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Old 11-06-2002, 08:43 PM   #1
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wink truth media critiques amnesiac

Overview: I have to admit that I was hooked onto Radiohead since the first day the played back in March of 1997 at my college. I just sat there, bobbing my head to their incredible beats and wonderful melodies, and I wondered if anything could possibly beat this album. Well I picked up a copy of "Amnesiac" and... well, let's just say I wasn't too excited.

Produced By: Radiohead and Nigel Godrich.

The Pros: Tom York has a definite musical talent that has the ability to push him over the edge. Unfortunately, he's about 50,000 miles away from getting to that point. Right now he just kind of mumbles words and says things that don't make much sense

The Cons: Over-hyped. Simply put, over-hyped. There was not enough good material on this entire CD to make on B-side CD, much less an entire album. Tom, maybe you should regroup with one of your old bands and go back to you country-western style that you've always wanted to pursue.







Nice outfit, gents. You've got like a zillion dollars, why don;t you stop shopping at K-Mart?

As the long-awaited follow-up to Radiohead's widely successful "Kid A," "Amnesiac" has a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, this collection of twelve obviously hastily thrown together songs is not only dead on arrival, but also rotting on arrival and stinking up the whole music industry. These Irish rockers better spend more time in the studio and less time drinking and doing drugs, because if they're not careful they'll end up like Manila Vanilla.

Sure, fresh-from-rehab bandleader Tom York pumps out some nifty guitar work on tracks like "Pyramid Song" and "Life Spinning Plates," but the end result is an exercise in empty promises and obvious homage-bordering-on-complete-ripoff of techno powerhouses such as Aphex Twin and The Chemical Lab. Amateurish turntable work on tracks like "Push/Pull Revolving Doors" and "I might be wrong" really cheapen what could have been a bold techno/rock experience in the tradition of Confrontation Camp.

"You and Whose Army" is a shocking, borderline pop anthem that sounds like Ricky Martin crossed with Marylin Manson after biting the head off a bat. Sneering proclamations of physical superiority are pasted over various layers of jazz and industrial grindage. Look for the video on MTV!

Tom York tries to sing, but then again, Manila Vanilla tried to rap. Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go astray. And sometimes men get laid like mice in an ashtray. On purpose. Who filled that ashtray? Tom York. Bill Clinton may not have inhaled, but Tom York certainly did.

Radiohead was founded in the mid-1980's at the prestigious Oxford University, and the pretentiousness of the band still shines through loud and clear. Drummer Phil Selway needs to get himself a Segway and motor along at 17 miles per hour away from the band and go back to growing potatoes. Please, for the sake of the fans, eject this no-talent leech on society. I think he designed the cover to this album, which explains why it looks like a communist pop tart. How ironic, since it's sure to sweep the pop charts!

To be fair, there are a few bright spots: "Hunting Bears" and "Like a Glass House" feature clever tongue-twisters and the pulse-pounding drum work of John Greenwood (yes, son of Lee) meshing nicely to his brother Colin's work on bass. However, most of the songs on this album fail to make sense once you really listen to the lyrics. Check out this excerpt from "Knifes Out":

So knives out
Catch the mouse
Don't look down
Shove it in your mouse
If you'd been a dog
They would have drowned you at Perth
Huh? Why bother catching a mouse if you're going to just shove it into another mouse? While I'm a big supporter of recycling, forced rodent cannibalism makes no sense to me whatsoever. And what's with the mean-spirited jab at Australia out of nowhere? Hey, I understand Irish nationalism and all that (IRA), but keep your worldviews to yourself next time!

Another sample from "Life Spinning Plates," which is about the circus:

While you make pretty speeches,
I'm being put to bed.
You feed me to the lions,
a definite balance
Sure, why not lie down and take a nap while being fed to lions? Tom York has lied before about his drug addiction. Why stop there? A definite balance? Looks like somebody fell off the wagon!

One more complaint: Ed O'Brien sounds more like Ed McMahon on "Amnesiac," his whiny, pseudo-rapping barely managing to escape the thundering cavalcade of metal mayhem. We don't feel sorry for you and never have. Frat boys may enjoy this crap, but we fellow musicians sure don't!

