s untimely passing, that album ended up being pretty heavy and not exactly an album I was rushing to listen to on repeat. It’d sort of bum me out y’know?

      THIS song, on the other hand, makes me want to get up and go nuts just like “Wolf Like Me” did six years ago.

  3. Does this mean theres a new album on the way?

  4. Holy crap, I just realized how much I miss these guys in the span of 3:17 seconds. That was some seriously good shit right there. Me want more.

  5. I was listening to Dear Science just yesterday thinking “Damn, I could really use some new TV On The Radio.

    Thanks universe.

  6. This is the only thing that I’ve listened to today since 2:10pm

  7. After their three incredible first albums, I have to say 9 Type of Light was something of a letdown. That it was released with a collection of music videos for each song didn’t help me shake the suspicion that not all their creative wheels were spinning in its writing. This track sounds like a great new direction for them.

    Incidentally, I saw their first show after Gerard’s passing and had expected them to pull off an incredible homage performance. Unfortunately, they seemed deflated and a little disorganized, which was a bummer since they’re normally a solid live unit. FWIW Kip seemed to be pouring out his soul the whole night, but that isn’t anything new.

    Looking forward to a new LP whenever it makes its way to our ears…

    • One last comment and maybe someone has some insight into this:

      For how well they play live, it seems like they always do the same damn set and it’s always at least 20 minutes short of me really feeling satisfied. For how good they are and how incredible their catalogue is, I’d expect them to really turn every performance into something unreal. Case in point, their headlining set at the ATP they curated:

      Puh-lease. Dudes can do so much better.

    • Well what the fuck did you expect? Gerard DIED. At only 34 years of age. And he went pretty quickly. I think you would be a little deflated and disorganized too if you lost your bandmate all of a sudden.

      • My apologies for the delayed response and also for sounding inconsiderate. One, I can take the blame for, the other requires some further explanation.

        I saw The Mars Volta days after Jeremy Michael Ward died. Yes, they were deflated and disorganized, but, rather than showing that, they went out and played the best set I’ve even seen of them (for some context I’ve seen TVOTR and TMV each 6 times, along with Sonic Youth, forming my 666 club).

        The only reason I would dare criticize tTVOTR on that night, is because during that set’s Televators, Cedric was practically crying. Kip brought it closest to that, with a searing rendition of Red Dress where he went totally apeshit on his guitar leads. But as a whole, I honestly thought they would really pull out something beyond what they normally present, an homage to Gerard wherein they just completely slayed it, and they didn’t.

        MHJ., I absolutely agree with your sentiment. I just think that, per your explanation, they could have stood a little more time off… a little more reorganization… a little more strength in their comeback.

        Also: at that time, they were only playing in their set 4-5 songs from 9TOL. I think that they could have incorporated more of the new material into the set (before and after Gerard’s passing) to present themselves as an act not beholden to their oft repeated live back-catalogue.

        I’m just trying to present myself as a legit TVOTR-obsessed fan. I love them and will continue to see them live and listen to everything they release, but I’m not going to withhold my opinions of their show that I think could be improved upon.

        Again, here’s to hoping the next album proves fruitful!

  8. “I’m seein tons of people lookin lost and lethal and I think we’re all the same.” TV On The Radio doing Broken Economy Rock – love it.

  9. Nine Types of Lights is the band’s pinnacle. Not the band’s most immediate album nor its most groundbreaking, but a perfect distillation of everything that makes them an essential band. It’s their best album, and TV On The Radio is one of the best bands in America today.

    • I’d wage that Dear Science was, but to each his own :)

      • personally, i think cookie mountain is their best, but the fact that there’s no clear consensus on what their best work is just shows how great of a band they are

        • In my opinion:

          Nine Types Of Light – Boring as all hell with maybe 2 consistently enjoyable tracks.

          Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes – Incredible. Awesomely experimental. Creates a world. Muddy sound. Like nothing I’d ever heard before.

          Dear Science – Overproduced/glossy feel, but crisp instrumentation. Some pretty good songs , and a ton of unexciting tracks. Well written and executed with fully formed ideas, just majority is bland or going in a direction I just didn’t like this one as much. Awkard/annoying melodies and I don’t think this band should use brass. This was a real let down for me actually.

          Return To Cookie Mountain – Perfect balance between DYBB and DS!! Muddy yet fully formed. Has their best stuff. One of my favorite albums.

