I feel nothing towards Radiohead. I can’t say I hate them. I can’t say I really like them at all. They have some okay songs. Overall, what’s the fuss? Now, I’m not going to waste my time and your time by bashing Radiohead, because there’s nothing to bad about them, but more importantly, there’s nothing to life altering about them. Radiohead is one of the most underwhelming bands in the 21st century. My first experience with Radiohead was seeing a big poster of Kid A in my guitar “teacher’s”1 room. Then I remember he taught me to play “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” off The Bends. I also remember being ridiculously into the riff, but for whatever reason, I never pursued the band. Every since I got into high school people haven’t shut up about Radiohead. I post from time to time on a message board designated to Alkaline Trio super-fans2. I started a thread to tell everyone about this blog. It somehow turned into this Radiohead bashfest. I’m totally okay with people hating any music, but only if it’s grounded in the music, not the musician. Too many people I know hate Radiohead because of what Thom Yorke does and says3.
Since it’s the end of the decade, year/decade end lists are coming out of the internets woodwork, including the very blog you are reading. Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Spin all had a Radiohead album as their number one. Paste, The Onion, Wall Street Journal and NME all had Radiohead in their top ten. Does a band like Radiohead really deserve all this praise? No, not really. But I won’t say they deserve no praise, because I am aware that they are bafflingly talented and are an ever-evolving group, which is something I greatly admire. The most frustrating thing about the Radiohead fanatics is their claims that Kid A changed the rock record forever. I disagree. The Beatles and Bob Dylan changed the Rock (with a capital fucking R) album forever. Sgt. Pepper and Highway 61 Revisited took Rock and put a mirror in front of it’s face and told him he was a pathetic bitch. If you can look Paul McCartney in the eye and say that Kid A is Rock record, then maybe you’ll have room to argue here, dear reader. Kid A is undoubtedly a great piece of work, but I have a hard time believing anyone could connect to it in ways that listeners connect to an album like Arcade Fire’s Funeral. Radiohead puts an awkward distance between them and the listener.
I’m sure it seems like this post is just a rip on Radiohead. That’s lame and cliche4. Radiohead does a lot of great things. They revolutionized the distribution side of music. They create thinkin’ man’s music, music that requires you to really listen, which I need for time to time in music. And on every record they try to focus on a new aspect of the band. For example, Thom Yorke spoke about how on In Rainbows they concentrated on percussion. I admire them as artist and they certainly hold a spot in music history.
I know some of you are unwavering Radiohead fans. This post isn’t for you (probably should have mention that earlier). This post is for the people who blindly worship Radiohead or who blindly hate Radiohead. This whole discussion came up because I’m sick of critics copping out and putting Radiohead as the best everything ever. There’s always something better. Always5. You’re just not trying.
1 when I mean “teacher”, I mean a dude I payed to jam with me.
2 Dib Dub,
3 This seems to be an issue with Amy Winehouse too.
4 just so everyone is on the same page, any extreme feeling towards Radiohead is cliche.