Long-time readers of Bollocks! may remember that we used to have a pretty effective Imaginary Secretary here at Bollocks! HQ and you may or may not be wondering whatever became of her. There was a bit of an incident surrounding the last TV on the Radio album, 2008’s Dear Science, after which she quietly left our offices, never to return. I wasn’t given a concrete reason for her sudden departure, but I suspect that the Dear Science Incident might have had something to do with it.
But just the other day, completely out of the blue, she wandered back into Bollocks! HQ, wanting to talk. Apparently, the job market is pretty lousy for imaginary secretaries (I hear Tom Cruise recently fired his). We had what I thought was a pretty good conversation, which I’ve helpfully transcribed for you below.
Me: Well, well, well. The Prodigal Secretary returns.
Imaginary Secretary: You don’t know what “prodigal” means, do you?
Me: I’ll ask the questions here, Imaginary Former Secretary. What brings you back to Bollocks! HQ?
Imaginary Secretary: I’m going to be honest with you. There’s very little work right now for Imaginary Secretaries —
Me: I hear Tom Cruise is hiring.
Imaginary Secretary: Forget it. I don’t like to work with crazy people.
Me: So you’re not here to ask for your old job back?
Imaginary Secretary: (laughs) I had some good times here.
Me: Why’d you leave? Was it the Dear Science thing?
Imaginary Secretary: That was part of it. The other part was… well, you know how some offices have Casual Friday? It’s usually an option. People dress casually if they want to. I didn’t really appreciate your Mandatory Naked Time Fridays.
Me: moonbeam loves Mandatory Naked Time Fridays.
Imaginary Secretary: moonbeam is a hippie. Hippies love being naked more than they love food.
Me: You’ve got a point. So if I changed Mandatory Naked Time Fridays to Optional Naked Time Fridays, you’d take your job back?
Imaginary Secretary: I think so. Wait. What’s this we’re listening to?
Me: It’s the new TV on the Radio album, Nine Types of Light. I’ve been thinking of calling it “Nine Types of Awesome” for my review, but I feel like I should come up with something better.
Imaginary Secretary: Oh shit. How many times have you listened to this album in a row?
Me: What, today? I dunno. Like… (counting on fingers) probably only seven.
Imaginary Secretary: Are the doors locked?
Me: No, of course not.
Imaginary Secretary: (taking a cautious step toward the door) Does that mean this album is worse than Dear Science?
Me: I don’t think so. I like both albums a lot. I think TV on the Radio has achieved a pretty high level of consistent awesomeness. They’re one of the few bands that can spend a ton of time fucking around in the studio and turn out a really excellent record.
Imaginary Secretary: Unlike, say, R.E.M.?
Me: What do you mean?
Imaginary Secretary: Admit it: R.E.M. should have strict time limits imposed on them when they go into the studio and there should be signs on several of the buttons and boards that read, “Please don’t touch these, lest you make another Around the Sun.”
Me: But Collapse Into Now was awesome.
Imaginary Secretary: You say that, but when was the last time you listened to it?
Me: I’ve been busy.
Imaginary Secretary: Doing what?
Me: Well, listening to Nine Types of Light, for one thing. This album is fucking fantastic.
Imaginary Secretary: It is pretty good. And I didn’t think I’d ever be able to listen to TV on the Radio again after what you did when Dear Science came out.
Me: Well, I’ve grown as a person.
Imaginary Secretary: I have my doubts about that. What’s this song called?
Me: It’s called “You.” As in “You’re the only one I ever loved.”
Imaginary Secretary: It’s beautiful. Some of these songs have a sort of funky dance vibe to them that I really like.
Me: Yeah, “Second Song” is like that. It’s a little bit Bee Gees but I still like it. You know what else I’d like?
Imaginary Secretary: In no particular order: a cup of coffee, me to hold all of your calls, and to spend the afternoon listening to Nine Types of Light, hopefully while remembering to let your staff go home at a reasonable hour.
Me: Pretty much. But why not make it two cups of coffee, and you can listen to the album with me?
Imaginary Secretary: I don’t drink coffee.
Me: Tea, then.
Imaginary Secretary: Okay. Does that mean I have my job back?
Me: As far as I’m concerned, Imaginary Secretary, you never lost it.
So we spent the rest of the afternoon, drinking coffee and tea, and listening to Nine Types of
Light Awesome. And, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t lock everyone in the office. But at the end of the day, no one wanted to leave. Coffees and teas turned into beers and mint juleps (my Imaginary Secretary’s drink of choice), pizzas were ordered, and the album spun on into the night.
And into the next day. Which is today. I think. All I know is that pretty much everyone at Bollocks! HQ right now is in dire need of a shower. Also, drunk on mint juleps, my Imaginary Secretary revealed that she had a framed Roger Dean album cover above her bed (I assume it’s a Yes album cover, but she didn’t say).
Anyway, the things you need to know about Nine Types of Light are as follows: 1) Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone are strong contenders for this year’s Curtis Mayfield Award for the Acceptable Use of a Falsetto at the Bollocks! Awards; 2) if, like me, you are fairly confident that banjos cannot be used in blatantly gorgeous music, “Killer Crane” will serve you your words with a side of garlic fries; 3) TV on the Radio has become almost dangerously good at writing strong melodies; 4) Nine Types of Light continues the band’s proud tradition of being totally fucking awesome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour mint julep and Guinness on some Frosted Mini Wheats and take a shower. Good day!