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Old 06-25-2005, 04:03 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy


Radiohead span the entire range of emotions from deeply gloomy to mildy pessimistic!
Lol----That's really not a very large span. At least not relative to U2's span. As I've said, I'm a Radiohead fan, but I think they have some things to prove, yet. Amnesiac and Hail To The Thief didn't deliver much new to the usual Radiohead emotional motif. I really think they're at an artistic crossroad. If they're gonna pull out a second decade of artistic greatness, I think they're gonna have to explore some new colors. This is the one thing that is holding them back from true rock elite status. Now, I know from all the rebuttals to my previous posts that the colors and feelings of sexuality/sensuality in the rhythm department are out of bounds according to the devoted Radiohead fans here---lol. So then it will have to something else. It's kind of an exciting time in one's career to have something to prove, though. A second decade of greatness is very elusive in rock. Hopefully, they'll want it bad enough.
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Old 06-25-2005, 04:11 PM   #62
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At first listen, I found the "emotional range" of Radiohead to be quite focused on an introspective malaise... but after listening to the band for many years, my understanding has matured to the point where I appreciate their subtle shifts in mood and thought far more than the boisterous musical acts that use emotion as a gimmick. Some artists are successful in the overt pop genre, but substantial content can easily get lost in attempts to convey a certain type of emotion... rather than expanding on an element of the human condition. The mastery of Radiohead is not in their ability to express depression in the minor chords, but it is found in the instances where they create an album environment that elaborates upon the full spectrum of feeling (within a theme usually). A Radiohead song out of context can easily be interpreted as melancholy and devoid of emotional variety, but through the development of an album, a composition emerges that sensitively etches out thoughts of jubilation, remorse, obsession, and dare I say desire.

Underneath the sheath of their artistically repressed perception, there still exists a drive on behalf of the members to make musical pieces that challenge their musicianship. Devoid of emotion... that's a fair assumption at times, but it's hard to deny the passion and almost psychosexual commitment that goes into the delivery of their live concerts. In that regard, it's hard to accuse them of lacking primal human urges. Mr. Greenwood most certainly is in a funk world of his own.

I have certainly lauded this band a lot, but my argument is pretty simple. The elements of sensuality and groove exist in some Radiohead albums, but not in the obvious senses. It requires acclimatization to recognize the finer moments of emotional subtlety. Of course, if you don't hear it yourself maybe it isn't there.

My one wish is that Radiohead doesn't pursue a good deal of suggestions in this thread (they shouldn't listen to anyone really). For them to make a record that encompassed sex, groove, and the flamboyantly obvious would be so derivatively boring that... I don't know. They would have to invent a new crappy genre name.

Unfettered folk music.
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Old 06-25-2005, 05:21 PM   #63
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Cujo, that's a great post. A very good description of what Radiohead does artistically. You put their emotional palette and how they operate in that palette better than I could have. I still believe that they suppress the more primitive side of their humanity in the studio. I think by allowing themselves to go there, they could really expand the emotional palette you so aptly described. It doesn't necessarily have to a sexual thing. What about love? Love alone is a very primitive thing. This is another example of what Radiohead could delve into theme wise. I mean, these guys are pushing 40. I'm sure they love their wives, children and parents. What if they gave that a go? The challenge would be to find a uniquely Radiohead way of taking it on.
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Old 06-25-2005, 05:24 PM   #64
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:29 PM   #65
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Originally posted by TheRooster
I think in the decades to come Radiohead will be mentioned with the "elite" groups of the past, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Police, U2. In fact I think they will overshadow the more popular choice of Nirvana as the band of the 90s. I think the rules that they play by are what will make them great. For 40 years rock bands have been playing by the same rules and Radiohead turned against that and made something just as good if not better. However a Radiohead cover of Baby Got Back would be quite amusing.
'Fraid not mate.

They will always be eclipsed by the aforementioned "elite", even if it is merely because they fail to generate radioplay and maninstream appeal.

