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.
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.