105

Dear Radiohead: Funny prank, guys, but where’s the REAL new album?

Scott Feschuk on why the new record makes him sad


 

I love Radiohead. LOVE THEM. I will buy and listen to anything the band deigns to put out, even if it’s 37 minutes of Thom Yorke half-heartedly mumble-singing over a drum machine while watching a movie and eating corn chips, which I’m pretty sure is how The King of Limbs was made.

But still: the new record makes me sad. This is a band that has proved itself capable of kicking as many as 17 kinds of ass. (By way of comparison, the Beatles at their peak kicked only 22 kinds of ass – coincidentally, the exact same number of ass-kinds that Nickelback has sucked.) OK Computer alone contains more top-notch songwriting than every record that James Mercer has recorded, or imagined, or ever listened to – and I like the Shins. Nine out of 10 hipsters agree: Radiohead makes Bright Eyes seem like Regular Eyes.

But The King of Limbs

/ listens to record again to make sure it doesn’t end with giggles and the band asking if my refrigerator is running.

… ugh.

What can I say – I’m a sucker for eccentric little things like melodies, maybe the occasional chorus and, you know, some goodness.

Yes, yes. New territory, pushing the boundaries, defying expectations, etc., etc. And sure, the machines need something to mellow out to after a hard day of rising up and killing us all.

But with The King of Limbs, the band that produced the greatest album of the 1990s was either unwilling – or unable – to write songs we’d want to listen to. Boundaries, consider yourselves pushed too far.


 
Filed under:

Dear Radiohead: Funny prank, guys, but where’s the REAL new album?

  1. I bought the new Radiohead album on Friday and after listening to it wondered if my purchase included melodies.

  2. I bought the new Radiohead album on Friday and after listening to it wondered if my purchase included melodies.

  3. Don't worry, I felt the same on first hearing – the melodies are there once you've played it a few more times.

  4. Don't worry, I felt the same on first hearing – the melodies are there once you've played it a few more times.

  5. Haha, spot on! I love Radiohead too but this is not just pants but pants with socks on. Apart from Codex, I like that.

  6. Haha, spot on! I love Radiohead too but this is not just pants but pants with socks on. Apart from Codex, I like that.

  7. I say it's time for another rousing round of openly mocking an older woman's appearance, using an unflattering cherry picked photo!!!

    Remember the ground rules though.

    If the target isn't conservative, it isn't funny, but tasteless, so be sure to stick to the "correct" victim.

    Now,

    let's have some fun!

  8. I say it's time for another rousing round of openly mocking an older woman's appearance, using an unflattering cherry picked photo!!!

    Remember the ground rules though.

    If the target isn't conservative, it isn't funny, but tasteless, so be sure to stick to the "correct" victim.

    Now,

    let's have some fun!

    • Nah, that fad is over. Let's openly mock tedious commenters instead.

      • Yeah, that was some partisan party we had there. Maybe had a little too much of that Kool Aid…everyone getting all into it and egging each other on, going from a single notation on a memo to declaring the fall of our democracy as we know it, then being all jazzed up going straight for the gutter appearance mockery. Probably a good thing to slink away from that whole thing as quickly as possible. Yup, its "over" as you say.

        'cept that hangover's gonna sting for awhile:
        http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20110220/con

        Latest poll
        CPC at 40
        Libs at 26

        • On second thought, why don't you send in a photo of yourself, chet.

        • Except that poll was taken before the whole Bev Oda thing. And CTV won't publish my comment saying they should point that out in their story. hmmm.

    • Conservatives are rarely so pathetic as when they feign concern for groups their policies tend to harm.

      • chet has been sent on in response to the Nickelback crack. They are now under the Con protection services wing.

    • What?

    • Thanks Chet – for your considered and cogent arguments for (or it may be against) Radiohead's new album.

    • I am going to attempt to tie your comment to the article: article expresses disappointment with "avant garde" offering from Radiohead > Bev Oda looks like Yoko Ono > Yoko Ono is avant garde artiste > article is mocking anything avant garde > article is mocking Yoko Ono > article is mocking Bev Oda.

      Phew, well done, if I do say so myself!

      Dear Lord, Chet, your Dear Leader Harper has a nice comfy lead, are you going to insist on reminding us who his core constituency is if he get a majority?

  9. You criticize it for not "kicking ass?" You call yourself a writer? The album expresses universal human sentiments. Perhaps someday you'll join us.

