Thursday, November 1, 2018

Certain Songs #1355: The Normal – “T.V.O.D.” | Medialoper

Single, 1978

The Normal was the nom de pop of a guy named Daniel Miller, who felt that even the minimal amount of guitar playing required to be a punk was too damn much, and so he bought himself a synth and recorded a single seminal single that perfectly straddled the border between novelty song and profound statement.

There were a few songs like this as the DIY sea change associated with the punks reverberated across wannabe musicians who didn’t really give a rats ass about punk guitar music. Suddenly, anything was possible.

And so we got massive hit singles like “Pop Muzik,” prescient predictions of the future, like “Video Killed The Radio Star,” and wry sociopolitical statements that somehow still resonate like “So Afraid of the Russians” and “T.V.O.D”

Literally just a jittery synth part over a more linear synth part, “T.V.O.D.” parodied the addictive nature of television by equating it with heroin use.

I don’t need a TV screen
I just stick the aerial into my skin
Let the signal run through my veins

And that kids, is pretty much it: pure minimalism on every single level. You gotta appreciate a song that gets in, makes its point, and and sticks with it. And while Miller didn’t record that much music afterwards, he did found a label, Mute Records, in 1978, that is not only still around 40 years later, it’s featured a bunch of like-minded artists: Depeche Mode, Erasure, wire, Yazoo, Nick Cave, Moby, Yeasayer and eventually even New Order.


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