If they "like the idea" of being grouped with these other bands, then they will need to make more accessible music, albiet music that is nothing like any other "mainstream" music that has been written before hand.

They do have the ability to "sex up" their sound, and I think songs such as There There and Black Star emphasise this
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:46 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally posted by Layton
Cujo, that's a great post. A very good description of what Radiohead does artistically. You put their emotional palette and how they operate in that palette better than I could have. I still believe that they suppress the more primitive side of their humanity in the studio. I think by allowing themselves to go there, they could really expand the emotional palette you so aptly described. It doesn't necessarily have to a sexual thing. What about love? Love alone is a very primitive thing. This is another example of what Radiohead could delve into theme wise. I mean, these guys are pushing 40. I'm sure they love their wives, children and parents. What if they gave that a go? The challenge would be to find a uniquely Radiohead way of taking it on.
But love is all over their albums. Hail to The Thief played a lot on Thom's fears of the world his children will grow up in. They"re radiohead, so your not gonna ever see "I love you, dear"...I think I'd throw up.
"I will
lay me down
in a bunker
underground

I won't let this happen to my children
meet the real world coming out of your shell
With white elephants
sitting ducks
I will
rise up"

and the same sentimentality with Wolf at the Door:

"i keep the wolf from the door
but he calls me up
calls me on the phone
tells me all the ways that he's gonna mess me up
steal all my children
if i don't pay the ransom
but i'll never see him again
if i squeal to the cops"



What a great evoking of emotion when he sings:
"i am up in the clouds
i am up in the clouds
and i can't and i can't come down"

or, dare I say, the reckless abandon of love:

"why so green and lonely?
heaven sent you to me.

we are accidents
waiting to happen."

in fact HTTT is their most "emotional" album since The Bends...I would Argue
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Old 06-25-2005, 08:05 PM   #67
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I'm talking sonics here, but look at the greats, or The Great, as far as I'm concerned in terms or range. Queen. They had their signature sound, the operatic vocals, dramatic chord changes , ambitious song structures, and genius production. Big theatric rock.

But they also have this other side. Where they take on other forms of music, and own them. Perfect pop in "You're My Best Friend."

Motown in "Funny How Love"

The black funk of "Another One Bites The Dust."

The rockibilly of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."

English folk in "39."

I'd list the Vaudville and Bluegrass tunes, but there are too many.

The Beatles did it as well. U2 keep doing it. Can/will Radiohead? Something bigger than a 5/4 time signature. Something bigger than a guitar tone. A whole song. It would be a huge left turn for them, but I would love to hear them take on unexpected styles of music and own them.

Now I'm thinking about Tool. The heavy metal Radiohead.
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Old 06-25-2005, 08:20 PM   #68
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Respect for Mr. Brau's post, firstly.

Quote:
Originally posted by Layton
What about love? Love alone is a very primitive thing... The challenge would be to find a uniquely Radiohead way of taking it on.
I appreciate what you're saying, and I don't think that Radiohead have dealt with Love in the traditional sense as a musical theme. But at the same time, the subject itself has been explored by the band in their "unique" way already... as Basstrap expounded articulately in the above post.

It would be an obvious example of me to say, but True Love Waits is another "love" commentary of theirs... interpret as you like how much the lyrics and tone match the sentiment of the title. That song rules to death (fact, reference: me).

Layton, I think that you want to see Radiohead be more honest and forthcoming with their emotional projections and for them to unleash some inner soulful rhythm that they have been locking up all these years. I feel that I understand your position, in that respect. While it may be a valid criticism that they are not direct with their feelings in this manner (lacking a punk root sensibility I suppose), some view their complexity more as a strong suit than as a weakness. Their timing, delivery, and layered textures of musical elements combine in a way that make interesting landscapes that aren't so familiar on the surface. Some might say they try to use this aesthetic of unconventional to be less accessible and artistically distant... a pretentious way of establishing a disconnect with the audience in order to secure a position in the elite, uncorruptable genius state. I genuinely think that their approach is not to alienate though, but to challenge... and part of that challenge for them is not accepting the musical context that has come before. They pay tribute to the predecessor artists by expanding upon the medium through expressing their ideas and potential in the most rich way they can.