Some how, some way, Radiohead has managed to pump out another over-hyped, over-wordy album even more unlistenable than the disaster that was "OK Computer." This is what happens when success goes straight to your head and into your fingertips. Not surprisingly, one of the tracks is entitled "Dollars and Sense." Looks like somebody forgot their roots…

If I were a bear, I'd describe "Amnesiac" as a bear trap: you're walking around, enjoying the music, and thinking everything's great and then… BOOM! Your leg is one big gash of blood and torn up shreds of flesh. What a bear wants is honey, not leg bones popping out of their ankles at weird angles. "Amnesiac" is not honey, it's a bear trap, which is exactly what the bear doesn't want. Winnie the Pooh loves honey, so he'd hate "Amnesiac." Maybe Tigger would like it, but Tigger likes Limp Bizkit. Do you like Limp Bizkit? Oh you do? Here's your bear trap, buddy!

After listening to "Amnesiac," you'll wish you'd catch Amnesia. That way you would lose your memory and still think Radiohead was a cool band.


Plot: 3
Acting: 2
Special Effects: 4
Directing: 6
Music / Sound: 2
Overall: 14



----

i think hes pretty much on. what do you guys think?
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Old 11-06-2002, 09:02 PM   #2
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This is unof....



Sorry, wrong forum.
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Old 11-06-2002, 09:17 PM   #3
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wink

this is the correct forum.

i believe, because you have payed so much attention to me today meeganie, that you in fact are enthralled with yours trully.

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Old 11-06-2002, 09:28 PM   #4
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It's the hair.
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Old 11-06-2002, 09:59 PM   #5
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wink

yeah I read that a few months ago, I agree it's typical of what I've come to expect though from irish rockers like radiohead, with mice in an ashtray and Lee Greenwood's son on drums, they salvaged a few tracks such as "like a glass house" and "life spinning plates," with their catchy lyrics, though at times they get a little too political and xenaphobic

it's a definite balance
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Old 11-06-2002, 10:19 PM   #6
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Wasn't nearly as good as the two albums preceeding it, but had some really good moments w/ Life in a Glass House and such...I thought I Might Be Wrong was pretty good as well...after listening to it a few weeks back, it doesn't hold up as much as I thought it would.
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Old 11-06-2002, 10:31 PM   #7
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wink

it seems popular to dis Amnesiac, oh well, I thought it was a great album...
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Old 11-06-2002, 10:47 PM   #8
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Amnesiac has grown on me. This happened after I stopped caring about running themes and just started enjoying the hooks.


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Old 11-07-2002, 12:48 AM   #9
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Big Grin Re: truth media critiques amnesiac

That was very funny. I liked the bear part best. Honey not bear traps!
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Old 11-07-2002, 11:12 AM   #10
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www.pitchforkmedia.com is MUCH better!
they're picky but realy very fair. Even if you disagree with them one tends to understand where they're coming from.

They gave Kid a a 10!! which is rare rare rare.
amnesiac gets a 9...which is also very rare.
I appreciate them for their attention to detail.

Radiohead
Amnesiac
[Capitol]
Rating: 9.0
After months of waiting, and several tentative release dates, Amnesiac finally hit store shelves last Tuesday. Since last October, we've been hearing that this album, recorded during the same sessions as last year's wildly experimental Kid A, would serve as a return to the band's mid-90's roots. Now we come to find it was all a lie.

Not that it gets me down. As far as I'm concerned, Kid A is Radiohead's defining achievement. A total departure from the conventional rock formats of OK Computer and The Bends, Kid A drew from far more abstract and obscure influences than its predecessors. Whereas previous outings captured echoes of U2 and Pink Floyd, Kid A took what it could use from the Talking Heads, Can, Talk Talk, and modern-day IDM artists, and combined it with Radiohead's irrepressible originality and sparkling, alien production. Whether you liked the end result or not, the fact that they had the balls to challenge mainstream insipidness with such heroic creativity was admirable.

That said, Amnesiac is about as close to The Bends as Miss Cleo is to Jamaican. And within the first ten seconds of its opening track, "Packt like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box," the band crushes that rumor like a bug in the ground. Sparse, clanging percussion evokes abandoned swingsets. Keyboards whir to sonorous life, humming resonantly. Guitars are curiously marked absent. Production-wise, the track could have nestled cozily alongside Kid A's strangest moments, yet its melody is stunningly more infectious than even that album's height of accessibility, "Optimistic." Amidst chattering synths and twisted metal, Thom Yorke casually insists that he's "a reasonable man," and politely intones the album's most quoted lyric: "Get off my case."

