THE NEW RADIOHEAD ALBUM SUCKS!!!
It obviously fucking rocks. No doubt I’ll only have to listen to it a million more times before I fully appreciate it but obviously it’s really really really good. My favorite msn name response to it (and there are several) was “Radiohead please stop being so good-it’s unfair to other bands”. Anyways, here’s my review of the album.
Album opens up with beat-based “15 Steps”. York’s falsetto is fully intact and melodically Michael Flatleys all over before it’s invaded by a haunted house-full of weird and wonderful sounds. Typically a-typical Radiohead and it’s great as the momentum builds up and the kaliedascope of weird sounds culminates in an ending to a great opener. Next song.
Bodysnatchers rides on the momentum build up by the first track and then runs with it. Yorks vocals take a backseat to fuzzy guitars and eerie keyboards which zip across the sonic landscape, riffing it up like a swarm of locusts. Again everything builds up until York takes it out screaming “I SEE IT COMIN’, I SEE IT COMIN'”
Nude is the comedown after the rush of the first two tracks. York’s auditorium-verb vocals are as ghostly as ever, singing “now that you’ve found it/it’s gone/now that you feel it/you don’t”. The cavernous strings that shine in like sunlight are so perfect it’s crazy. York then proceeds to ride the song to it’s gorgeous conclusion with some lovely “ooooooo”ing.
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi starts with a great drum beat and some lovely guitar before York gets in on the action. Again we see Radiohead’s incredible talent of building a song up slowly but super-steadily. And what’s more incredible is that it seems as though York’s vocals lead the way and everything just follows them.
Radiohead’s song construction is fantastic. Every song seems to build up to a point, then has it’s breakdown, then rides out a stunning climax. The mathematics of it are an absolute wonder to any composer.
All I Need is based around some very low keyboards giving York’s higher range vocals plenty of space-you can actually hear the vocals now without any effort. The lyrics metaphor it up as York lays it on thick with lines “I am all the days that you choose to ignore” and “I’m just an insect trying to get out of your eye”. Charming, no doubt the girl for whom it was written was thrilled (eerrrrrr….).
In Faust Arp a string crew (heavy on the chellos) chases Thom York’s vocals around. At 2 minutes it feels really short, still a nice little song.
Reckoner works around some shaking and banging things. York’s vocals dance around the soundscape before the shakers depart because it’s the strings’ turn to back up the man of the hour. York as always sounds fantastic. That’s kind of a waste of space in a Radiohead review though I suppose. At the end of the songs the strings and the shakers team up and all is groovy. Again, York leads the song out with some “awwwww”ing. This is probably one of the lesser songs on the album.
In House of Cards York sings “I don’t wanna be you’re friend/I just wanna be your lover”. Johnny’s guitar picks out “do do, do, do do” lazily while treble-heavy violins fill out the speakers. “Forget about your house of cards/ and I’ll do mine”, York repeats as a chorus. This song has a beautiful lazy feel to it. It’s probably the most chilled out Radiohead song ever. Almost like a Feel Good Lost-Broken Social Scene song but with Thom York singing over it and creepy strings in the background.
Jigsaw Falling into Place is a bit more of a rocker but nothing on this album approaches anything on the level of “Electioneering”. Thom’s ghostly vocals fill out the background before being replaced by a synth or something…it’s cool though. The changes in this song are often very awesome with crashes coming down at every one- just like a normal rock band!
The closer, Videotape, is a piano based ballad. The line that caught me was “You are my center when I spin away/out of control on videotape/on vide-o-tape…” The song fades away as the piano hits those same 3 notes, do, do do, do..do, do do, do…do, do do, do…A fittingly somber end to another great Radiohead album.
So of course, is it Radiohead’s best? Another classic? Greatest album of the year? The decade? Our time? Who know. We’re all going to listen to it a million more times before we decide where it stands. It’s definitly no stinker though. We all just have to take the time now to determine exactly how great it is. Better get going.