  10. You criticize it for not "kicking ass?" You call yourself a writer? The album expresses universal human sentiments. Perhaps someday you'll join us.

    • Wow. Universal human sentiments! From what I've heard, those are the best kind of human sentiments.

      Eliza, perhaps you misread the post. I don't criticize the record for not "kicking ass." I criticize it for not being good (in my opinion). I say the band has kicked ass over the years, as in being awesome, which they were and still are. Even the best bands make a bad record now and then. (Exception: R.E.M., which after many years of awesomeness decided to make a bad record each and every time.)

      • Hey Scott,

        Have you heard "Horse to Water", "Hollow Man" and "Supernatural Superserious" from 2008's "Accelerate ? All are among the best they've ever done.

  11. Wow. Universal human sentiments! From what I've heard, those are the best kind of human sentiments.

    Eliza, perhaps you misread the post. I don't criticize the record for not "kicking ass." I criticize it for not being good (in my opinion). I say the band has kicked ass over the years, as in being awesome, which they were and still are. Even the best bands make a bad record now and then. (Exception: R.E.M., which after many years of awesomeness decided to make a bad record each and every time.)

  12. Nah, that fad is over. Let's openly mock tedious commenters instead.

  13. Good one.

  14. Good one.

  15. The album's great. I'd say their most original since "Kid A."

  16. The album's great. I'd say their most original since "Kid A."

  17. Awesome clarification Scott.

  18. Awesome clarification Scott.

    • Don't pout because a superior person owned you. Learn from it and move on.

      Edit: Did I detect sarcasm that wasn't there? If so, I withdraw my statement. (sort of)

  19. Wow, there are a lot of complicated concepts flying at me here, so let me see if I can get this straight.

    Radiohead used to be good.

    Now they're bad.

    Is there anything else you'd care to expand upon, or was that your entire purpose in posting?

  20. Wow, there are a lot of complicated concepts flying at me here, so let me see if I can get this straight.

    Radiohead used to be good.

    Now they're bad.

    Is there anything else you'd care to expand upon, or was that your entire purpose in posting?

    • Actually, the whole thing was an elaborate scheme designed to make that one Nickelback reference.

      • Nick Denton has declared the post-blog era to be underway. I'm sure that's what Shasplim meant.

        • I wish I could declare things.

          • Leave the country, then come back. Canada Customs'll help you out from there.

  21. Actually, the whole thing was an elaborate scheme designed to make that one Nickelback reference.

  22. It was all downhill after pablo honey.

  23. It was all downhill after pablo honey.

  24. There is a lot of things going on in your review. Do you think you can be a bit clearer? Perhaps a little more well thought out word choice?

    "Nine out of 10 hipsters agree: Radiohead makes Bright Eyes seem like Regular Eyes." really? regular eyes? hipsters? you're genius!

  25. There is a lot of things going on in your review. Do you think you can be a bit clearer? Perhaps a little more well thought out word choice?

    "Nine out of 10 hipsters agree: Radiohead makes Bright Eyes seem like Regular Eyes." really? regular eyes? hipsters? you're genius!

    • HUMORLESSLY HECKLE HIPSTER HUMOR

      (picture of Courage Wolf)

      TEAR THE SPACE-TIME FABRIC OF IRONY

    • Except he's clearly including himself among the hipsters. I going to close with you're not a genius, dale.

  26. Does make me laugh how you disparage this album for not having melodies when stuff like Lotus Flower and Give up The Ghost has some of the best they've ever written.

    This is such a pathetic review, it's OK if you don't like it but when the only words that stick out in my mind from it are "kick", "suck", and "ass", you can get your bottom dollar that it's not a literary masterpiece.

    I'm pretty sure some talentless hack wrote the exact same thing 11 years ago after the release of Kid A.

  27. Does make me laugh how you disparage this album for not having melodies when stuff like Lotus Flower and Give up The Ghost has some of the best they've ever written.

    This is such a pathetic review, it's OK if you don't like it but when the only words that stick out in my mind from it are "kick", "suck", and "ass", you can get your bottom dollar that it's not a literary masterpiece.

    I'm pretty sure some talentless hack wrote the exact same thing 11 years ago after the release of Kid A.

      • Interesting video, you can certainly see the Tom Waits influence but there is also a touch of the Chicken-Lady in there. Haven't heard the rest of the album but I really liked that song.

