Saturday, November 24, 2007

Don't get any big ideas, they're not gonna happen

Here's the thing: I like Radiohead. I appreciate them. But I can't say I love them. And that's partially why it took me almost a month and a half to download what is essentially a free album (and yeah, I paid null set for it; I fully expect to buy the physical packaging when it comes out next year). Honestly, I'm not even sure how to talk about the new album because it's more an idea than a collection of songs, and that idea so overwhelms the content, it's impossible to give an honest appraisal. I'm constantly looking for some line to tie it all together, to link the big idea to the music, when they are most likely two totally separate things. And musically, it's status quo: Chilly emotionalism, dread, icy technology, Thom Yorke disconnected from the world, etc. (Also: tape farts.) We know the score: it's been the well-worn path at least since it was writ large on OK Computer, each time with varying results. It's too early for me to separate concept from actual execution and say whether the album itself is any good. I mean, it's certainly not bad and on a scale, I'd certainly rank it as a lot more pleasurable than the parking ticket I got yesterday (and a happy holiday to you, Philadelphia Parking Authority.

That being said, it has its moments. "Bodysnatchers" squeezes every last bit of excitement out of one musical idea. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" is kind of... I don't know. Haunting? "Videotape" is disarming after what precedes it.

What do I know? I'm on about my seventh consecutive listen of "Mr. Brightside" right now.


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