If their intent was to be among the rock pantheon in the future, I would hope that they achieve it on their terms and the merits of their depth. Not on whether or not they have fulfilled a quota of song styles.

Ambition makes you look pretty ugly.

(by the way, I'm a full-on casual Radiohead fan)

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Old 06-25-2005, 08:29 PM   #69
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Cujo, I think I love you.

I have some thoughts on all of this but all you articulate smarty pants are making me work hard at putting them together in order to be worthy of this excellent discussion. Stay tuned.


*rates thread 5 stars*
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Old 06-25-2005, 10:14 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrBrau1
I'm talking sonics here, but look at the greats, or The Great, as far as I'm concerned in terms or range. Queen. They had their signature sound, the operatic vocals, dramatic chord changes , ambitious song structures, and genius production. Big theatric rock.

But they also have this other side. Where they take on other forms of music, and own them. Perfect pop in "You're My Best Friend."

Motown in "Funny How Love"

The black funk of "Another One Bites The Dust."

The rockibilly of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."

English folk in "39."

I'd list the Vaudville and Bluegrass tunes, but there are too many.

The Beatles did it as well. U2 keep doing it. Can/will Radiohead? Something bigger than a 5/4 time signature. Something bigger than a guitar tone. A whole song. It would be a huge left turn for them, but I would love to hear them take on unexpected styles of music and own them.

Now I'm thinking about Tool. The heavy metal Radiohead.
listen to more RH

Life in a Glass House - Big Band Jazz
Idioteque - Industrial dance
Kid A - Experimental/Ambient
Wolf at the Door - spoken word/hip hop

not to mention that their whole debut album is college rock.

They've done just as much toying with other genre's as any other mainstream band (i.e. u2)
Elements of blues, jazz, ambient, electronica, pop, rock, experimental all creep into RH albums..and yes...when they do it they own it.
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Old 06-26-2005, 12:42 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally posted by cujo
At first listen, I found the "emotional range" of Radiohead to be quite focused on an introspective malaise... but after listening to the band for many years, my understanding has matured to the point where I appreciate their subtle shifts in mood and thought far more than the boisterous musical acts that use emotion as a gimmick. Some artists are successful in the overt pop genre, but substantial content can easily get lost in attempts to convey a certain type of emotion... rather than expanding on an element of the human condition. The mastery of Radiohead is not in their ability to express depression in the minor chords, but it is found in the instances where they create an album environment that elaborates upon the full spectrum of feeling (within a theme usually). A Radiohead song out of context can easily be interpreted as melancholy and devoid of emotional variety, but through the development of an album, a composition emerges that sensitively etches out thoughts of jubilation, remorse, obsession, and dare I say desire.

Underneath the sheath of their artistically repressed perception, there still exists a drive on behalf of the members to make musical pieces that challenge their musicianship. Devoid of emotion... that's a fair assumption at times, but it's hard to deny the passion and almost psychosexual commitment that goes into the delivery of their live concerts. In that regard, it's hard to accuse them of lacking primal human urges. Mr. Greenwood most certainly is in a funk world of his own.

I have certainly lauded this band a lot, but my argument is pretty simple. The elements of sensuality and groove exist in some Radiohead albums, but not in the obvious senses. It requires acclimatization to recognize the finer moments of emotional subtlety. Of course, if you don't hear it yourself maybe it isn't there.

My one wish is that Radiohead doesn't pursue a good deal of suggestions in this thread (they shouldn't listen to anyone really). For them to make a record that encompassed sex, groove, and the flamboyantly obvious would be so derivatively boring that... I don't know. They would have to invent a new crappy genre name.

