Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thoughts on Radiohead

So, Alex was telling me that he has never been a big fan of Radiohead (sorry to call you out on this heavily trafficked blog Sir Alex. I hope the millions of letters and hate-mail you get don't overwhelm you). It got me wondering why music has such a polarizing effect; there are bands that I love, and other bands that I hate. The thing that really intrigues me is how we take it a step further sometimes. When someone else has a general liking of the bands I love, I feel better about that person. When someone's favorite band is ICP, I don't trust them. Very strange things we as humans do. It's like we need re-affirmation that our choices are correct, so we surround ourselves with people who think the way we do.

That tangent isn't why we're here, though. This is about Radiohead's polarizing effect on even its own fans. I was a HUGE Radiohead fan until Kid A. I just couldn't get it. It was so offbeat and weird and frankly, I wasn't ready for it. It took years for me to even go back and try. What finally did it was Pyramid Song (off of Amnesiac). It was so hauntingly beautiful. I listened to that track a few times and then decide to try Amnesiac. I quickly fell in love with that album and then both Kid A and Hail to the Thief. Now I can't decide whether I like their first three cds or the last three better. All six are excellent music, but the two eras are incredibly different from each other.

In the end, you gotta give credit to these guys for having the guts to go in a whole new direction at the cusp of their explosion and not just content themselves with riding the waves of their fame. It takes courage to trust your fans to stick with you when you grow out of your previous styles. You have to be willing to accept that some will drop off along the way, but that there will always be those who appreciate what you are trying to do.


For fun let's do a poll (which can be found to the right).

To help, here are two videos. The first is from one of the first era, the second is from the second.

No Surprises

Pyramid Song

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