      • Just watched the video. Would it have killed him to throw in a little jazz hands?

      • I bet he wrote that album thinking nobody would be insane enough to ask him to makes videos of the songs.

      • Dance, dance like there's ass in your pants!

      • You are right, it was all a prank here is the real one

        [youtube 9Eo7ttIKdfQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Eo7ttIKdfQ youtube]

        Hahaha, don't hate, me someone posted on twitter, great mashup, those two are great together : )

  28. Conservatives are rarely so pathetic as when they feign concern for groups their policies tend to harm.

  29. Uh, it's not exactly new territory, it's just Radiohead's own twisted version of dubstep or something like it. And it's not like we haven't had fair warning- Thom has been posting dubstep-heavy playlists of what he's been listening to on the band's website for a couple of years now. He's obsessed with the genre.

    I love the album. But then I also quite like dubstep when it's good. It's not for everyone. The difference with Radiohead's stuff is that Radiohead bury all these gorgeous Radiohead-esque melodies just beneath all the clattering. Listen for them, they'll be there.

  30. Uh, it's not exactly new territory, it's just Radiohead's own twisted version of dubstep or something like it. And it's not like we haven't had fair warning- Thom has been posting dubstep-heavy playlists of what he's been listening to on the band's website for a couple of years now. He's obsessed with the genre.

    I love the album. But then I also quite like dubstep when it's good. It's not for everyone. The difference with Radiohead's stuff is that Radiohead bury all these gorgeous Radiohead-esque melodies just beneath all the clattering. Listen for them, they'll be there.

  31. Nick Denton has declared the post-blog era to be underway. I'm sure that's what Shasplim meant.

  32. HUMORLESSLY HECKLE HIPSTER HUMOR

    (picture of Courage Wolf)

    TEAR THE SPACE-TIME FABRIC OF IRONY

  33. chet has been sent on in response to the Nickelback crack. They are now under the Con protection services wing.

  34. I wish I could declare things.

  35. Hey Scott,

    Have you heard "Horse to Water", "Hollow Man" and "Supernatural Superserious" from 2008's "Accelerate ? All are among the best they've ever done.

  36. I definitely think Chet should write the next review.

  37. I definitely think Chet should write the next review.

  38. Interesting video, you can certainly see the Tom Waits influence but there is also a touch of the Chicken-Lady in there. Haven't heard the rest of the album but I really liked that song.

  39. Hey Scott,
    Just heard that a certain Dimitri S. contacted Radiohead and offered to complain to your bosses at MacLeans on their behalf.
    Watch your back buddy. Could become another throwdown/showdown!

  40. Hey Scott,
    Just heard that a certain Dimitri S. contacted Radiohead and offered to complain to your bosses at MacLeans on their behalf.
    Watch your back buddy. Could become another throwdown/showdown!

  41. Hey Scott, Just heard a certain Dimitri S. contacted Radiohead and offered to complain to your bosses at MacLean's on their behalf. Watch your back buddy. Could become another throwdown/showdown.

  42. Hey Scott, Just heard a certain Dimitri S. contacted Radiohead and offered to complain to your bosses at MacLean's on their behalf. Watch your back buddy. Could become another throwdown/showdown.

  43. Just watched the video. Would it have killed him to throw in a little jazz hands?

  44. I bet he wrote that album thinking nobody would be insane enough to ask him to makes videos of the songs.

  45. Yeah, that was some partisan party we had there. Maybe had a little too much of that Kool Aid…everyone getting all into it and egging each other on, going from a single notation on a memo to declaring the fall of our democracy as we know it, then being all jazzed up going straight for the gutter appearance mockery. Probably a good thing to slink away from that whole thing as quickly as possible. Yup, its "over" as you say.

    'cept that hangover's gonna sting for awhile:
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20110220/con

    Latest poll
    CPC at 40
    Libs at 26

  46. Liked the Nickelback reference. But I have to disagree about boundaries being pushed too far. The King of Limbs is a daring record, but no more so than Kid A. I personally loved it. I very much liked Radiohead's other, immediate ass-kicking records, but after In Rainbows, I missed the utter shock of Radiohead's riskier albums (Kid A). It's always been the boundary-pushing, shocking albums that I've grown to love the most (though In Rainbows has a very special place in my heart, partially due to Nude, and the other nine near-perfect songs). Though it's a little too soon to tell for sure, as of right now, I rank The King of Limbs almost as highly as Kid A, and (possibly) higher than OK Computer.