Unfettered folk music.
This is possibly the most amazing post ever made.
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Old 06-26-2005, 03:33 PM   #72
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Originally posted by cujo

Layton, I think that you want to see Radiohead be more honest and forthcoming with their emotional projections and for them to unleash some inner soulful rhythm that they have been locking up all these years. I feel that I understand your position, in that respect. While it may be a valid criticism that they are not direct with their feelings in this manner (lacking a punk root sensibility I suppose), some view their complexity more as a strong suit than as a weakness. Their timing, delivery, and layered textures of musical elements combine in a way that make interesting landscapes that aren't so familiar on the surface. Some might say they try to use this aesthetic of unconventional to be less accessible and artistically distant... a pretentious way of establishing a disconnect with the audience in order to secure a position in the elite, uncorruptable genius state. I genuinely think that their approach is not to alienate though, but to challenge... and part of that challenge for them is not accepting the musical context that has come before. They pay tribute to the predecessor artists by expanding upon the medium through expressing their ideas and potential in the most rich way they can.
What you're saying is fairly accurate. It's more proof that Radiohead is an incredibly brain dominant band. "Landscapes that aren't familiar" = brains. "Establishing a disconnect with the audience" = brains. "Approach is not to alienate, but to challenge" = brains. The list goes on. They've conquered the cerebral, sophisticated way of relating to their human existence through their music, but what about the raw, primitive way of relating to human existence. That's half or their humanity that they're denying. I know you say it's there, if I'm understanding you correctly. I would even say it's there. Mainly because it's impossible that it's not there. They are human after all. My point is, just as you've so eloquently posted a few times, is that it's buried. Only to be found by the most discerning of listeners. Well why is it buried album after album? It's not natural to do that, I would contend. The majority of their songs from Ok Computer on are wrapped in intellectual archetecture. That archetecture might be a bit of subterfuge as you say to challenge people or to keep listeners off balance, but I say it's become a creative crutch. They lean on that tendency too hard and the longer they do, the more it seems like they wrap the primal in the abstract, not to create interesting art, but to avoid really exposing themselves. Suppression begins to rear it's ugly head, in other words. There's always a tipping point in art when your strength becomes a weakness. I say Radiohead is at the cusp of that tipping point.
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Old 06-26-2005, 03:36 PM   #73
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cu7o's posts are always so predictable and never thought out.

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Old 06-26-2005, 03:57 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally posted by Layton
They've conquered the cerebral, sophisticated way of relating to their human existence through their music, but what about the raw, primitive way of relating to human existence... I would even say it's there. Mainly because it's impossible that it's not there.
I'm glad we agree then.



Quote:
There's always a tipping point in art when your strength becomes a weakness. I say Radiohead is at the cusp of that tipping point.
If they truly are strattling that margin and at the same time delivering their intent... well sir, they have surpassed even my expectations.

Sorry for the lack of depth in this post.

I bent my autoreply bot.
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Old 06-26-2005, 09:13 PM   #75
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That was a bit of a trite post I made there.

The argument, as it stands, comes down to a simple difference in interpretation, where I see that Radiohead expresses themselves in a way that is eloquent and rich (not in a way that is a robust exploration of eliteness), and Layton views their product as a subversion of some raw definition of humanity.

My view contests that their approach is an honest and logical extension of their artistic potential, while at the same time some may extrapolate that the same sentiment is an intellectual façade built up to avoid having to confront true feelings and criticism (sorry to recap, but it's important to clarify).

One thing that has been overlooked so far has been the implications of imposing creative restriction on Radiohead to compose a work in the most absolutely direct manner possible (subjective parameters at best). But, who is to say that the product would be different? After all, the intention behind the creation of music (or any art) does not necessarily yield a result of simplicity, even if the goal was bearing one’s soul in a literal, connect-the-dots fashion.

