Return To Cookie Mountain - TV on the Radio
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Yes, the journey is often challenging, but that's what makes it unforgettable. [Dec 2006, p.190]
  2. Return To Cookie Mountain is one for the ages.
  3. TV On The Radio previously seemed content to roam the open horizon; here, it's intent on exploring the far side. The journey is, once again, enthralling.
  4. 94
    As an artistic achievement, it ranks incredibly high on the list of great postmodern statements. Here is a piece of music (but oh so much more) that proves that something new can be done, and it can be entirely engaging. [#21, p.92]
  5. Return to Cookie Mountain validates the promise of TV on the Radio, an outfit that heretofore had displayed more potential than actual returns.
  6. Maybe that's why this album has such an incredible pull: It doesn't make an atmosphere so much as a space to spend time in, and Adebimpe doesn't become a narrator so much as a witness.
  7. The savvier arrangements, brimming with unsettling sound effects, put Cookie Mountain several steps ahead of its fine 2004 predecessor, Desperate Youth, Bloody Thirsty Babes.
  8. TV on the Radio have crafted a work of immense, cataclysmic, almost overwhelming power and righteous fire.
  9. Never rousing and too often glum, the album is carried by its intelligence, integrity and terrible beauty. [Feb/Mar 2007]
  10. Odd, addictive, unsettling and beautiful. [8 Jul 2006, p.41]
  11. Return to Cookie Mountain sweats off most of the band’s more head-scratching impulses and leaves a manic, depressive, exhilarating album of experimental pop. [#15]
  12. Return To Cookie Mountain is a party soundtrack for a fucked-up generation and an opus that inhabits the midpoint between the scarcely conjoining circles of eclecticism and enjoyability whilst maintaining consistency throughout.
  13. Might be the most oddly beautiful, psychedelic and ambitious [album] of the year. [21 Sep 2006, p.84]
  14. Return to Cookie Mountain makes Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes look almost silly by comparison.
  15. TV On The Radio do more than keep pace with their Shortlist Prize-winning Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes; they enhance nearly every aspect of their debut, creating an album that is uniquely theirs in the modern scene.
  16. A densely tangled masterpiece that floods and floors by straddling swaggering grooves and boggling cacophony.
  17. Whichever way you look at it, as avant-pop or cubist soul, Return to Cookie Mountain remains an intoxicating, intriguing but accessible album.
  18. It’s more experimental yet catchier, more introspective yet more assertive, by turns gloomier and funnier, and above all richer in both sound and implication. “Return to Cookie Mountain” is simply one of this year’s best albums.
  19. Experimental without sacrificing anything in terms of hooks or melody, passionate yet never overbearing, and clever without giving in to the urge to indulge, it places TV on the Radio on a plane with no peers.
  20. The music beneath Cookie Mountain is an earthquake of nearly generation-defining proportions.
  21. Take the time to squeeze inside, and you'll discover a startling, significant, endlessly inspiring album.
  22. 80
    A triumph of psychedelic melody, drone and eerie groove. [Jul 2006, p.104]
  23. 80
    Return To Cookie Mountain sees TV solidifying their more ethereal tendencies into denser compositions. [Aug 2006, p.100]
  24. 80
    On their lush major-label debut, the haunting Peter Gabriel-esque yawlps of singer Tunde Adebimpbe are punctuated by singer-guitarist Kyp Malone, whose raspy falsetto provides a sense of deadpan panic. [Jul 2006, p.103]
  25. 80
    Give up now, guys, because it rarely gets better than this. [Jun 2006, p.113]
  26. At times, Return to Cookie Mountain threatens to become more impressive than likeable -- a complaint that could also arguably be leveled against Desperate Youth as well -- but fortunately, TV on the Radio reconnects with, and builds on, the intimacy and purity that made Young Liars so striking.
  27. An album full of playful daring. [Aug 2006, p.115]
  28. 80
    Sitek's layered sonics have grown more immense... and almost none of these songs charts a predictable course. [Jun 2006, p.81]
  29. Return to Cookie Mountain is largely a delight - an experimental album with a pop heart that avoids self-indulgence.
  30. TV on the Radio is that rare band able to simultaneously identify the pitfalls of modern life and offer a spiritual alternative... That the band does so with music that's at once readily accessible and refreshingly unique is simply the crowning touch. [Jun/Jul 2006, p.118]
  31. While far from immaculate, Cookie Mountain is the logical progression from Desperate Youth, with its conception fruit enough for those who appreciate musical innovation.
  32. A warmer, more linear record than their debut... Spellbinding, frustrating, wonderful.
  33. While TVOTR now record for just another major label, their music is more distinctive than ever.
  34. Dense and substantive, Return To Cookie Mountain is a nice head-trip to take.
  35. Fascinatingly dense, soulful and utterly divine.
  36. There's a wider range of styles and sounds here, from dramatic shoegazer epics to the closest they've ever gotten to straight-ahead rock. Not everything gels solidly, and there are some awkward moments, but no real stumbles.
  37. 70
    These are antiheroic, anti-anthemic, antiwar gems of abstraction, full of consistently strange and exotic charms. [Oct 2006, p.146]
  38. It may sound strange and unwieldy on first (or second or third) exposure, but those who stick with it will be rewarded with an album of surpassing intricacy, filled with an abundance of musical nooks and crannies, the likes of which reward sustained attention and concentrated effort on the part of the listener.
  39. As music for airports, the album hums along like a tension-age sedative, but if it was meant to be a grand artistic statement by an acclaimed band with a distinctive vision, it's pretty much static.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 229 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 148
  1. JamesB.
    Aug 8, 2008
    10
    Great music isn't always easy to digest. This is an 11-course meal of gristle on which I happily dine.
  2. Apr 25, 2012
    4
    I applaud the experiment, but like most such projects, the results are mixed at best. Download "Wolf Like Me", "A Method", and "Dirty Whirl" but don't buy the entire album. Full Review »
  3. Apr 21, 2012
    10
    This is a prime example of why critics should be trusted more than users when it comes to music. Return to Cookie Mountain is one of my favorite albums of the past decade, hands down. Dear Science was excellent, but this will always be my favorite TV on the Radio album. The grainy static of this album creates the perfect atmosphere. The guitar work on this album is also incredible. Some tracks are much slower than others, but when TVOTR decide to pick the pace up they really can shred their guitars like few bands can. All of this would mean nothing if it weren't for the emotional punch this album carries. If I had to pick one song that embodies the theme of this album it would be, "Province". On the chorus Kyp Malone bellows out that, "Love is the province of the brace", and that is certainly what this album is trying to get across. Love is pain, and TVOTR seem to understand that better than just about anybody else. To them though, love is worth the risk, and that only the brave seek it out. It's a powerful message that only grows the more you listen to this album. The opening track "I Was A Lover" instantly sucked me into the album. It's a fairly unorthodox rythm with stuttering drums, horns, and plenty of fuzzy guitars. Malone is also the vocalist on this song. Towards the end of the song he sings, "running on empty, bourbon, and god". As great as they are as a band, they may be even better songwriters, which is a bold statement I feel comfortable making. Malone proves on this album that he is an excellent vocalist. He shares roughly half of the vocal duties with Tunde Adebimpe, and they are a perfect balance. Adebimpe brings a powerful voice, and shows this in full force on "Wolf Like Me" which is one of the best songs TVOTR has in their entire catalog. The 2nd half of this song is an onslaught of guitars. "Playhouses" is another song where TVOTR flex their muscle and flat out jam. All of these songs I have mentioned are on the first half of the album, but amazingly the 2nd half of the album is every bit as strong as the 1st half. "Let the Devil In" and "Dirtywhirl" are both excellent tracks, as is "A Method". The two closing tracks "Tonight" and "Wash the Day Away" are the two most mellow songs on the album, particularly "Tonight" which is one of the more hypnotic songs I've ever heard. It's sad but beautiful at the same time. There really isn't any complaint I can make about this album. It's as close to flawless as you can get. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like were the bonus tracks. Not because they were bad, but because they were completely unneccesary. None of the 3 bonus tracks on the U.S. release are as good as ANY of the 11 songs on the album. Still, in rating this album I'm completely ignoring those tracks. After all, they are "bonus" tracks. Return to Cookie Mountain has held up very well, and it's been nearly 6 years since it's release. This album is the definition of a classic. Full Review »