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Old 06-10-2003, 02:12 AM   #616
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2popmofo
Schweet. I like.
That's what I was going to say.

I am thoroughly jealous of your Disc Endowment.

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Old 06-10-2003, 04:38 AM   #617
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fuck man, that's the one I passed up on buying.

note to self: steal it from lit teacher who's buying it today.
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Old 06-10-2003, 04:41 AM   #618
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I only got the special edition because I knew it had a larger lyric book and a free poster, I totally was suprised when the guy put a free 7 inch single in the bag.

That was pretty sweet, it only cost 18 dollars too.
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Old 06-10-2003, 09:51 AM   #619
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I didn't get a free 7 inch single with it

no odds!!

I'm happy all the same!! I have the special edition right here in me hands!!!

I can't wait to digest this cd...I'm very happy

one question: am I supposed to detach the poster? would that be prudent?
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Old 06-10-2003, 09:58 AM   #620
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Pitchfork weighs in........notice all the U2 references.....


Radiohead
Hail to the Thief
[Capitol; 2003]
Rating: 9.3

When I head out to my local record shop during my designated lunch break today-- a topic Radiohead's Thom Yorke would readily turn into a melodramatically fatalistic, Orwell-lite meditation on routine and alienation-- I'll mingle with teenagers and CEOs frantic to walk out with their own copy of Hail to the Thief. Because today, Radiohead are U2, Pink Floyd, and Queen-- they could have been bigger than The Beatles if the success of "Creep" hadn't agitated an Oxford-bred guilt complex. As Yorke put it in Meeting People Is Easy: "English people aren't impressed. There's this automatic assumption that any degree of success means that you've cheated. Or you're full of shit."

That's a cross Thom no longer has to bear, since whatever shit he was full of was kicked out of him-- in his hometown, no less-- one night in 2000. Like Johnny, the similarly bloodied main character from Mike Leigh's Naked, the assault appears to have Thom dealing with reality for possibly the first time. Protected from street-level human misery-- first by privilege, and then as a celebrity-- by a misguided belief in the world as something definite and easily changed, Yorke's pummeling rightly refocused an unparalleled modern songwriter on more immediate and emotionally resonant issues, stuffing him back in boots he was growing too big for.

Which is not to say I advocate violence, or that any end could justify its employment, but there are tertiary benefits when an artist's perspective is forcibly altered. Listen to George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 or-- less sarcastically, this time-- listen to Kid A, the most remarkably finessed redesign of an established band's sound since U2 recorded Achtung Baby. A reaction to overexposure, the undermining effects of commodification and the alienation of celebrity, Kid A hasn't aged a day (even while Amnesiac, a less inspired collection of underdeveloped tunes from the same sessions, has somewhat dulled its glimmer).

Kid A and Amnesiac were written and recorded before Thom was attacked, before he became a father, before the world became a lot smaller, when nothing really mattered. Hail to the Thief is almost four years removed from the reality Yorke last wrote about, and for that suspicious title and his recent exploits, it's thankfully less concerned about third world debt and paranoiac global conspiracy theories than I'd expected. Which is reassuring: Radiohead aren't turning into Midnight Oil-- though there's plenty of simplistic condemnation to be found here.

Hail to the Thief doesn't dig up Britpop skeletons from The Bends, and it's not OK Computer 2, as Yorke has called it in the press. It is, however, a holding pattern. Thom's excusatory remarks only underscore his chief failing: he can't grasp that pure, radical change isn't always the best option, whatever personal pride he as an artist takes from doing something "new" (and personally, I think Eno and his German collaborators from the late 70s have plenty of reasons to bristle at Kid A). There's nothing to apologize for here: Radiohead are a band, and after a fashion, bands are defined by their music. Much as U2's Zooropa still sounded like U2, anything Radiohead does from here on out will sound like Radiohead.

The triumphant "2+2=5" could only work as the set's opener, though the positively begging single "Go to Sleep" (due for release in June) is a close second. "2+2=5" is a more encompassing declaration of intent, defining the exploratory boundaries of Hail to the Thief as well as the professedly temporary return to "rocking out," something Ed O'Brien's been wanting to do ever since Kid A was born. Before any heady analysis (and there's plenty later in the record), Thom deals with his recent political distractions, pointing out the medieval ignorance of inaction in the face of overwhelming odds: "Are you such a dreamer/ To put the world to rights?/ I'll stay home forever/ Where two and two always makes up five." It's a bit grandiose, but he rightly concedes the possible arrogance of his bravado during the tune's neurotically charged finale: "Go and tell the king that the sky is falling in/ When it's not/ Maybe not."

"Sit Down. Stand Up.", on the other hand, is, in part, a return to old fears of impotence in the face of global forces at work, but Thom-- a new father-- has every reason to revisit the emotions that dominated one of the great societal laments in rock history, OK Computer. Juxtaposing a dread spawned by media oversaturation with a resigned, hands-over-ears focus on rain falling outside, the tune is devastating in its defeated isolation, the diary of a medicated droog in his chair on a Sunday afternoon, bubbling under the skin. Though it's compositionally identical to "2+2=5", the darker subject matter and more sinister execution-- in the form of far-off piano melodies, icy xylophone hits and maniacal vocal doubling-- reveal a demonic twin caught sideways in a cracked mirror.

