I’m probably in a minority here, but I never understood the fascination with Radiohead. And while I applaud them on the “choose your own price” marketing of In Rainbows, I found the album to be smug, bland, and worst of all – dripping of effort.
I admit to liking OK Computer (it’s the only album by Radiohead which I find to be interesting). When Kid A was released the critics loved it, because it was different. Many of them suggested that the album was paving the way for the future with its electronic beeps and blips – and non-existant songs. It was definitely a risk at the time on Radiohead’s part, but that doesn’t mean its soul-less vibe was as ground-breaking as the critics would have you believe. In retrospect, if it was groundbreaking it was only because it was vastly different to everything else that coming out in 2000. Remember this was an era when N’Snyc, Britney Spears, Blink 182 and Limp Bizkit were ruling the airwaves. And the “garage revival” was a year away, so naturally Kid A would lend itself as a masterpiece to the critics.
To me though, Kid A sounded like Radiohead tried too hard to take inspiration from Krartwerk, 1984, and Dada artists such as Tristan Tzara. While many rock artist take inspiration from literature (see Bob Dylan, The Pogues, Sufjan Stevens, etc) for Radiohead it didn’t seem to be an extension of their music, but rather something they could latch themselves onto for even more credibility than they already had. Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Radiohead’s inspiration from Dada – a movement by artist who wrote a lot of dribble and nonsense that was deemed as philosophical and insightful – might be natural after-all.
Both fans and critics of Radiohead seem to praise everything the band puts out simply because they are Radiohead. Radiohead fans are a lot of fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. You say you don’t like them and your credibility is automatically questioned, implying that you don’t understand anything if you say one little thing against them.
As you can probably guess, I have zero interest in Radiohead’s new album King of Limbs. I have no doubt that once again, critics and fans will be praising it’s “underlying message” and “adventurous music”.
And for the record, I’m not a fan of the Steelers either.