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Tender Buttons Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Summary: Half the band has departed (replaced by a drum machine), but Broadcast's third LP still features the vocals of Trish Keenan and James Cargill's retro-electronic sound.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. It's so satisfying when a band is able to subtly re-invent its sound, as Keenan and Cargill have done here so well.
  2. They've lost two members... so perhaps that explains some of the more aggressive focus and minimalist arrangement, but not the surprise-around-every-corner freedom they find within their self-imposed stricture.
  3. Mojo
    80
    Their best by a country mile. [Oct 2005, p.118]
  4. What you have with Tender Buttons is a Broadcast album that listeners might need to spend more time with than expected. That said, this is still a Broadcast album, meaning it's one of the better things you'll put in your ear this year.
  5. For those who loved haha Sound, it may sound jarring at first, but ultimately, Broadcast's newfound edginess makes this rewarding new album their boldest to date.
  6. Hypnotic and dreamlike, the album presents a vision of pop music's future glimpsed through the lens of its past.
  7. Q Magazine
    40
    You want to like Broadcast. But they don't make it easy. [Oct 2005, p.115]

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Apr 8, 2020
    10
    There's a sort of eerie sadness to Broadcast's fittingly named third LP Tender Buttons. Maybe this is what happens when we die - we bearThere's a sort of eerie sadness to Broadcast's fittingly named third LP Tender Buttons. Maybe this is what happens when we die - we bear witness to a kind of plaintive, bittersweet nostalgia, err on the side of bitter. And yet, tragic though the death of Trish Keenan may be, it somehow doesn't come as any surprise to the listener that they are hearing the voice of a dead woman.

    The album isn't so much dream pop as it dream-of-a-long-deceased-loved-one pop; perhaps the sound of being haunted by the ghost of an overdue library book. It certainly fits the distant effect of the genre, but almost goes too far with it, producing an almost dissociative effect. It's surreal almost to the point of unreal, the kind of album for which it almost seems more believable that it just happened to kind of exist as opposed to anyone ever having made it. Each track lures you into a maudlin lullaby, and then the electronics kick in, and that's when the music goes from grim to tear-inducing. Like a warm, affectionate hug from The Headless Horseman.

    And yet, Tender Buttons is hardly a grim album. Funereal and ghostly, maybe, but ultimately more celebratory and warm than morose and spiteful. It wants to love you, to wrap you up in its static-y, translucent arms. And in turn, you end up loving IT, because something about it just stirs some bleary-eyed, pure form of yourself that you weren't aware existed. Reminds you that beneath the sheen of dirt you've acquired over the years, there is some naive, friendly internal specter that refuses to depart into the next life, the kind that beckons you by name through rainy bus-windows, treasured Game Boy cartridges and old scraps of crude, sloppily-written essays from your childhood that defy obsolescence by turning up not infrequently during Spring Cleanings, a version of yourself that could've thrived in world absent of external forces.

    These are the kinds of pensive things you think about when the album reaches its conclusion, gesturing towards what you already had in mind, starting once more, from the beginning, and continuing your solemn, yet somehow hopeful train-of-thought.
    Expand
  2. Oct 6, 2011
    10
    To blend electronic and organic into a state of balance is a triumph that probably only Broadcast could achieve. In other words, TenderTo blend electronic and organic into a state of balance is a triumph that probably only Broadcast could achieve. In other words, Tender Buttons rocks. Less analogue, more jarring this time â Expand
  3. MarcusB
    Dec 17, 2005
    9
    Easily Their Best Work By A Country Mile! Live It Rocked Hard!
  4. meeshaf
    Jan 11, 2006
    9
    Broadcast does a lot with very little. Atmospheric music for the headphone set. Trish Keenan sings like a fallen angel. You won't be Broadcast does a lot with very little. Atmospheric music for the headphone set. Trish Keenan sings like a fallen angel. You won't be able to get it out of the CD player. Expand
  5. Jul 25, 2019
    9
    Broadcast's boldest album to date
    (R.i.p. Trish)
    Best tracks: I Found the F, Black Cat, Tender Buttons, Corporeal, Michael A Grammar, Subject
    Broadcast's boldest album to date
    (R.i.p. Trish)

    Best tracks: I Found the F, Black Cat, Tender Buttons, Corporeal, Michael A Grammar, Subject to the Ladder, I Found the End

    Worst track: Goodbye Girls
    Expand
  6. Manny
    Sep 23, 2005
    8
    I've played the album through about four times now and I have to say that it's another classic Broadcast album. The melodies in I've played the album through about four times now and I have to say that it's another classic Broadcast album. The melodies in some of the songs have never been more wistful. Favorite album tracks beyond the three that had been leaked to the internet and had become my favorites (America's Boy, Goodbye Girls, & I Found the F) are: Tears in the Typing Pool (with the loveliest vocals from Trish yet!) and Michael (with its incessant beat and repeating of the title name, which reminds me of all the boys named Michael I know!) This is just the most perfect thing to listen to during the Fall. New comers to the band may not find it as great as I do, but loyal fans will find another ace album from this singular band. Expand
  7. danb.
    Dec 25, 2005
    8
    really good album. if you liked their older stuff, you ought to like this. if you haven't heard them, this is as good as the rest to check out.

See all 8 User Reviews