Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kid A-hole

This is damn inspired. And -- can we finally speak the very necessary heresy, please? -- while I still believe that even an average Radiohead album is better than most bands' best, it's time to admit that they've essentially been recording the same record over and over since Kid A. Every Radiohead album has at least one or two great songs; the rest is basically amorphous, experimental beeps, pops and clicks.

OK Computer was a masterpiece. Actually, so was Kid A. But ever since, with the exception of maybe In Rainbows which had some much-needed shape to it, their stuff has been pretty much the same.

Yes I still love them and, yes, King of Limbs isn't awful by any means -- but I've never wanted so badly for a band to surprise me and return to their roots.


Eric said...

Yeah. I mean, I haven't bought King Of Limbs yet, but it's because everything I've heard off it sounds a bit like a... (sigh) rehash of In Rainbows and Thom Yorke's Eraser. And even Hail To The Thief, which I mostly liked, seemed like it was still in a rut they dug with Kid A and Amnesiac, both of which are albums I love, but that was, like, a decade ago and part of what made them exciting really was the sense that this was a band moving forward in great leaps from O.K. Computer and The Bends.

I really, really, really would hate for Radiohead to become like U2 has become for me: a band I once adored unconditionally that has become completely inessential and ignorable. But I can't get past the idea that they're in a rut, and that while I probably will get King Of Limbs eventually, it's behind at least a dozen other albums on my shopping list right now. Which is a little depressing insofar as I remember when a new Radiohead album was something you waited in line at the record store for (much as, twenty years ago, Achtung Baby merited everybody on my dorm floor giving their cash to the guy who was going to skip his classes to score copies for everybody, because it wasn't going to be good enough for one person to buy it and everybody to copy it--"The Fly" had been in MTV's rotation for a coupla weeks already and your ears were watering from just that little taste of it).

One worries: is this the inevitable fate of any pretty great band that goes on long enough? Was John Lennon's greatest artistic achievement pulling the plug on The Beatles before they spiraled into a series of Abbey Road retreads and became a subject for mockery? I'm asking these questions rhetorically because, shit, I hope the answer is no. But like you said, I'd also like Radiohead to surprise me again. Dammit.

MJG said...

I'm hoping it's a placeholder album - sounds like the outtakes from the eraser.

Alanna said...

This last album was the "Thom Yorke show"... But when the horns enter on "Codex", I fall apart.