They are an iffy selection for this week’s theme because I do treasure some of their work — specifically, everything on The Bends and about three quarters of OK Computer. If we’re talking about that stuff, believe the hype.
But following OK Computer, Radiohead either decided to perpetrate some sort of elaborate hoax on music critics, or they got so caught up in their own good press that their heads became permanently lodged inside their asses.
Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief were exercises in art-rock masturbation, proof that the right band at the right time can release tuneless garbage and be hailed as revolutionaries.
I believe it was the effusive praise even more than the music that turned me off. How many times can you see a band described as “important” and “ground-breaking” and superior to all those silly groups that persist in releasing old-fashioned songs with silly things like melodies before you want to watch them fall on their faces?
2007’s In Rainbows changed things a bit. While it was mostly hyped for the manner of its release (it was made available on the band’s website for as much or as little money as you decided to pay), it was more notable for Radiohead’s return to actual songcraft.
I don’t consider In Rainbows the equal of The Bends or OK Computer, but it’s in the same ballpark. And maybe I have a soft spot for it because I downloaded it for free.
they’re not gonna happen
You paint yourself white
and feel up with noise
but there’ll be something missingNow that you’ve found it, it’s gone
Now that you feel it, you don’t
You’ve gone off the rails
So don’t get any big ideas
they’re not going to happen
You’ll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking