Friday, January 14, 2011

Ahhh....Radiohead, what can be said about you that has not already been uttered from the lips of any music critic worth his or her are absolutely amazing. You can do no wrong and today I pay homage to your ultimate perfection, your astute production values, Thom Yorke's ethereal voice laced with heavy lyricism that the average poet could only dream of printing on a page....

I do not often come upon a band that manages to hold my ears hostage from song to song, and before Radiohead I'd never before pressed play on my Zune and let it run untouched through an entire artist's discography. My love for them started around 1997--though I must say I didn't reach my current height of fan-dom until about three years ago--but I remember the first time I heard of them just like it was yesterday, sitting in my best friend's bedroom watching the video for "Paranoid Android", battling between feeling creeped-out by the crazy animation and completely enticed by the music itself--I was let's do the math...about 12 at the time and still embroiled in being a sheep who found anything alternative off-putting so I did not fully appreciate the experience, but I definitely remember it.

My sophomore year of high school I became obsessed with "Pyramid Song" and asked my friend who was a pioneer of the mix CD to bury that song on a disc amidst  a bevy of pop music and hip-hop hot list picks. I played "Pyramid Song" again and again and over time my love affair with Radiohead grew into the absolute adoration I hold for them today. 

While I'm writing this review I am listening to a shuffle of their music, and at this point "Exit Music (For A Film)" is playing and as is usually the case with their music, it has incited a wave of creative energy in me that makes me want to strive for the perfection this band has, in my eyes,  already acquired. I am no musician, but Radiohead is the single reason I ever even considered picking up a guitar, I want to create something that beautiful for people and inspire them with it musically or otherwise. Radiohead has the power to execute a song so perfectly that it hits every note at just the right time as the band weaves its way through the manipulation of a myriad of instruments and effects all accompanied by a voice that rides over the rhythm with emotion that is as relatable as it is untouchable. That was a long one. Radiohead makes me want to be a genius, urges me to tap into the part of me that is waiting to be something, as they have, and I want to touch millions of people because of a talent that is so well honed--a craft so thoroughly mastered that it is worthy to be shared with the world at large. 

Okay, so now I'll stop gushing, and get to the conventional review. Radiohead was formed in 1985 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and consists of Thom Yorke who does vocals, piano and guitar, Jonny Greenwood on guitar, keyboards and more, Colin Greenwood who handles the synthesizers and bass, Ed O'Brien on guitars and backing vocals and Phil Selway on drums and percussion. The first single they released was "Creep" which became a runaway hit several months after its initial release. While catchy and enjoyable, "Creep" is in no way my favorite and dare I caution any new Radiohead fan to take the song as anything but the tip of the iceberg as far as who this band is musically, what it is capable of. Radiohead's more recent releases are smarter and the production values sharper and achingly unique. Catagorization of this band's sound is difficult--they are a little electronic, rock for sure, somber and jazzy, upbeat but understated--but rest assured that whatever the style they present it meshes well into their entire body of music and is unbelievably polished. Over time their sound has morphed, as do the styles of any growing musician and so there's a journey one takes through each album, and for me each journey has reminded me of how much I enjoy just sitting and listening to their music or using it while I write to create a mood and state of mind for myself as well as the characters I create on the page before me, or in the poetry I write.

I would like to list a favorite song of theirs, and I have to say that was a hard task for me. I like almost EVERY song on EVERY one of their albums--but that's a cop-out response some might say, so I will take the leap and say that my top five (I couldn't cut it down any lower, I wanted to do a top 10 honestly) are:

1. Exit Music (For a Film) from OK Computer
2. A Punchup At A Wedding from Hail to the Thief
3. Talk Show Host from Street Spirit 3 track maxi-single and Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack
4. Everything In Its Right Place from Kid A
5. All I Need from In Rainbows

There is no way I can list my favorite album because I love every one, but honestly, it doesn't matter what my favorite is because you will find your own favorite songs, favorite albums, and maybe they'll match mine, maybe not. Maybe you'll wonder why I like them so much and  throw your MP3 player against the wall in disgust after listening to them for ten minutes (which means you have NO taste in music) but either way, your mind has been controlled--by my T-shirt! If you haven't bought into the well-deserved Radiohead hype yet, you better get to it now. Our society is inundated with musicians daily-some deserving of our adulation, most who are not. I assure you Radiohead is something special, and I hope this disjointed gush-fest of a review encourages you to treat yourself to some magnificent music.

Here's a discography and a couple links to get you started:
    Pablo Honey (1993)
    The Bends (1995)
    OK Computer (1997)
    Kid A (2000)
    Amnesiac (2001)
    Hail to the Thief (2003)
    In Rainbows (2007)
    Radiohead-Official Site

No comments:

Post a Comment