Leading with such an excellent couplet, it's something of a disappointment to find that those reactionary barbs about stagnation Yorke is trying to defuse are critically valid, if irrelevant to fans. "Sail to the Moon" has the serenity to survive its lamentably tired title and refrain, but for its beauty, it's both lyrically and melodically reconstituted from better ballads past, like "Pyramid Song", "How to Disappear Completely", and "The Tourist". For fans, it's another wondrous lullaby from Radiohead; for critics, it's not only nothing new, it's topically laughable, as Thom cautions: "Maybe you'll be president/ But know right from wrong/ Or in the flood/ You'll build an Ark/ And sail us to the moon." An apocalyptic vision with all the emotional impact of AI.

"Backdrifts" is the first beacon signaling that Radiohead haven't lost touch with the radical experimentalism of Kid A and Amnesiac. It's a carefully attended piece that's easily overlooked on first listen, featuring a boxed-in, minimal collection of sine waves, gurgling vocal delay and distorted drum machine loops. Towards the middle, the band cuts loose with reverse-echoed piano and guitar swipes to approximate scratching vinyl. "Go to Sleep", a tightened retread of Amnesiac's Smiths tribute "Knives Out", drapes Old West reverb and twang over hugely mixed acoustic guitars. The tune carries through a surprisingly traditional half-time rock and roll chorus as Yorke rambles through placeholder lyrics, alternating tossed-off lines like, "We don't want the loonies taking over," with the constant response, "Over my dead body."

This leads into "Where I End and You Begin", which is the only real low point on the album, as aside from Yorke's vocals, it's a U2 song. Shuffling snare rolls usher along an admittedly succulent liquid bassline, but these are only drawn out from their terrestrial locus by a hard-panned pair of keyboard tracks, which, for their simplicity, save an otherwise underdeveloped track. The finale is more alluring with its raspy whispers and excellent melodic interplay, but it's mostly chaos, stacked high to mask the creative nudity underneath.

"We Suck Young Blood" returns to the piano mode the band has explored increasingly since Kid A, a sort of drunken New Orleans death dirge that embodies its vampiric title, creeping along at a measured, sickly pace that's punctuated only by languid, distanced handclaps. The approach pays off hugely here, as Yorke's gorgeous, metallic whinny embraces the stumbling progression with harmony after harmony, and moments of depressed, gentle wistfulness.

Along with "Backdrifts", "The Gloaming" exposes the band's potential future. Simple, looping glitches and obstinate videogame blurts dash all expectations, remaining resolutely compact, using huge reverb plates that allow Yorke to sing over his own voice. It's arguably academic in its basic composition, a theoretical dare, but it's one of few on this relatively sociable record, a kind of reward for the more studious members of their audience.

Which is where the advance single "There There" comes in, the unification of all of Radiohead's recently mixed aims (Jonny wants to play with Moogs, Ed and Colin want to rock out, Thom wants to change music forever). They meet up in this terrifyingly strange yet straightforward anthem, full of beautiful and more universal lyrics, soaring harmonies and a thundering crescendo they've wisely trimmed from its concert length (the band used to launch into "rock" mode after Thom's midpoint scream). Yorke has said he wept uncontrollably when he heard the first mixdown of "There There", and the unmastered MP3s of Hail to the Thief which leaked in March support this: unlike most other tracks, "There There" is essentially unchanged.

Possibly even more inspiring and enduring are "Myxomatosis" and "A Wolf at the Door", two of the last tracks on the album. The former is a buzzing prog redux of OK Computer's "Airbag" that shows how the simplicity Radiohead strive for can work wonders with tempo; drums fall all over the track until Thom winds up a layered, head-spinning (drunk?) verse that spills the rhythm on the floor. It's a dizzying stereo-panned stomp, and one of this record's finest moments.

As usual, Radiohead save a masterstroke for the closing slot; "A Wolf at the Door" continues in the Slavic New Orleans jazz vein, the same kind of Russo-Bayou parlor waltz as Amnesiac's "Life in a Glasshouse". As with most of Hail to the Thief, "A Wolf at the Door" is thorough, refined and consequently more potent-- almost slick-- in comparison with its drunken, ephemeral predecessor. It's here, at the end of the record, that Yorke most openly deals with the impact of his physical assault three years ago and the fears he holds with regard to role-playing traps in society and relationships (nicely summarized in a quick nod to Bryan Forbes' terrifying The Stepford Wives). Evil is out there-- he's suffered its wrath-- and like a terrified Chechnyan matriarch, he relies on tangible protection from the fuckers and future come to ransom his child.

For its moments of gravity and excellence, Hail to the Thief is an arrow pointing toward the clearly darker, more frenetic territory the band have up to now only poked at curiously. Experimentation fueled the creativity that gave us Kid A and Amnesiac, but that's old hat to Radiohead, who are trying and largely succeeding in their efforts to shape pop music into as boundless and possible a medium as it should be. Without succumbing to dilettantism, they continue to absorb and refract simpler posits from the underground-- ideas that are usually satisfied to wallow in their mere novelty. The syncretic mania of Radiohead continues unabated, and though Hail to the Thief will likely be viewed as a slight placeholder once their promissory transformation is complete, most of us will long cherish the view from this bridge.

-Chris Ott, June 10th, 2003
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Old 06-10-2003, 10:04 AM   #621
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the pitchfork review is in!!

it's long...but nice...

and, very oddly, many many references to U2!!

man...radiohead are going to be regarded as the most important band of our time i will promise you that much. There's not a band around now that isn't influenced by them.

and every album they've made is really good. Subjectively, I even like Pablo Honey
I realize I'm in a minority there...but objectively, nobody can denie the greatness of bends and ok computer and kida

Pitchfork has never rated anything radiohead below 8.0...and that is really a testement coming from pitchfork...rating a "mainstream" band

Kid A - 10
Ok Computer - 10
HTTT - 9.3
Amnesiac - 9.0
I might be wrong - 8.0
Air bag/how am I driving - 9.2
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Old 06-10-2003, 10:05 AM   #622
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hey elvis!! you beat me to it you fucking bastard!!

I find the U2 references odd
pitchfork hates them and these references are nice...I think
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Old 06-10-2003, 10:18 AM   #623
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:01 PM   #624
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I'm on my second listen

i wish it was my job to listen to new albums all the time

--------

2 + 2 = 5....just a great radiohead song...if a but like Pearl Jam near the end. Anyone else notice on thoms voice seems to turn into eddy vedders at times? cool though, no gettin' around that!!

sit down. stand up......dim the lights, pass the leaf...thank you

Sail to the Moon....a pure work of beauty. Please, do build me an ark

Backdrifts.....I really love these industrial-sounding songs radiohead have been doing!! kinda like the idioteque of this album. idioteque meets spinning plates

Go to Sleep....again; a bit Pearl Jammy and the melody isn't as fun to sing along with as the others

Where I end and you begin.....perhaps I could see this as sounding like pop-era U2; but I'm not holding that against them...sweet lord...this is catchy stuff...nice bass work!

We suck young blood....we want sweet meats - not a bad song...not one of my favorites though

The Gloaming - More trancy, industrial goodness

There, There - awesome single material. It makes me want to dance around and scream the words when "we're all accidents" cuts in

I Will - Gold!! nothing better than when the harmony comes in on "White Elephants"

Punchup - a weaker moment of the album I think

Myxomatosis - maybe my second favorite on the album...I can't talk about it here now cos I may implode or combust. KICKS SERIOUS GROIN!

Scatterbrain - gold

a wolf at the door - best track on the album. I will stand by this...THOM HAS NEVER PHRASED LYRICS SO GREAT!!!

gah...


I have a feeling the mediocre ones will also grow on me. They're already growing on me during the second listen!!!

better than Kid A? no
than amnesiac? yes
than the bends and pablo honey? yes
than OK Computer....yet to be determined
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:05 PM   #625
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awesome review basstrap.

seeing as i live in the middle of nowhere, i wont be able to get the album for a while yet. thats just great really.
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Old 06-10-2003, 01:22 PM   #626
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I just purchased it
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Old 06-10-2003, 01:28 PM   #627
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OK, now I'm pissed I bought mine off the web, instead of waiting in line and seeing all the Radiohead geeks salivating over the 7 inches.
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Old 06-10-2003, 01:39 PM   #628
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Quote:
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Punchup - a weaker moment of the album I think

did you just say this? did i just read you saying "a weaker moment of the album"? WEAKER? perhaps you've been misinformed about what WEAKER means - you're implying it's LESS GOOD than other tracks. NOT AS GOOD. the change in the beginning from the download to the actual album is kinda iffy - i admit that. but that song is not the weaker point. if we're talking weaker, let's point at we suck young blood.


wolf at the door has these subtle changes that make it a hell of a lot better than the download. thom overlapped and did harmony to the chorus (steal all my children if i don't pay the ransom). it's hard to hear it, but i'm sure with how closely we're all listening at this point we're all going to hear it just fine


sail to the moon - they've kept this pretty much the same, no? but something about when the guitar comes out at 2 minutes is more like a release of the tension built up before then. the arpeggios the guitar is doing in the back are brought out a bit more and it makes the song more beautiful than it was before.


and best buy had it on sale for $10 already.
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:24 PM   #629
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Originally posted by david
I only got the special edition because I knew it had a larger lyric book and a free poster, I totally was suprised when the guy put a free 7 inch single in the bag.

That was pretty sweet, it only cost 18 dollars too.
Got both versions, also got a limited edition lithograph ofthe cover. super sweet. I love the new beginning of "sit down"

Ahhhhh....................
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:36 PM   #630
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how i long for the day when ill get my own copy.
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