The clattering, confrontational "Packt" segues awkwardly into "Pyramid Song," a sweeping piano-and-strings ballad, whose unusual timing is difficult to nail down until Phil Selway's live drums give perspective on the punchdrunk rhythm. Yorke croons some of his most poetic lyrics since "No Surprises," inspired by passages from Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. Amidst swelling orchestration and Satie-esque piano chords, Yorke croons a dream-like scenario in which he's visited by black-eyed angels, and his past and future loves.

4/4 traditionalists will take an immediate liking to the very OK Computer-ish "Dollars and Cents," whose lyrical content is strikingly similar to the anti-government, anti-corporate themes expressed on the 1997 classic. Jonny Greenwood's minimal, warped guitarwork and distant string arrangements float celestially over brother Colin's menacing basslines and Selway's delicate drumming. "Knives Out" is another OK Computer-style reverbathon, replete with strummed acoustics, chiming electrics, and a not-too-tasteful rehashing of a prominent guitar line from "Paranoid Android." Great melody. However, they've fucking used it before. The song also loses points for containing the line, "Shove it in your mouth." Really, Thom.

Similarly disappointing is "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors." Powered by a gritty industrial beat, the song's intentional abstractness, for the first time ever, seems forced and caricatured. Thom's MacinYorke vocal treatments never seemed terribly groundbreaking, and here, the gimmick has gone utterly limp. Yorke's lyrical content is also at its most unchallenging, as he educates us on the many varieties of doors that exist, over oafish, programmed beats worthy of a Cleopatra Records sampler. Elsewhere, "Hunting Bears" is a two-minute instrumental clip of aimless guitar noodling that shoots for Neil Young's Dead Man soundtrack but comes off as a cutrate Wish You Were Here outtake. A track like this is meant to segue into a related piece of music; instead, we're flung headfirst into the completely dissimilar "Like Spinning Plates."

If nothing else, Radiohead have always realized the emotional impact of a stunning album closer, and Amnesiac offers two. Sitting side by side, "Like Spinning Plates" and "Life in a Glasshouse" are so vastly superior to the album's other tracks that the album's few misteps are easily forgiven. "Spinning Plates," while a much better fit for Kid A, is nonetheless one of Radiohead's most affecting tracks to date. It opens with a digitally simulated "spinning" sound, disorienting reversed keyboard, and subtle keyboard pings. The song hits its peak when Yorke's indecipherable backwards vocals unexpectedly revert to traditional forward singing during the mournful climax, "And this just feels like/ Spinning plates/ My body's floating down a muddy river."

But if "Like Spinning Plates" would have been a fitting apex for Kid A, "Life in a Glasshouse" is entirely suited to the eclectic Amnesiac. Rather than creating a unique, Frankensteinian amalgamation from fragments of other genres, Radiohead instead target a style of music that hasn't been touched for decades: Edison-era big band. In the process of adapting the archaic jazz sound to polyrhythmic piano chords and rock lyricism, Radiohead touch upon an incredibly unique sound that could potentially inspire an entirely new genre.

"Glasshouse" is most easily (and most often) likened to a New Orleans funeral dirge-- probably because it's not far off the mark. Largely inspired by Louis Armstrong's "St James Infirmary," this track is the least like the others on Amnesiac, and easily the record's winning moment. When, amidst rueful trombone, tumbling clarinet, and the crushingly emotive trumpet of longtime BBC session musician Humphrey Lyttelton, Yorke insists, "Of course I'd like to sit around and chat/ Of course I'd like to stay and chew the fat," and follows it with a minute of wailing "only, only, only... there's someone listening in," the intensity is indescribable.

Despite the heights attained by much of Amnesiac, I prefer Kid A for a number of reasons. Quality aside, the questionable sequencing of Amnesiac does little to hush the argument that the record is merely a thinly veiled b-sides compilation; Kid A played out as a cohesive whole that evoked panic and paranoia as well as surrealism and disorientation. Still, Amnesiac's highlights were undeniably worth the wait, and easily overcome its occasional patchiness. Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go untie DiCrescenzo.

-Ryan Schreiber
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Old 11-07-2002, 11:36 AM   #11
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I was initially dissapointed in this album too. However, as soon as I stopped comparing it to Kid A, which is impossible, I really started to enjoy it! It grew on me and now I really like it....
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