You would have to have been born in a cave in Afghanistan to have never heard of Radiohead and you surely wouldn’t need me to tell you about the British rock legends that they represent. I was quite young when they released their first single in 1992 but it didn’t manage to miss my small meandering 9 year old mind, probably due to the fact that that single was
Creep However I didn’t run out and buy “Pablo Honey” upon its release in ’93 nor did I even jump when the successful ’95 album “The Bends” got out. It wasn’t really until ’96 when I watched Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and the release of “OK Computer” in ’97 that I started really paying attention. This was also the part of my youth when I was starting to explore music, I’m not sure exactly what I was listening to but I think I was moving on from Guns n’ Roses and Metalica and wandering towards Nirvana and the grunge scene, blame an 11 year old for being ass about. The grunge scene was taking hold and looking back it seems weird, Kurt Cobain had been dead already for a couple of years.
It was my obsession with Romeo + Juliet and a tape I got from my inseparable best friend that were the real reasons why I became a fan of Radiohead. I fell in love with the hyper stylization of Romeo + Juliet – it was with this film that I realized my love for theatre, literature and film. Two Radiohead songs were featured in the movie,
Talk Show Host almost a center peice, and
Exit Music (For a Film) over the closing credits.
Would the film be as dramatic and modern if it was not for the inclusion of these songs? I mean the somber tone of the film the audience is left with is undeniably affected by the searing voice of Thom Yorke. So obviously the first Radiohead album I bought was “OK Computer” which was so deservedly dubbed “One of the greatest rock albums of all time”.
Unfortunately I didn’t really stay with Radiohead after “OK Computer”. Though it wasn’t because I was part of the backlash to their new sound on “Kid A” and “Amnesiac”. I actually liked everything I heard from them. It was just me moving around and listening to other music, I think Korn then Marilyn Mason and a slew of non descript metal before I moved on to hip hop, and every time I saw Radiohead records on the shelf I thought about buying them, but it was always “next time”, and that time just didn’t come. I also missed out on the 2003 release of “Hail to the Thief”.
It wasn’t actually until Thom Yorke’s debut solo “The Eraser” in 2006 that I really got into Radiohead’s musical universe. That was a fucking great album.
In 2007, when Radiohead decided to radically releases “In Rainbows” on the internet allowing punters to pay what the thought an album was worth, I was too lazy for this preferring to wait for the CD release. The cool thing was that one of my favorite radio stations, Triple J, played a copy from the internet in its entirety as soon as it was online. From that moment on I love Radiohead and everything they stand for.
How fucking expressive is that man’s voice so come 2007 and Radiohead vocally against the tired and recalcitrant “Music Industry” and
So what do I think of “In Rainbows”? Incredible. How do you go about topping albums when they are “One of the greatest”? You don’t – you keep progressing and you achieve an album like “In Rainbows” to rival the old ones. And Radiohead still sound like Radiohead on this one. They are soft and melodious, emotionally charged rock, expressive and laden with a symphony of great beats.
Recently I had been deliberating as to what songs to include – the album is just so strong as a whole. When I was chatting to a friend and mentioned I was writing about “In Rainbows”, without hesitation he asked
But I was sure my highlight of the album was
Jigsaw Falling into Place I love the intensity on this track. It’s got that raw emotion that I was attracted to since “Creep” I guess. And this is not to say that my friend’s picks weren’t equally as good.
I’d also really like to mention
Nude a moment that really reminds me of R+J and O.K Computer but also another film I really liked at that time, “Stealing Beauty” by Bernardo Betrolucci. It had a good soundtrack that included Portishead’s “Glory Box” whom I also listened to at the time (to me these two bands definitely share some similar qualities). Such a sweetly haunting sound. Also
All I Need yet another seductively slow emotionally charged killer tune.
Recently I watched Choke, the film adaptation of the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It is only the second adaptation of a Palahniuk novel after Fight Club, which is quite weird when he is quite prolific putting out a novel almost every year, all of high literary caliber. While the film stayed true to the novel I felt it was not really displaying the verve of Fight Club. But it was the use of
Reckoner another truly great moment on this album, in the closing of the film that just goes to show the influence people still find in Radiohead to stir feelings in people. If you are making a lackluster film or T.V show and you really want to pull that melodramatic punch just before the credit why not just use Radiohead to force out those tears.
One of my best friends to this day that I met through film school, whom I think is fashionably and musically backward clinging to some hay-day of who-the-fuck-knows-when, finally saw eye to eye with me on this one. Though I think the comment upon hearing “In Rainbows” was something like “There is just so much good music coming out now. I have been waiting for this” (also referring to Portishead’s “Third” and Battles’ “Mirrored”). This album’s music is clearly sumptuous, beautiful and purely breathtaking.
I can’t praise this album enough. I can’t recommend this album enough.
See also; “Rabbit in Your Headlight” by U.N.K.L.E feat. Thom Yorke a great track made even better by the correspondingly violent music clip.