Sunday, September 27, 2015

They Were Better When They Weren’t So Good

I held off a long time in getting this, afraid that at the end of the day, I’d consider it overrated.  But then
I’d keep hearing how Radiohead’s first great album was not their third OK Computer, but rather their
second.  And I’ve always been a sucker for the old they were better before they got real famous line.

Alas, I was listening to it around the same time I was playing a lot of Aretha Franklin, and well, it’s a matter of (Radio’s) head vs (Aretha’s) heart.  The Brits didn’t fare well in the comparison.  Plus, I'm not convinced they outdo Aretha in the head department, either.

It may have been my mid-year anti-music funk, but even though the three(!) guitars sounded good - clear, chiming, echoey and very sharp when necessary - and Thom Yorke's voice is pretty - I find it to be that kind of near-great album that I'd normally rush to put on, but that is actually kind of boring.

Being the pre-Ok Computer - and slightly less pretentious - Radiohead, the tunes keep coming and it’s certainly less cluttered, But I’ve concluded I like them better pretentious and cluttered.

So why am I not loving it? Why am I not rushing to put it on? And when I put it on, why does my mind wander so easily?  

Well, the two pretty songs are good but utterly predictable. And the loud ones are kind of there. I can’t make out any of the words and haven’t had the slightest interest in looking them up.

In other words I have no good explanation why an album loved by many is doing (next to) nothing for me.

But finally, after about six months there are a couple of songs that are getting stuck in my head. It turns out to be pretty good painting the house music. Not enough to make me want to paint more, though.

So, it’s the end of the day, while I’m not in love with it, I still hold out hope, and can understand why some people are.


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