*Behind the books

*Keeping the conflicts

*Such an egomanic

*You fear he has forgotten

*My lamb and martyr, this will be over soon.

*Brown blood of courage

*What sound will be on the radio in 2008?

*Like its fierce

*See you

*Make me this anxious


1. I ask you to do one effing thing
2. Did you?
3. The socks betray him
4. There will be none of that
5. Leave notes in his shirt pocket
6. Trained in the gentle art
7. Put me in coach
8. Our species may, in fact, survive
9.Swarm Swarm
10.During the wooing
11.BUT not private enough
12.The bottomless appetite
13.The first time we forget
14.This is a nice litmus test
15.To get the ball rolling
16.She invited you back to her place for coffee
17.Mary Magdalene or Eva Braun
18.It will only smell and make you queasy


   Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Island in a drained ocean

In 1986 Thom York, Johnny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway decided to take their school friendship and transform it into a musical marriage. History was made and little did they know twenty years later they would win the coveted number one spot on Halo's Most Important Musical Artist (with a first album released in/after 1990) list.

I welcome Radiohead to the number one spot.

After six years they finally released their first single, "Creep". It remains their most widely known single. Unlike many mega-hits, it deserves the popularity:

Creep by Radiohead

When you were here before,
Couldn't look you in the eyes
You're just like an angel,
your skin makes me cry

You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so very' special

But I'm a creep,
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts,
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

I want you to notice
when I'm not around
You're so very'special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here, ohhhh, ohhhh

She's running out the door ...
She's running out
she's run, run, run, run...
run...

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You're so very special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep,
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here

I don't belong here...

It is tough to grasp exactly what is going on in the song. Does he really think she is special or is the entire rant seeped in sarcasm? If you've never heard the acoustic version (just York and a guitar) or if you never saw the animation that was built around it, click here.

It could of all stopped there but "Creep" became the anchor to their first album "Pablo Honey". Honey is simple, popish and infectious. "Anyone Can Play Guitar", also on Honey, was the preview of what would come. It was layered, it was energetic and it proves to be the preview of coming attractions.

There is no artist in modern music that is listened to more by other musicians. No artist has shown the evolution of sound and subject from album to album. No artist puts out albums that can be listened to over and over allowing you to absorb new aspects, new sounds and new layers.

After declaring (and even releasing a song titled) "Pop is Dead", Radiohead took a right turn and released their second album, "The Bends". Production of the album happened under the weight of the success of Honey and Creep. Some artists follow up with a similar sound to a hit release to ride the wave. Radiohead gave their first album the finger and put out a sound that nobody was ready for.

The Bends took the legacy of Floyd, King Crimson and Blind Faith and painted a musical oil on canvas. Each song seems to be a bookend. Each track wraps up the one before it only to end as a lead in to the next track. "High and Dry" got the most play yet it refused to be a pop single...

I don't claim to know what song is about but imagine it is York writing about Radiohead after its initial success. Imagine the song born under the pressure of "Creep". Imagine Radiohead scolding Radiohead....

High and Dry by Radiohead

Two jumps in a week
I bet you think that's pretty clever don't you boy?
Flying on your motorcycle,
Watching all the ground beneath you drop
You'd kill yourself for recognition,
Kill yourself to never ever stop
You broke another mirror,
You're turning into something you are not

Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry
Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry

Drying up in conversation,
You will be the one who cannot talk
All your insides fall to pieces,
You just sit there wishing you could still make love
They're the ones who'll hate you
When you think you've got the world all sussed out
They're the ones who'll spit at you,
You will be the one screaming out

Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry
Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry

It's the best thing that you ever had,
The best thing that you ever, ever had
It's the best thing that you ever had,
The best thing you ever had has gone away

The music retards (read: music critics) immediately pushed Radiohead into the One Hit Wonder box. They wanted to hear Pablo II and often missed the sophomore release as the first real Radiohead album.

They were silenced when their greatest record, "OK Computer" hit the shelves. Rolling Stone recently declared it the "Greatest Rock Album of All Time". Is it? I could be. Like Floyd's "The Wall" it weaves a story yet each track stands on its own. Computer also premiered Radiohead's willingness to bring ambient noise to the party and allow it to mingle and work the room. Computer showed the world that a song defines itself, a song decides what is an instrument and a song is bigger than the sum of its parts.

One of the tracks, "Subterranean Homesick Alien" not only nods to Dylan in its title it shows how a good lyric can speak to a common experience without being common, without being trite or typical.

Subterranean Homesick Alien by Radiohead

The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting
The smell of the warm summer air

I live in a town
Where you can't smell a thing
You watch your feet
For cracks in the pavement

Up above
Aliens hover
Making home movies
For the folks back home

Of all these weird creatures
Who lock up their spirits
Drill holes in themselves
And live for their secrets

They're all uptight
Uptight..

I wish that they'd swoop down in a country lane
Late at night when I'm driving
Take me on board their beautiful ship
Show me the world as I'd love to see it

I'd tell all my friends
But they'd never believe
They'd think that I'd finally lost it completely

I'd show them the stars
And the meaning of life
They'd shut me away
But I'd be all right
All right..

I'm just uptight
Uptight..

Since Computer, Radiohead has refused to acknowledge their musical environment. They've remained an island in a drained ocean. Each record that followed took a Darwinian step towards new ground. Each album stands on its own, is irreverent to its predecessor yet somehow is still a Radiohead sound.

Radiohead does not set new standards like Beck. Radiohead does not break and piss on their genre like Tool. Radiohead is Radiohead and only they define what that means.

Only Radiohead could top this list.

The Most Important Artists (with a debut album released in/after 1990)

1) Radiohead
2) Tool
3) Beck
4) Dave Mathews
5) Ani Difranco
6) Rage Against the Machine
7) Smashing Pumpkins
8) Tori Amos
9) Eminem
10) Pantera

there are 3 doodles

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

If you look to the explicit version of "Creep" with "very" replaced by another special word, it seems to have more of a sarcastic tone to me.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger The Stiltwalker said...

with the exception of Defranco and Beck, this list ain't bad.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Anshu Anand said...

Not that I am criticizing or questioning the list of top ten (which i think is great) but don't you think there should be atleast one "GRUNGE" band in the top 10 of any list for bands after 1990 .Well, 1991-1995, it created a whole new genre of music ...& even after that it was the a great influence for many bands till now.

It's just that I miss one of the following bands here :

Alice in Chains
Pearl Jam
Nirvana
Soundgarden

 

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