Thom Yorke: Well, my mate Stanley Donwood, who I went to art college with, who does all our artwork with – I mean I do it with him kind of thing – we always have these lovely plans about we want to go and live in Berlin for a month and just paint and get in trouble and things like that. So, we call ourselves the Sunday Painters and we go on bad painting trips. We did one where –
Alec Baldwin: You said bad painting trips?
Thom Yorke: Well, they’re bad painting trips because I’m involved.
There are entire decades of Thom Yorke interviews that could’ve been this much fun!
Radiohead, “Videotape,” at Bonnaroo 2006. This tour was a really fascinating moment: Radiohead allows their shows to be taped, broadband had become ubiquitous, web hosting was cheap and so there were websites that wound up posting amazing-sounding bootlegs of the entire tour as the best band in the world debuted an album’s worth of material across America. When In Rainbows came out, as tremendous as it is, it was impossible for me not to hear the reverb-free, exuberant versions of songs like this one as obviously superior to the album.
A soundboard recording of Radiohead’s 2006 Bonnaroo set came online recently. The whole thing is great, but this version of “Videotape” especially shows what might have been.
Adam Barhamand and I talk about the new Taylor Swift single. It’s great — or is it? Plus, Pitchfork’s People’s List and our favorite albums of the last 15 years.
Grab the audio on iTunes. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do it today, let’s get this sucker on the charts.
I love this record. If you don’t, here’s why you should give it another chance.
And their election as the arty rock group of consensus means we get to watch something really rare and amazing: A band that can do whatever it wants, and do it really well, and have it matter on a big scale. Maybe it’s a little arbitrary that this band is Radiohead, who are far from the only musicians doing things that are high-minded or sonically inventive — but it’s a very cool thing to have one act like this be “big.”
The whole album’s very, very understated, to the point where it leaves you with two main options: Either you find it gorgeous or you don’t much notice it at all. Sometimes I think this is shaping up to be Radiohead’s big conundrum, or maybe even the corner they’ve painted themselves into: the possibility of making museum music, stuff that strikes everyone as impressive and sophisticated and admirable, but can’t really reach out and grab anyone in particular as much as it might like to.
…and this is why Nitsuh is one of the best music writers around. Seriously excellent piece, elegantly enunciating all of the thoughts I couldn’t quite wrangle to a conclusion.
This is one of his better pieces, but I can’t helped but be irked by the ending, which also reads as the Nitsuh Abebe Mission Statement: “Which might be good or bad, depending.” Tell us how you really feel!
There’s no such thing as a “definitive” review. Your brain literally responds to music differently the first time and, say, the fifth time; listen to something too many times and a song you love may become repulsive, and it’s easy to be too enthusiastic about a record that seems fresh for a week or so. To say nothing of the emotional and experiential context that comes when listening to an album during a break-up, or on a summer abroad or under the duress of a magazine or website deadline.
My point: all responses to music, first listen or fifth or even fiftieth, are valid within their context, but giving an album an idealized fair shake probably requires a week and at least a half-dozen serious listens. Some albums, of course, do not deserve a fair shake, and part of being a critic is the ability to differentiate what you can delete after two minutes of skimming from what holds more potential.
The new Radiohead album, it goes without saying, deserves a fair shake, and turning around a review in a day or so to satisfy Google searches and so-called “timeliness” feels a little foolish. It’s not the critics’ faults that they’ve had to write such pieces, of course, but I hope they’ll revisit the record in a week or two with a clearer head. With that in mind, my review will be ready when it’s ready. As a bit of a preview, I think it’s a near-perfect execution of the band’s goals; I can understand why some would consider their goals disappointing or a wrong turn, which I’ll address, but I think it is a great record both on its own and within the context of their catalog. (Which, everyone should remember, extends far beyond full-length albums.)
1) Drums! Phil gets to be crazy again! Thom remembered how to program a drum machine in non-boring ways! Somehow he forgot after Hail to the Thief. I attribute this to the two-drummer Atoms for Peace shows.
2) Vocals! Thom’s not drowning in reverb so much, which is really nice because he is the best rock singer in the universe.
3) “Morning Mr. Magpie” rescued from 2002! Aghhh!
4) The Vangelis moment at 2:55 of “Bloom”
5) The completely insane, cluttered-as-fuck production. Sometimes, more is more.
6) “Little by Little’s” Kid A on LSD vibes
7) Thom’s vocals on “Lotus Flower.” Thom’s vocals on the entire album.
KING OF THE JAMS