Saturday, May 06, 2006

a radiohead rant

radiohead is heading out on tour, and im home early tonight so i can week up on east coast time to sit at a computer and try to buy tix to see them in philly this summer. as i prepared for this event, updating my info with ticketmaster and such, i checked to see the last concert ticket i had purchased from, and it was...radiohead, 2003.

they continue to be the only arena rock band i would ever care to see, but im beginning to have my doubts. maybe its the fact that they dropped their best records almost in lock step with the advance of my musicial maturity as a listener: the bends in middle school when i was getting into british rock, ok computer in high school when i was becoming sophisticated about art rock, and kid a in college when i was first learning about post modernism (did i just write that? yuk).

then came hail to the thief.

we all expected big things, but this album fell flat. it didnt move the band FORWARD like every one of their previous releases. it sounded like radiohead, which isn't supposed to be sounded like OLD PEOPLE playing radiohead. All the past albums had out-paced the ones before it: whether they were better or not (my favorite is still the bends) is not the point. The point is that they were progressive. with hail to the theif, raiohead sounded like themselves, which is the worst thing they can do.

Anyway, some new songs from the first live shows are out, and im worried we are in for more of the same, folks. check this one, e.g.:

yeah, i know.

in short, the band was never about synthesis, it was always about rebirth. these songs, however, seem to continue to hone their sound in on a center, rather than pushing it to the periphery where it belongs. which is bad.


At 3:14 PM, Blogger FriedOreo said...

I agree that Hail to the Thief wasn't a step forward, and possibly even too "safe" of a move, but how many new directions can we expect this band to take? And they haven't always been on the periphery; Bends still sounds like a straight-ahead rock n roll album. To me, the band seems to follow logical progressions more than taking part in rebirths (I can't imagine Bends-->Ok-->Kid A having occured in any other order; I guess the biggest jump is between Bends and OK, but I think the melody in "Bulletproof" haunts OK throughout), so maybe Hail (and their new stuff) should be seen as a failure to build on previous work. I don't know what the band's intentions were for Hail, or what they are for their new album, but I don't mind assesing some albums on their own terms. Anyway, I'll be thinking about this the morning of May 14, when I attempt to get my own tic on Ticketmaster for their show at Berkeley's Greek Theater in late June. I'll give you a call at the concert, Stark.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Mugshot said...

Radiohead can do whatever they want. If you don't like them, then you can go 'head, cuz.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Mugshot said...

And stark: I'll always remember the day you brought in Radiohead videos and we watched them in room 316.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger ryunited and it feels so good said...

I am less worried about Radiohead moving this way or that way then I am about them having the discipline to record a "no-filler" album. I've loved tracks on every one of their records - but Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief have featured a lot of "experimental" (read: filler that only gets on the record becauce Yorke can do whatever he wants now) material.

I was told that they are label-less at the moment, and that's kinda scary to me. Will this be ALL filler?

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Mugshot said...

The first song on Hail to the Thief -- 2+2=5 -- is a cross between Karma Police and Idioteque. Am I wrong?

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Mugshot said...

Sorry, I meant a cross between Exit Music (for a film) and Idioteque. Am I wrong?

At 12:31 AM, Blogger ryunited and it feels so good said...

I don't know what the music combination is, but its a delectable Bush hate song obvious enough where you can enjoy it without being "Neil Young style" over the top.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger FriedOreo said...

Stark, did you get a ticket?


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