  47. Liked the Nickelback reference. But I have to disagree about boundaries being pushed too far. The King of Limbs is a daring record, but no more so than Kid A. I personally loved it. I very much liked Radiohead's other, immediate ass-kicking records, but after In Rainbows, I missed the utter shock of Radiohead's riskier albums (Kid A). It's always been the boundary-pushing, shocking albums that I've grown to love the most (though In Rainbows has a very special place in my heart, partially due to Nude, and the other nine near-perfect songs). Though it's a little too soon to tell for sure, as of right now, I rank The King of Limbs almost as highly as Kid A, and (possibly) higher than OK Computer.

  48. On second thought, why don't you send in a photo of yourself, chet.

  49. What?

  50. Thanks Chet – for your considered and cogent arguments for (or it may be against) Radiohead's new album.

  51. Lotus Flower and Little by Little are great tracks (especially Little by Little).

    But yeah, overall this album feels like The Eraser part 2, and that's definitely not a good thing.

  52. Lotus Flower and Little by Little are great tracks (especially Little by Little).

    But yeah, overall this album feels like The Eraser part 2, and that's definitely not a good thing.

  53. Boulez Audience expression around the 20 sec mark, signifies boundaries being pushed.

  54. Boulez Audience expression around the 20 sec mark, signifies boundaries being pushed.

  55. Leave the country, then come back. Canada Customs'll help you out from there.

  56. Dance, dance like there's ass in your pants!

  57. Now, I don't really like radiohead. I did not listen to the album. But i did read this review and felt i wasted my time. Reads like a sixteen year old's diary. Makes Maclean's seem like it's digging deep in the bag to reach some sort of new readers. A little embarrassing, no?

  58. Now, I don't really like radiohead. I did not listen to the album. But i did read this review and felt i wasted my time. Reads like a sixteen year old's diary. Makes Maclean's seem like it's digging deep in the bag to reach some sort of new readers. A little embarrassing, no?

    • Seems to have worked…

    • What do you expect from a blog posting, really? This is less a serious review and more an offhand comment from a fan of the band.

    • Dimitri?

  59. Seems to have worked…

  60. What do you expect from a blog posting, really? This is less a serious review and more an offhand comment from a fan of the band.

  61. You are right, it was all a prank here is the real one

    [youtube 9Eo7ttIKdfQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Eo7ttIKdfQ youtube]

    Hahaha, don't hate, me someone posted on twitter, great mashup, those two are great together : )

  62. I think the album is absolutely beautiful. I hope you weren’t paid to write that “article.” Macleans seems to have lowered its standards of late–or grown absolutely desperate for someone who can string a few mediocre words together.

    If you’re actually a radiohead fan, this album shouldn’t surprise you in the least. It’s subdued, subtle and intricate. Accordingly, it requires the full attention of the listener to be fully appreciated (think Kid A, this shouldn’t come as a shock). The songs are thoughtfully constructed and unfold with a sort of haunting grace. Granted, it has a prominent element of electronica, but it is used in a characteristically innovative and stimulating fashion. Moreover, I think this is is one of Tom’s strongest vocal performances yet. My only problem with the album was that it was too short.

    If you couldn’t hear a melody or a chorus on this album, you just don’t understand music. Separator has been stuck in my head for two days. My suggestion: lay off the Lady GaGa, man. Not all music comes out of a box. Maybe next time you should consider listening to the music before you publicly disparage it.

  63. I think the album is absolutely beautiful. I hope you weren’t paid to write that “article.” Macleans seems to have lowered its standards of late–or grown absolutely desperate for someone who can string a few mediocre words together.

    If you’re actually a radiohead fan, this album shouldn’t surprise you in the least. It’s subdued, subtle and intricate. Accordingly, it requires the full attention of the listener to be fully appreciated (think Kid A, this shouldn’t come as a shock). The songs are thoughtfully constructed and unfold with a sort of haunting grace. Granted, it has a prominent element of electronica, but it is used in a characteristically innovative and stimulating fashion. Moreover, I think this is is one of Tom’s strongest vocal performances yet. My only problem with the album was that it was too short.

    If you couldn’t hear a melody or a chorus on this album, you just don’t understand music. Separator has been stuck in my head for two days. My suggestion: lay off the Lady GaGa, man. Not all music comes out of a box. Maybe next time you should consider listening to the music before you publicly disparage it.