The use of the word complex does not imply something convoluted, dishonest, or complicated. A complex song can have a simple, refined idea, and through consistent application of this idea a song composition may create a larger more expansive piece. On the other hand, a complicated song might have a relatively loose idea and emotion, and its audio appearance may be inconsistent with the form of the lyrics and its basic musical elements. There are many combinations of this principle, but basically stated, simple is not always deep or raw (or interesting), and complex is not always complicated. Since you used the word architecture, I thought I would throw some source theory at you, Layton.



The finished work can then be judged more for the process of making, which oft times expresses a potent direct quality to a greater degree than how the song actually sounds. If a tune appears raw and from the heart… does it by default originate from a state of clear and concise emotion? That is tough to evaluate, and by extension difficult to postulate as to whether Radiohead is lacking in their directness.

Power behind songs can also be found in the contradiction of sounds and lyrics... which is not an indirect or disingenuous way of expression. It's human, it's real, and it's palpable. Under whatever "intellectual architecture" wrapping that surrounds the song, there is still an underlying passion to let a feeling be known... and that is as raw as it gets.

The most important musical item, to me at least, is that the driving idea of a piece is intrinsic to the song. Seeing this accomplished through a rigorous process is the most simple and humbling thing I can fathom. Radiohead, from what I’ve seen and heard, cherishes process and craft far more than seeking a pre-determined destination. That is why I feel it would be ultimately antithetical to their principles if they attempted to fashion a raw product. They may just yet release an album that describes Layton’s ideal to the absolute, but I don’t know if it would have any more merit in terms of passion and emotion than the other albums. It wouldn’t necessarily add variety or breadth… it would simply package the sound in an aesthetic more accessible to others (thereby defeating the notion of direct and personal expression).

It's amazing how wordy I have to get in order to express something simple. My tools may come in the form of the complex, and I hope that does not undermine my opinion. Do you deny me the passion and rawness that I have for musical analysis, merely for the reason that I am verbose?

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Old 06-27-2005, 09:10 AM   #76
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First, Radiohead has attempted to make styled rhythms, such as "I Might Be Wrong" and the like. Along with what plenty of other people on this forum have already stated, I don't understand how having a groovy Radiohead would make them any better. Listening to the structures of their songs most trained music listeners will say their strengths lie in two areas: 1) they are probably the first band of all time to make a record with hardly any if not absolutely free of Beatles influence and sell more than a few thousand copies and 2) making great, completely orginial music with different rhythmic and melodic ideas than anything in the history of modern music. Reverting to the overused blues and rock grooves and rhthyms would be a step back for them, not to mention restrictive and boring for the band as a whole.
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Old 06-27-2005, 02:55 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally posted by cujo

Power behind songs can also be found in the contradiction of sounds and lyrics... which is not an indirect or disingenuous way of expression. It's human, it's real, and it's palpable. Under whatever "intellectual architecture" wrapping that surrounds the song, there is still an underlying passion to let a feeling be known... and that is as raw as it gets.
Ok, cujo I guess it's ok to be verbose----lol. I agree that it's possible to unwrap a Radiohead song and find something raw, but is that experience as raw for the listener as might otherwise be. I think not. I would also postulate that the experience is not even as raw for the creators as might otherwise be. 'You don't feel if you think too much' is a favorite Bono cliche that I'll borrow. Radiohead consistently leads with their mind. If one's not careful, that tendency begins to drown out other possible avenues, just like any other over used tendency. My interpretation is that Radiohead has become 80% sophisticated and 20% primitive. That's a poor ratio in terms of distibruting your humanity throughout your art. One has to agree with my thoery that we're all about 50/50 in our sophistication/primitive make up to agree, I suppose.

You've done a great job of relating Radiohead's formula for success with all your previous posts. I'm assuming you believe they've found a formula that can serve them their entire career. I think that it can't. I think they have to address the bad creative habits that formula has sneaked into their "process of making". I'll end with my umpteenth top of my head suggestion. What if they instead of wrapping the primal in the abstract, tried wrapping the abstract in the primal? We're all right and left brained, right? Well it's time for Radiohead to lead with left side instead of the right side (or vice versa). The best of the best lead from whichever side is necessary. They don't just favor one over the other.