          • Honestly lil wayne, that’s a fair encapsulation. I still would rate Dear Science a tad higher then how you view it, but Cookie Mountain is their masterpiece and all the ingredients that make them so inventive are in there. I didn’t dislike Nine Types of light either, but it was a bit too morose and plodding. This new single is like a great rebirth. REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEALY hope it’s not a tease and that they plan on dropping a record real soon.

          • True, I was a bit hard on Dear Science and Nine Types of Light. And likewise – this track got me puuuuumped, would be so sick to hear a fresh album!

    • Nine Types of Light*

  10. WOW!!!!! The first 10 seconds had me snagged and sucked in. A GREAT GREAT track from one of my favorite bands. They’ve go their mojo/energy back after the somewhat listless Nine Types of Light ( still a strong record). I REALLY hope they put out 9 more songs in this vein. This band is just such a welcome blast of fresh air. Don’t delay a full length guys!

  11. I may be a minority here, and it could be raw walkman-nostalgia but: am the only one who goes back to Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes the most frequently? I’m not even gonna try and argue it’s their best, but there’s something intangible and deeply rewarding about that record. The experience of it as a whole unified thing feels more natural and straight up enjoyable than anything else in their catalog for me.

    • I think Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes is TV On The Radio’s most “original” album, if not their best— even if it is deeply rewarding and wholly satisfying as any of its successors. That album may even be a great deal ahead of its time and could eventually be rediscovered as a classic.

      • “Dreams” and “Staring at the Sun” are outstanding singles and that’s what attracted to me to TVOTR in the first place. If the record breathed a little more and was a bit longer, I could rate it higher, but for a debut, it’s undeniably great. Most bands won’t even top the strength of that record with years of trying.

    • “Poppy” is still making me feel warm and fuzzy after all these years.

    • I love that album so much.

      I would agree that it’s not their best, but I revisit it often. It’s one of those albums that you can only make either ridiculously early in your career or ridiculously late in your career, because a song like “Ambulance”? A 7-minute closer that follows a 7-minute song called “Wear You Out”? That shit takes gumption to pull off — it takes a belief that you’re the best-in-the-world-and-ain’t-nobody-ever-gonna-do-it-better, and that’s the kind of thing that tends to get eroded with age, wisdom, and the day-to-day monotony of life.

      God, I love that album so much.

  12. This is the kind of energy I’ve come to expect and love from TVOTR. I was about to fall asleep when I pressed play but now I’m ready to run a marathon and/or save the world from an impending dystopian future. Fuckin’ A, right.

  13. I’ve never really listened/been interested to listen to a TOTR album, which one would people recommend?

    • Every single one of them is good. I think the easiest starting point would be “Return to Cookie Mountain” because it’s the best mix of their styles “Dear Science” and “Desperate Youth” are great but not as much of a mix of genres. “Nine Types of Light” was great but much more low-key than the others. The “Young Liars” EP is also great, just really short.

    • Might as well start from the beginning with “Young Liars”

      It’s short, but you get the extended version of “Staring at the Sun” (still one of their greatest songs) immediately after “Satellite” (a track that should make the above “Mercy” no surprise to anyone) then “Blind” (IMHO the greatest TV on the Radio track ever recorded) and finally the title track “Young Liars” (containing lyrics so impressive, you will have no other choice than to become a huge fan and check out the rest of their albums).

      Oh, and an a Capella cover of the Pixies “Mr. Grieves”

      I feel confident those five songs will pique your interest and lead you to any of their other albums. But if you start with their EP, you’ll be able to better understand the quality of every album they released after it.

  14. This song starts out awesome, and then gets continuously more awesome until you know they’re just showing off.

    Please come out with a full-length, TV On The Radio. We require more Vespene Gas.

  15. This song kicked ass yesterday, and it sounds even better today! I’d love to hear an entire album of balls out rockers! Welcome back

  16. It’s no secret to my friends and random internet people that TV on the Radio is my favorite band to ever band. I was 15 when I first heard “Staring at the Sun” and I was just getting into making music as art rather than whatever sheet music my jazz band instructor put in front of me. Shit changed my life. I met the woman I would eventually love with everything I had even to this day, and we bonded over stormy nights listening to “Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes” on repeat, and then “Return To Cookie Mountain” came out and became my favorite album ever since. I can remember going 30 over on summer nights in her fast-as-fuck BMW convertable and blaring “Wash The Day Away”. Good times, man.

    I could write forever about how much the guys in TVOTR mean to me, but I’ll just say the faint prospect of a new LP has my heart sweating.

  17. Mercy me this song is hot!

  18. Song of the year.
    Why can’t life always be this delicous

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