30 June, 2012

Radiohead's entire discography reviewed in one bite-size package

Howdy-do, my little illiterati! After a break of unconscionable proportions I am back again.

In honor of Charlie's Butt Week (whatever that is), here is Radiohead's entire discography reviewed for the One-Stop Shopper in nice Frosted-Mini-Wheat sized chunks.

I can feel the waves of gratitude emanating through the computer screen.

Pablo Honey - dorky, boring, patently poseurish "alternative rock" record with about three memorable songs ("Creep," "Anyone Can Play Guitar," "Blow Out"); if you like this you probably miss Dishwalla and thought Silverchair's first album was, like, totally radical dude (and Anal Cunt would call you "gay," as a rather incomprehensible synonym for "stupid.")

The Bends - egregiously overrated alternative rock record, with admittedly some real classics if you like alternative rock ("Planet Telex," "Fake Plastic Trees," "My Iron Lung") balanced with some really cliched and crappy whine-a-thon "classics" ("High and Dry," "Just," "Street Spirit (Fade Out)") and just complete garbage ("Sulk," "The Bends," "Black Star"). Hilarious Words of Wisdom: "I'm just lying in a bar with my drip feed on, talking to my girlfriend, waiting for something to happen." Oh fuck off.

OK Computer - extremely solid record, a huge artistic progression in every way: some flaws here and there ("Fitter Happier," "Electioneering," "The Tourist") but overall, there are some incredible, painful songs here; somewhat overrated (it's not even Radiohead's best record, much less the best record of all time as some complete fucking ignoramuses unworthy of respect or a short sharp jab to the throat will claim), but that's understandable. Waffle factor: influencing Muse and Coldplay to spray their unfathomably bland and dire ass-soup upon the airwaves and our musical consciousness.

Kid A - Don't let the caterwauling of a few philistine rock critics put you off. This is Radiohead's peak, and a practically flawless record. The big-band-in-a-trash-compactor horns and cut-n-paste motorik loops on "The National Anthem" occasionally feel rather corny instead of insane and intense, but other than that minor quibble, this is still probably the best mainstream rock record made in the 2000's.

Amnesiac - Outside of one godawful blunder ("Morning Bell/Amnesiac," which proves that it is indeed possible to completely ruin a fantastic song), some at-times questionable sequencing (which probably couldn't be helped), and some questionable choices on what not to include (the B-sides from this time are almost uniformly brilliant, and would have added a lot to the album), it's nearly as good as Kid A; even "Hunting Bears" works in the beyond-hopeless context of the album. "Life in a Glasshouse" feels deeply overwrought, which is this band's perennial Achilles heel. But "Pyramid Song" is probably the best song this band will ever write, and a songwriting masterstroke.

Hail To The Thief - After three great albums, they handed us THIS crap?! There are maybe four awesome songs on this album: "There There" places a John McGeoch-esque guitar part alongside paranoid tribal drumming; "The Gloaming" is one of their most chilling electronic creepshows ever; "Myxomatosis" has one of Thom Yorke's coolest vocal performances, a really interesting sense of restraint and a great fuzzed-out low-pitched riff; and "A Wolf at the Door" features an incredible OK Computer-worthy chorus that comes out of nowhere to save the song from its' rambling, overwrought verses. Otherwise, this is a real bucket of shit - filled with misguided, self-important, poorly written attempts at "rock songs" ("2+2 = 5," "Go To Sleep," which wastes a great riff, "Where I End And You Begin"), piss-poor piano ballads ("Sail To The Moon," "A Punchup at a Wedding") and godawful, formless experimentation ("Sit Down, Stand Up," "Backdrifts," and "We Suck Young Blood," which is the worst song they've ever written), complete with unpleasantly artless, hysterically apocalyptic lyrics that might as well have been written by Chicken Little or the homeless guy on the corner.

In Rainbows - Hail To The Thief was such a platter of horseshit that I deliberately avoided listening to this album until I decided to review Radiohead's entire discography for this feature; after all, it seemed like an unfathomably precipitous decline, the sound of a formerly interstellar band hitting the earth at 1000 mph. So imagine my surprise and embarrassment when I finally listened to the album and it turned out to be one of their most consistently listenable albums ever. It's not at the level of quality of the 1997-2001 era of Radiohead's music. But In Rainbows is a great late-period artistic resurgence, tossing aside the overwhelming anxiety that flows through most of the band's music in favor of focusing on understated beauty. None of the band's albums are even nearly as focused as this one is on making gorgeous music. There's little effort to break much new ground musically (aside from the hyperactive drums on "15 Step"), but the songwriting is really on point, and the mood is sweet, often sad, but never overwrought or overdramatic. Also, it's a lot looser and more jammy than their other albums are, which lends a refreshingly new feel to their music.

The King of Limbs - A few philistine rock critics accused Kid A of being boring and emotionless. They obviously hadn't listened to this album because this is a fucking insomnia cure. I mean, shit I'm nodding off right now. What am I doing writing thiaefsv;oaeigva;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

1 comment:

  1. During Butt Week, we talk about butts. Because we're juvenile like that.
    Since Butt Week occurs during the last week of June and the first week of July and this year those weeks occur during separate weeks, Butt Week 2012 is two weeks long.
    So, yeah, guy, try to talk about butts and butt-related things some more.


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