Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. It's that very rare thing: a totally fresh--and utterly engaging--sound. [Listen 2 This supplement, Mar 2004, p.12]
  2. 90
    Majestic, glorious and not like much else you've ever heard before.... A strong contender for Album of the Year. [Mar 2004, p.107]
  3. While it's not perfect -- occasionally the album's heady, indulgent feel tends to make it drag -- Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is still an impressive expansion of TV on the Radio's fascinating music.
  4. TVOTR splurge slabs of strange sound into almost freeform structures that draw on jazz sensibilities, alt-rock peculiarities and the whole NYC infatuation with cool.
  5. 90
    They're five years ahead of their time. [#6, p.86]
  6. Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes extends and refines both the lyrical smarts and programmatically adventurous nature of Young Liars.
  7. It's this eclectic intensity which makes TV On The Radio such a vital prospect. [5 Jun 2004, p.55]
  8. 80
    A Martian mix of space-age sax, sky-high doo wop, seance-strange electronics and the rich, soulful vocals of [Adebimpe]. [Jun 2004, p.116]
  9. 80
    What's most frightening is that, mighty as Desperate Youth... is, their real stone killer is probably yet to come. [Jul 2004, p.100]
  10. 80
    [Adebimpe's] singing is consistently riveting, and the oddball mix gives it room to flourish. [Apr 2004, p.138]
  11. For anyone who found themselves begging for more than five songs, you will be happy with this new album; the distance traveled from Young Liars is not so drastic as to alienate anyone.
  12. While Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is far from a perfect offering, this album provides a plethora of outstanding moments reminiscent of the musical exploration the band's heroes The Pixies exhibited on their debut longplayer, Surfer Rosa.
  13. Sitek manages to conjure a musical playground within which Adebimpe’s vocals can frolic.
  14. While Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes could have become an exercise in studio-based formalistic noodling, Adebimpe and Malone’s vocals and lyrics give the songs structure and direction.
  15. To their considerable credit, TVoTR don't run out of innovation before they run out of songs, so even "Wear You Out"'s final minutes, during which a flute, a sax and various oscillating tones bang away at each other, are inventive and enticing.
  16. TV On The Radio's ace is Adebimpe, whose urgent vocal performance sounds slyly bluesy and in sync with his and Sitek's dense urban soundscapes.
  17. An exciting record crawling with new ideas. [#243, p.74]
  18. The Young Liars EP was as fully realized as all the critics suggested, yet now, TV on the Radio sound like a work in progress. Still, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes shows more strengths than mistakes.
  19. TV on the Radio relies more on the influence of eighties prog-pop than the typical Brooklyn grit, which is definitely refreshing.
  20. All told, pretty dull--unless you're so desperate that you'll sing hosanna for every piece of intelligent-honest-original that comes down the circuit.
  21. Their initial EP documented a band that sounded ready to take on the world – but the follow up just shows that the journey may take longer than expected.
  22. There are some amazing songs on Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, but overall it still feels like a transition[al] release of a group really trying to nail things.
  23. Like David Bowie’s Station to Station or Peter Gabriel’s So, TV on the Radio make music that demands to be listened to actively, as for the listener to absorb the lethal amounts of heartbreak, dignity, and mystery in the human voice.
  24. It all hangs together, somehow, swaying unerringly from one idea to the next.
  25. Much more realized than last year's Young Liars EP, it's also a bit more conventional.
  26. It's Prince, it's Eno, it's PiL, it's The Coasters and all at once. At times, that jars. At others... it's as exhilarating as a kiss. [Jul 2004, p.124]
  27. Despite the album's general inertia, it contains some impressive individual songs.
  28. Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is diverting, short (47 minutes), atmospheric and contains exactly one truly memorable song.
  29. Unfortunately, many of the tunes wear out their welcome, overextending a single inspired idea. [Apr 2004, p.88]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. Apr 28, 2011
    TV On The Radio has a very distinct sound, and they really nail it on several songs. However, the album as a whole drags toward the end, with some of the songs relying too heavily on the band's distinctive aesthetic and going on too long for their own good. The quality and uniqueness of the overall sound is too great for this to be anything but a good album, but it's doesn't quite make it beyond good. Full Review »
  2. Mar 27, 2011
    Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes may not be TV On The Radio's best work to date, but it is nevertheless a great album. Every track sounds more and more different from the previous track. It mixes electronic with Doo-Wop Punk Jazz Fusion. "Staring At The Sun" is the stand out track on this record. It's a brilliant song. All In All, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is a great album. B+ Full Review »
  3. fakename
    Sep 11, 2006
    I have a name for this: Critic Rock. Sketchy, unapproachable singing that that removes any hope of tunefuleness layered over aimless noodling and very little rhythmic interest. Less interesting than another insufferable crit-rock band: Yo La Tengo. This is an exemplar of Metacritic's one weakness: crit-rock will always score well. Full Review »