Lastly, this has all been a blast, I'm gonna be travelling for the next week. So, I may not be able to reply for awhile if anybody wants to continue this.
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Old 06-27-2005, 03:11 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFly84138
First, Radiohead has attempted to make styled rhythms, such as "I Might Be Wrong" and the like. Along with what plenty of other people on this forum have already stated, I don't understand how having a groovy Radiohead would make them any better. Listening to the structures of their songs most trained music listeners will say their strengths lie in two areas: 1) they are probably the first band of all time to make a record with hardly any if not absolutely free of Beatles influence and sell more than a few thousand copies and 2) making great, completely orginial music with different rhythmic and melodic ideas than anything in the history of modern music. Reverting to the overused blues and rock grooves and rhthyms would be a step back for them, not to mention restrictive and boring for the band as a whole.
With all due respect, I think saying that they're completely original is an overstatement. Radiohead's atmospheres are very Brian Eno influenced. Hell, Eno might be the only guy brainier than Radiohead in the modern music era. I would even argue, that Eno's melodic and rhythmic ideas are more non-mainstream than Radiohead's. Check out his solo stuff for proof of that, but even Eno knows there's a time for "Let's Go Native"----lol.
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Old 06-27-2005, 04:48 PM   #79
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I'm banning the word "primitive" from this thread
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Old 06-27-2005, 09:37 PM   #80
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Fin

Layton, you have posted well, and the following response is directed to your argument. No personal criticism attached.

Quote:
Originally posted by cujo
They may just yet release an album that describes Layton’s ideal to the absolute… it would simply package the sound in an aesthetic more accessible to others (thereby defeating the notion of direct and personal expression).

Quote:
Originally posted by Layton
What if they instead of wrapping the primal in the abstract, tried wrapping the abstract in the primal?
Your quote affirms what I said in an earlier post, and this is where the unraveling of your argument begins.

If what your position truly values is to see Radiohead create something "primal" at all costs, even if it requires them to abandon principle and actually contrive an emotional condition, then how will they supposedly re-connect with their audience and themselves in any direct way? The addition of more layers is just an appliqué and an artifice that only perpetuates the deficiency between idea and realization. The pursuit of this thread is one of the greatest contradictions I have ever seen, where an artist has been accused of making music in the fashion of being different for pretentious purposes... and the main suggestion for improvement is for them to be even more different, so that in posterity they can be viewed as having embraced a variety of audio aesthetics. Essentially, Layton's argument is requesting them to be different for the sake of it... which is a far cry from asking them to discover the basic and primal elements of musical expression (which I have argued are already quite potently there).

If an example (credit to another) helps to clarify, I hope this helps...

An environmentalist that is concerned with gas emissions wants to abide by their principles of energy conservation. So, they decide to grow a lawn of grass on their vehicle in order to keep up the appearance that they are participating in some green movement. But how does this change achieve their principles, if they're still driving an emission-based car and the grass does not act as a compensating mechanism? Aren't they merely satisfying the appearance of concern, rather than helping in any way to attain their convictions? There is no substance or relevance to their action. The grass car is just a means to project a false image of difference. It is fad, trend, and derivative showcase art. The message is irrelevant because the sentiment is not consistent with the initial idea and emotion.

If you simply want to hear Radiohead make a specific sound or style, what validity does one type have over another? Is finding your true artistic self a result of re-packaging precedent material? Does meaningless quantity really contribute to a band's artistic portfolio in any way, shape, or form? There is a disjoint element in this thread that makes it difficult to further elaborate on anything of relevance. That element is placing pre-conceived ideas on artistic process to enrich nothing but public image. There is a fundamental difference between the creative process and the actual product of music, and until that distinction is well defined and respected... this discussion has been rendered moot.

Interesting stuff nonetheless.

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