They're the vanguard of music, a post-rock think tank, the absolute state of the art.Yowch.
They've also been righteous, giving a confused music world a moral center. So we sit, wearing headphones and frozen grins, and continue denying that guilty, nagging feeling that actually, in some ways, when you think about it…Radiohead kinda blow.
Few, save for Liam or Noel Gallagher, dare speak this heresy aloud, instead couching it in longings for a "back-to-basics" album or a "return to form," despite the fact that Radiohead are at their critical and commercial peak. Civil (by Internet standards) discussions reside on Yahoo message boards with titles like "Why Did Radiohead Become Dull and Boring?" But while such almost apologetic criticism typically hides online or at water coolers, sometimes the elephant isn't in the room, but onstage.
At last year's All Points West festival, as their thin, stubbly faces filled massive video screens, Radiohead began their set with In Rainbows' "15 Step": an open-ended groove with a quirky electro beat, two-chord motif, and airy, abstract singing. Then they did the 2001 song "Morning Bell/Amnesiac": an open-ended groove with a quirky electro beat, two-chord motif, and airy, abstract singing. Then they kept going, one groovy tone poem into another, masterfully weaving beats, sound-washes, and misty vocals into an immersive experience of sound, light, pattern, rhythm, and utter, paralyzing boredom. By the encore, it was obvious what Radiohead had become: an exceptionally well-dressed jam band. That you can't even dance to.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Is Radiohead Overrated?
I've said so before, with regard to Kid A and Amnesiac. I love Radiohead, but this article in Spin makes some good points: