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Old 07-08-2005, 12:17 PM   #136
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You did a good job with those quotes proving Layton is wrong in that the band is definitely not TRYING to hide certain sides of them or TRYING to make their music cerebral and impenetrable and unsexy.

At the same time, they didn't necessarily succeed in making Hail to the Thief what they say it is. With a couple songs exception I don't think it fits what they say about it very well. That's a normal thing, for the band's perception of a record to be completely different from mine. This is almost always true. For example they once described Kid A as "looking at the fire from afar" and Amnesiac as "in the fire." And described Kid A as cold, and Amnesiac as warm. It's the opposite for me.

I see Amnesiac as a sexier album than Hail to the Thief. I would not try to claim it's one of the sexiest, most swaggering albums ever. Definitely not. Radiohead just doesn't make that kind of music, but U2 doesn't either.
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Old 07-08-2005, 01:12 PM   #137
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For the first 7 pages, you guys had a great argument going here. I'm a "Radiohead fan" and I found it impressive. There wasn't necessarily a point, and you should probably stop now because no one is convincing anyone and the arguments are getting lazier and more boring. But it was fun. Radiohead forums are too hung up on Radiohead's self-evident brilliance to get at some of these things.

Of course, Layton is wrong. If only because he has changed his argument over the course of the thread as he realized what he originally proposed was laughable-- so at this point all his argument boils down to is "Radiohead is too intellectual and I don't like their fans." But later on he did hit on some good points in spite of himself and I didn't see Cujo refute them. No hard feelings, he's right, that's what arguments are for. It's his opinion. Putting it out there for us to refute it makes the world more interesting, but we're still gonna refute it.

Now at first there was the "no rhythm" thing. That was rightfully swept under the rug when you realized how lame it was. They don't always have a lot of it as you define it, but U2 doesn't either, and apparently they can still rate at the A level-- soul and funk and blues musicians as influences is different from a soul and funk and blues outcome, as you'd know if you followed Radiohead enough to know Colin Greenwood (bassist) lives for Booker T & the MGs, all of them are reggae addicts, Thom favors Prince and Gilberto Gil and even called Outkast's "Hey Ya" one of the greatest things ever long before that was what every white guy thought, actually, maybe before the record was even out. It was early summer 2003.

There's tons of jazz going into the last few albums, especially Amnesiac. I don't know if jazz has the kind of rhythm you're thinking of. Probably not jazz by Mingus, Alice Coltrane, or late Miles Davis. You probably think that stuff is too intellectual. There's some hidden racism in that "rockist" critique of Radiohead you make at the beginning. The idea that pasty people can only be fully in touch with themselves when they steal a conga line and a blues riff and a gospel choir from primitive Negroes. I guess black people stopped being black around the '60s and '70s and '80s when they started developing nontraditional forms of music, the types Radiohead mostly draws from.

But anyway, if it matters, Radiohead have stolen plenty from "primitive" black people as well, and occasionally it even shows up in their music. You would be hard pressed to find anything by any current white band that's as funky as the b-side "Paperbag Writer."

But really, it's all about "There There." They call it a Can homage, but if you'd ever heard the live version (try the original performance, from Portugal, July 2002), I think you might have not made this thread in the first place. It fulfills all the cliches anyone could want of an A list rockist rock band-- gospel, blues, soul, rawwwk, and still distinctively Radiohead, so just different enough from the cliches. It sounds sexy till it gets all distorted, and it could even be ABOUT sex.

Yeah, there are a lot of rhythmic or soul-influenced Radiohead songs besides that, which the good people here have pointed out (the b-side "Bishop's Robes" even) but "There There" was the first one that indisputably sounds that way. The studio version is typical, clinical, controlled-chaos Radiohead style-- still brilliant, but not what I'm talking about. Download that mp3, or see them live next time (all the band members play drums on it), and if you still believe in that original stupid argument right now, you no longer will. I admit, hearing "There There" felt great maybe for some of the reasons you said. We could use more songs like that from Radiohead.

And that brings me to your other points, the surprisingly good ones you made when you stopped with the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame crap. See, I agree with you: I'm not sure I would want to jump to any conclusions before their next record, but Hail to the Thief was unexciting, at best. A couple songs aside, it did absolutely nothing to advance Radiohead's right to be included among the great fearless pioneers-- that's your angle. That doesn't matter to me since I'm not a list maker for Rolling Stone, although I agree. But my angle is, it did absolutely nothing to advance its own sociopolitical arguments, or much more importantly, move listeners, that the earlier two albums hadn't done far better. Radiohead makes albums for themselves. U2 doesn't. Cujo has to be applauded for pointing this out on a U2 site-- the difference is, no matter how stale HTTT may be, and it IS stale, it does not sell itself out except by having weaker songs than usual. If anyone is calculating everything today it's U2, or nu-U2 as I like to call them, for their lack of resemblance to the great band that existed last millennium. Radiohead are in a bit of a rut right now, judging by their last effort, and Layton is correct-- a new approach is needed. But their reputation is in less danger than U2's. There's an expression in Christianity which I'm sure U2 fans would be familiar with-- "searching." Radiohead is doing it no matter how redundant that last album was, and U2 has stopped. Even if their music still sounded good, that would be a very bad thing.

Listened to Passengers for the first time today. I have to say, this is quite f*cking amazing. AND, yes, for once, it actually is Radioheadish. I always thought U2 had been more of a career than musical influence on RH, showing them which ways to go (and not to go). There was a lot of U2 in their very, very early music, under the name On a Friday (check out "Jerusalem / Mr. B," "Give It Up" or "What is that You Say"), but since then the only similarity I heard was both bands were melodic and anthemic. Pop addresses very similar concerns as Kid A, from a Christian perspective. But musically-- at the other end of "electronica."

This Passengers thing might change my mind. It's a lot more subtle than anything else U2 has ever done, and some of it's slightly dissonant and jazzy. Calling Radiohead subtle seems wrong, but Kid A and Amnesiac are, in a way that Zooropa and Pop aren't. Passengers is that way too. The problem is I don't think it means anything.

I mean, Zooropa and Pop are great, but they feel like unfinished masterpieces. Problem is, the type of "finishing" U2 would have applied to them would have been the wrong kind. Take the best half of Zooropa and merge it with Passengers, you would have U2's best album, easily. What they should have done is written music like "Passengers" for those songs on Pop, to do them justice. Now you rhythm obsessives who buy into the laughable Springsteen quote have all gotten your wish: they're the new old Stones. No less, and no more. In commercial terms, of course.

So that's U2's greatest weakness: underestimating their audience. Save the real experiments for the fake band with the throwaway lyrics, and produce every track you care about until you feel it's ready for acceptance by every single human on earth. This is usually called "pandering" and "watering down" (or "selling out") but somehow U2 have gotten around the term. I want to believe in their artistic sincerity and desire for things other than money, but really at some point, they've gotta be ranked against everyone else. The last album was that point. If they are out of it enough to believe such enforced blandness is necessary because no one will hear of them otherwise, that's delusional enough to not be an excuse. Every time they come out with an album the press has to act like the last multimillion-seller was a failure just to justify the hype. U2 wants their music heard no matter what, and at least now, always makes it with that in mind. Radiohead wants to make whatever music they want and getting it heard is the bonus. Both bands could stand to learn a little from the other's approach, but there's no doubt which is worth more. The song "I Forgot More than You'll Ever Know" comes to mind when comparing the bands. Ultimately, does it really matter what U2 supposedly did first? They've disavowed any of their innovations by making it look like that was all just about securing a "Respectable" berth in rock history. After a decade of brilliantly blurring the line between art and commerce, they simply embraced commerce, laughing in our faces. It's Radiohead that has kept up the legacy of what U2 supposedly did, but maybe never did after all, who knows. And we know they won't laugh in our faces. Even when their music is dull, they don't even care what we think, and that's really refreshing.
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Old 07-08-2005, 01:19 PM   #138
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So that's U2's greatest weakness: underestimating their audience. Save the real experiments for the fake band with the throwaway lyrics, and produce every track you care about until you feel it's ready for acceptance by every single human on earth. This is usually called "pandering" and "watering down" (or "selling out") but somehow U2 have gotten around the term. I want to believe in their artistic sincerity and desire for things other than money, but really at some point, they've gotta be ranked against everyone else. The last album was that point. If they are out of it enough to believe such enforced blandness is necessary because no one will hear of them otherwise, that's delusional enough to not be an excuse. Every time they come out with an album the press has to act like the last multimillion-seller was a failure just to justify the hype. U2 wants their music heard no matter what, and at least now, always makes it with that in mind. Radiohead wants to make whatever music they want and getting it heard is the bonus. Both bands could stand to learn a little from the other's approach, but there's no doubt which is worth more. The song "I Forgot More than You'll Ever Know" comes to mind when comparing the bands. Ultimately, does it really matter what U2 supposedly did first? They've disavowed any of their innovations by making it look like that was all just about securing a "Respectable" berth in rock history. After a decade of brilliantly blurring the line between art and commerce, they simply embraced commerce, laughing in our faces. It's Radiohead that has kept up the legacy of what U2 supposedly did, but maybe never did after all, who knows. And we know they won't laugh in our faces. Even when their music is dull, they don't even care what we think, and that's really refreshing.
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Old 07-08-2005, 01:48 PM   #139
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The verbose RH fans have arrived. Let the hate for U2 flow.
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Old 07-08-2005, 02:11 PM   #140
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The verbose RH fans have arrived. Let the hate for U2 flow.
My favorite bands are 1) U2 and then 2) Radiohead.


Why does everyone on here think that every Radiohead fan is a giant turd eating doucher who hates U2? There's normal ones like me...
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Old 07-08-2005, 02:19 PM   #141
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My favorite bands are 1) U2 and then 2) Radiohead.


Why does everyone on here think that every Radiohead fan is a giant turd eating doucher who hates U2? There's normal ones like me...
ALOT of this thread has been dedicated to defending RH, and knocking U2.
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Old 07-08-2005, 02:45 PM   #142
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ALOT of this thread has been dedicated to defending RH, and knocking U2.
True, but not very relevant. This threat perhaps has had 50-100 people on it. Radiohead has millions of fans across the globe.
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:26 PM   #143
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Originally posted by bread n' whine

Of course, Layton is wrong. If only because he has changed his argument over the course of the thread as he realized what he originally proposed was laughable-- so at this point all his argument boils down to is "Radiohead is too intellectual and I don't like their fans."

Now at first there was the "no rhythm" thing. That was rightfully swept under the rug when you realized how lame it was. They don't always have a lot of it as you define it, but U2 doesn't either, and apparently they can still rate at the A level-- soul and funk and blues musicians as influences is different from a soul and funk and blues outcome, as you'd know if you followed Radiohead enough to know Colin Greenwood (bassist) lives for Booker T & the MGs, all of them are reggae addicts, Thom favors Prince and Gilberto Gil and even called Outkast's "Hey Ya" one of the greatest things ever long before that was what every white guy thought, actually, maybe before the record was even out. It was early summer 2003.

There's tons of jazz going into the last few albums, especially Amnesiac. I don't know if jazz has the kind of rhythm you're thinking of. Probably not jazz by Mingus, Alice Coltrane, or late Miles Davis. You probably think that stuff is too intellectual. There's some hidden racism in that "rockist" critique of Radiohead you make at the beginning. The idea that pasty people can only be fully in touch with themselves when they steal a conga line and a blues riff and a gospel choir from primitive Negroes. I guess black people stopped being black around the '60s and '70s and '80s when they started developing nontraditional forms of music, the types Radiohead mostly draws from.

Listened to Passengers for the first time today. I have to say, this is quite f*cking amazing. AND, yes, for once, it actually is Radioheadish. I always thought U2 had been more of a career than musical influence on RH, showing them which ways to go (and not to go).

This is usually called "pandering" and "watering down" (or "selling out") but somehow U2 have gotten around the term. I want to believe in their artistic sincerity and desire for things other than money, but really at some point, they've gotta be
Ok, great post. There's real analysis there. I respect that, greatly. I'm going to reply to 5 full or partial paragraphs that I've quoted.

First, how you boil my argument down is too simplistic. I've never said I don't like Radiohead fans. I am one. Yes, I've criticised a few of those fans in here for being protectionist, but I think that was valid in those cases. I don't think all RH fans are that way. As for changing my argument, I guess I've done a bad job of articulating myself. I still believe in the no rhythm argument from my very first post. I also believe it ties together with everything I've said about them disproportionately representing themselves. To me, rhythm is the ultimate indicator in pop music (of which RH belongs) of being in touch with a more primitive sense of self and and correspondingly utilizing that sense to relate to their existence in the world. I believe that RH has underrepresented themselves in this area and that the tendencies that lead them to underrepresent themselves are a weakness.

This gets us to your second paragraph. It's great that they admire all the artists, you mentioned, but it says nothing about their capacity to execute any influence derived. Now I want it on the record that you brought up U2. I've been lambasted by a few for doing so, earlier. This time it's not me, but I'm going to argue your point that U2 doesn't have rhythm in the way I've defined it. I think that U2 has has sense and feel for pulse that is leaps and bounds beyond RH's sense and feel for pulse and pulse is a very primitive way of relating to existence.

Thirdly, you brought up jazz and race. I gave my thoughts on the jazz thing in an earlier post. I'll reiterate it if you can't find it and are interested, but for the time being I'll spare repeating myself for the others' reading. As for race, I'm impressed you brought this up. I fully realize that I'm treading on racial/cultural stereotypes with my sophistication vs. primitive points. Essentially, one could say that my argument is that RH is too Euro. That would be true if that same person believes in the European stereotype for whatever reason. I don't. As I've said many times, I believe that we're all about 50/50 in our makeup between those two traits. Where and how you were raised might contribute to a skewing of that ratio. There's nothing racist in stating the thought that someone may've been born and raised in an overly sophisticated/primitive environment that cultivated the over-development of that side of their humanity. That just means it's gonna take extra effort to develop the other natural half of their humanity. I don't believe RH has put in that extra effort and thus have begun to succumb to their dominant humanist and creative tendencies.

Fouthly, it's wonderful that you discovered Passengers. I agree that it definately shows how U2 or more specifically Brian Eno's work with U2 has influenced RH.

Lastly, regarding your points about U2's pandering and money striving. I believe those are a major oversimplification. I've addressed my theories about current U2 in the album has a name forum. I'm not going to repeat all that here. I will say that I'm not in total disagreement about your criticisms, but there's much more that's worth analyzing than your ideas suggest. Again, this isn't the place to do it, though.
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:50 PM   #144
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Let me sum up what you critizise about radiohead: They think too much about their music, they have too many sad songs and they've got no sexy rhythms. They should learn to swagger.

These are some snaps of interviews with the members of radiohead after the release of "Hail To The Thief":

Ed from radiohead describes the sessions to HTTT: "It was the best recording experience we ever had. We finished one song each day we were booked. We didn't over-scrutinize. We didn't get too cerebral. We trusted in ourselves, Nigel, the studio and the songs and just let go, really. This time we captured our actual energy. As a Radiohead fan, the last thing you had was Amnesiac and... I’ll be honest. I don’t like it very much. There are things I really don’t like about it. This time the energy is there. It’s not so cerebral, it’s more physical. This is the first time we’ve had that punky adolescence energy since The Bends."
Thom Yorke describes the HTTT-sessions: "The music sounds really positive to me. There's a darkness to it but it's also really shiny and bright. Direct music, quick, not thinking about it too much, just letting things happen. I think this is a sexy record. The rhythms are very sexy where the beats fall. It has its own sexy pulse. " And later he says: "To me, a song like `We Suck Young Blood' has got a real humour to it. When I hear it, I think it's sick, but it's funny. The bubble's burst in the middle when we go into this terrible jazz exploration. There's a queasiness and terror to it, but there's also a joy, a not terribly serious side to it. It's the most fun record we've made."
In another interview (that I can't find at the moment), Thom says that they were listening to their live record "I Might Be Wrong" and they realized that the live versions had an energy the album versions were missing. So with Hail To THe Thief they tried to capture this energy.
And Ed says in another interview that during the recording process "we as a band really learned to swagger". And he compares this with a certain period when the Rolling Stones started to play more blues.
And there is also an interview where Colin Greenwood asks the interviewer: "Does it work?"
"Does what work?"
"The Listening. People always say we make melancholic autumn music. This time we really tried to make our summer record."

So, my question is: Are radiohead totally wrong about their last album or is it possible that you didn't listen carefully enough to it?
Excellent, excellent.

They tried, but failed is how I think of HTTT. Thus their weakness in action. Those quotes prove that they know of what I speak. Why do you think they were striving to be more direct? Sexy where the beats fall? Play more blues? Swagger? Sound shiny and bright? Find joy? Less cerebral?

Those quotes are their interpretation of what I've articulated.
THEY know their weakness. I give them credit for that. They may've tried to do something about it, but HTTT doesn't get the job done. I swear most RH fans KNOW that album isn't great. Bread'n'Wine is a good example of that type of fan.

I also am curious to know what RH fans think of those quotes. One guy told me that it's great that RH doesn't do blues based rock like everybody else. Ed seems to want to go that direction. Uh oh!!

Also don't you guys think all those quotes about sexiness, being more direct and generating summery joy reminds you of you know who. That' a massive UH OH!!!!
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Old 07-08-2005, 04:06 PM   #145
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Excellent, excellent.

They tried, but failed is how I think of HTTT. Thus their weakness in action. Those quotes prove that they know of what I speak. Why do you think they were striving to be more direct? Sexy where the beats fall? Play more blues? Swagger? Sound shiny and bright? Find joy? Less cerebral?

Those quotes are their interpretation of what I've articulated.
THEY know their weakness. I give them credit for that. They may've tried to do something about it, but HTTT doesn't get the job done. I swear most RH fans KNOW that album isn't great. Bread'n'Wine is a good example of that type of fan.

I also am curious to know what RH fans think of those quotes. One guy told me that it's great that RH doesn't do blues based rock like everybody else. Ed seems to want to go that direction. Uh oh!!

Also don't you guys think all those quotes about sexiness, being more direct and generating summery joy reminds you of you know who. That' a massive UH OH!!!!
They're at a crossroad in their career that's very similar to U2 and REM in 1988. By 88, both U2 and REM had their huge albums, an established sound, and VERY dedicated fans. They'd been making records for almost a decade, and both forced a change with wonderful results. Out Of Time & Achtung Baby. A year or so later, each band followed up their experimental records with more of the same, Zooropa and Automatic.

Can RH do the same? A real left turn that makes 1/2 their fans run away in terror (As AB and Out Of Time did.) It almost seems they've built up such a mystique that it hurts them. I'd LOVE it if they made the summery record they thought they made!
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Old 07-08-2005, 04:10 PM   #146
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You did a good job with those quotes proving Layton is wrong in that the band is definitely not TRYING to hide certain sides of them or TRYING to make their music cerebral and impenetrable and unsexy.
The suppressed feel I sense in their albums, I think you're addressing with the TRYING not to hide comment is more subconscious than conscious. Sure, they try to combat bad creative habits, like the ones I've pointed out numerous times, but I don't believe they've put in the extra effort to reach a capacity to get it done.

This might be where Cujo's purified creative process ideas come into play. Maybe they tried too hard on HTTT. In other words, the process wasn't pure enough to get to what they were after. Of course, Cujo claimed RH was never after anything. 'They just allowed themselves to go where the process took them', but if that process is full of overused creative habits it will just take them to where they've been before and before. Thus HTTT. It's gonna take some major artistic effort to reach the under developed side of their humanity in a subconscious enough of a way to allow 'process' to take them somewhere elite. Truthfully, I'm rooting for them to pull it off.
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Old 07-08-2005, 04:29 PM   #147
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They're at a crossroad in their career that's very similar to U2 and REM in 1988. By 88, both U2 and REM had their huge albums, an established sound, and VERY dedicated fans. They'd been making records for almost a decade, and both forced a change with wonderful results. Out Of Time & Achtung Baby. A year or so later, each band followed up their experimental records with more of the same, Zooropa and Automatic.

Can RH do the same? A real left turn that makes 1/2 their fans run away in terror (As AB and Out Of Time did.) It almost seems they've built up such a mystique that it hurts them. I'd LOVE it if they made the summery record they thought they made!
Absolutely no doubt about that. I'm amazed more RH fans in here don't see this. Maybe, I've been cruel with my blinders comments to Cujo, but it just stuns me when the RH defenders can't at least admit to this. They've played out an entire aspect of their artistry and I'm convinced THEY know it. Why can't the defenders realize it, too is beyond me.

Also, U2popMofo and others have pointed out numerous times how U2 has declined nowadays. Even if this is true, it's apples and oranges. U2 has ALREADY proven to have had 2 decades of greatness. Any quibbles with their current output is just a quibble with their attempt at a 3rd decade of greatness. RH has only proven 1 decade of greatness. HTTT was their first attempt at the elusive 2nd decade. Given the obligatory Best Of or two that will most likely come (the record company will probably demand it, soon), they aren't going to have a whole lot of attempts (already at least 3 yrs between HTTT and next album). They better start making the most of them.
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Old 07-08-2005, 06:11 PM   #148
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U2 has ALREADY proven to have had 2 decades of greatness. Any quibbles with their current output is just a quibble with their attempt at a 3rd decade of greatness. RH has only proven 1 decade of greatness. HTTT was their first attempt at the elusive 2nd decade. Given the obligatory Best Of or two that will most likely come (the record company will probably demand it, soon), they aren't going to have a whole lot of attempts (already at least 3 yrs between HTTT and next album). They better start making the most of them.
By this reasoning wouldnt U2 be automatically ahead of the Beatles, since the Beatles only had "one decade of greatness." And Nick Drake must not have been great at all since he only did three albums. This is a stupid kind of reasoning. "making the most of them"? They should take every album as it comes. The minute Radiohead take your advice and think about their overall career and reputation over other things, they will be vulnerable to becoming like nu-U2, who seem to have got the idea that if only they can remain (commercially) "relevant" for one more decade, they will be the greatest band that ever existed.

As to whether they've actually "played out an entire aspect of their artistry," I don't know. That's the first impression you get from HTTT, but there are songs on it where Radiohead is as Radioheadish as they've ever been and it's still exciting and new-- "A Wolf at the Door," "There There," and even "Scatterbrain." The problem with that one is the overproduction, which is going to have to improve. But if "Scatterbrain" was done as a more folky song without those silly voice-echoes, like it was live, it would seem to show they still have unlimited potential to mine even within their usual type of songwriting. What if someone had told REM they needed to make a radical shift after Out of Time because that style was all played out? It turns out the album just had weaker than usual songs. Automatic for the People is largely the same, except brilliant.

The easy thing is always to ask a band to be what it isn't. But U2 never really did that. At first what you said sounded right but then I thought about it. Achtung is a left turn musically from The Joshua Tree, but emotionally those songs follow right along from "Running to Stand Still," "Where the Streets Have No Name" et al. Even some of the music is similar-- "Mothers of the Disappeared" with the drum machines, the guitar riffs of "Wire" and "Bullet the Blue Sky." They just changed the setting to the grimy modern big city, made the lyrics less pretentious, but the songwriting is not fundamentally changed-- except in a few cases later in the '90s where it is genuinely "ironic." Such as "Discotheque." But even then it's not really "ironic," because at the end of the song they remind you what they really believe. A song like "The National Anthem" or "Fitter Happier" is far more ironic.

So anyway, everyone's temptation when Radiohead's in a rut has been to say, "Now it's time for the happy album." That would be nice. It would be nice not because I like happy music particularly, but because it's not something they've done yet. But there are a lot of other things they've not done yet either, that wouldn't require such a radical shift. Asking RH to make a happy album is asking them to make an album that doesn't question the state of the world and that's kind of like asking U2 to make an album that promotes violence. Just not gonna happen. I'm not sure Thom's voice could pull off "happy" very well.

I guess I'm saying, however played out the traditional Radiohead subject matter may seem to you, resist the temptation to assume it can't be livened up again by a better set of songs or a different kind of sound than last time around. The next album IS going to sound different, I can guarantee that. Whether it will be an improvement, who knows.
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Old 07-09-2005, 01:49 PM   #149
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congratulations, ladies and gentlemen.

this thread has raised discussion over at at ease.

http://www.ateaseweb.com/mb/index.php?showtopic=52476

yours truly,

soylent green
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Old 07-09-2005, 02:54 PM   #150
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cross over is bad.

I would like to keep the two boards seperate...I like the current Interferencers over there now ( )...but could do without any more cross over.

Welcome, Bread and Wine!
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