    • Sorry, looneytunes….but you're not Emily, so you can give up the pretense.

  64. Sorry, looneytunes….but you're not Emily, so you can give up the pretense.

  65. Funny post, I guess. I mean, your words, when said in a particular order but without any actual context, are kinda funny. I mean, if someone's never heard of Radiohead before (and I don't know why they would even be reading your post, in that case) they might have have found it funny. So in that sense, mission accomplished. But you write "…37 minutes of Thom Yorke half-heartedly mumble-singing over a drum machine while watching a movie and eating corn chips, which I'm pretty sure is how The King of Limbs was made." Really?

    There are a fair number of artists/albums that could fill the blanks in that sentence in memorably funny ways, so I'm just wondering from which music review this joke was originally cut and pasted. Accusing Radiohead or Thom Yorke of being overwrought is par for the course, but instead you went with 'half-heartedly mumbling while eating corn chips' (if I may paraphrase) which doesn't make a lot of sense, here, unless you're a troll. Yes, you have every right to not like an album (I didn't like it after my first listen, either), but his singing certainly doesn't sound half-hearted, and not even mumbly this time, while the music is rather complex but of a lower key–hardly thrown together. The 'drum machine' gag works great for Britney Spears, but Radiohead is known (by some) for actually playing their electronics instruments live during concerts, not as a static, pre-recorded track. And then the thing about Thom Yorke just sitting about eating corn chips, out of character as that seems, could have been funny and even geoculturally appropriate if you had just called them "crisps".

    So, after my first time through The King of Limbs, I didn't like it so much. Part of it was my unfamiliarity (of course) with the material, while the rest came from the songs' incessant annoying crackling and static pops–which turned out to be due entirely to the suck-ass nature of my ipod earbuds, utterly incapable of reproducing the very deep bass used in most of the songs. Now, four or five plays later– on larger, louder, clearer speakers that properly handle the subtle tones and deep bass– the songs grow better (for me) with each listen. Quite soulful, spiritual, and–at the risk of using another s-word– soothing.

    I figure, if you want to listen to Fake Plastic Trees, or Paranoid Android, or Idioteque, or some other song released near 15 years ago, great, they still exist actually, you can probably listen to them at any time. I did that actually, listened to them, on Saturday. Wouldn't change much there, still sound great, ground-breaking. (Though the music videos are a little dated, probably need to reshoot them, have Thom crawling out of a giant egg or something.)

    And in 15 more years we can come back to Codex, or Little By Little, or Lotus Flower, fondly, and embrace a simpler era before mind worms, nerve staples, and nihilist cyborg-furry-keyboardists. Which could have been avoided if only we'd listened.

  66. Dimitri?

  67. Except that poll was taken before the whole Bev Oda thing. And CTV won't publish my comment saying they should point that out in their story. hmmm.

  68. Don't pout because a superior person owned you. Learn from it and move on.

    Edit: Did I detect sarcasm that wasn't there? If so, I withdraw my statement. (sort of)

  69. Except he's clearly including himself among the hipsters. I going to close with you're not a genius, dale.

  70. I am going to attempt to tie your comment to the article: article expresses disappointment with "avant garde" offering from Radiohead > Bev Oda looks like Yoko Ono > Yoko Ono is avant garde artiste > article is mocking anything avant garde > article is mocking Yoko Ono > article is mocking Bev Oda.

    Phew, well done, if I do say so myself!

    Dear Lord, Chet, your Dear Leader Harper has a nice comfy lead, are you going to insist on reminding us who his core constituency is if he get a majority?

  71. Definitely worst cover of a Radiohead album. God damn terrible that's what it is.

  72. Definitely worst cover of a Radiohead album. God damn terrible that's what it is.

  73. I just stopped by to call chet a fag.

  74. I just stopped by to call chet a fag.

  75. whenever i wanted to hear that kind of music i downloaded thom york solo
    many of the people who like the album is because they havent hear the ereaser
    it makes me angry that thom spread his s@#t all over radiohead on this one
    its all about his taste in this album

    though i still think its a bside..

  76. whenever i wanted to hear that kind of music i downloaded thom york solo
    many of the people who like the album is because they havent hear the ereaser
    it makes me angry that thom spread his s@#t all over radiohead on this one
    its all about his taste in this album

    though i still think its a bside..

Sign in to comment.