ISSUE #4         JANUARY, 2001
page 6 of 8
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a (probably not) brief (enough) interjection by your editor, Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman
As Mr. Phat-ass said, he is a friend of mine, and "El Depresso Musico" is his column, and I like his column, lots, so he can write what he wants, but anytime Radiohead gets any praise in Blastitude it's gonna have to be followed by a rebuttal. Why? Because I can't stand Radiohead, and just because only about six other people in the world agree with me doesn't mean that we're wrong. It just means that the power of hype is stronger than ever; now it's even inflicting otherwise intelligent people. And don't think this is just knee-jerk anti-hype posturing, because I've actually tried to like Radiohead. Certain people I trust were smitten by OK Computer, so I figured I might be too, but with the exception of the song "Paranoid Android," it's just dismal. It's probably supposed to be dismal, in the sad-sack singer-songwriter sense, but it's also dismal in a way that I'm sure wasn't intentional: it's just plain dull. Thom Yorke's voice is a monochromatic instrument, and his plodding songwriting doesn't help. What's more, I never get the sense that a 'band' is behind this music. I never hear a personality in the guitar playing, the drumming, the bass playing -- is there even a bass player in Radiohead? Do the guys who pose in the glossy magazine pictures next to Thom Yorke even come to the studio? Well, I'm sure they do, but I never feel like what I'm hearing is music being bounced, in real time, from one musician's soul to the next and back again, the way you can hear it being bounced on another Brit-pop album, Verve's A Storm In Heaven.
    And now there's Kid A, which I'll admit, seemed like it was gonna change my mind about this band. The first song I heard on the college station here in town impressed me. It's the one Mr. Phat-ass quotes above, "if you try your best" and so on. It struck me as their best song since "Paranoid Android." Then I heard another song and was impressed by the Fender Rhodes keyboard tones. Then I heard another song, and I was like "Oh, this is Aphex Twin, I have this album," and then lo and behold Thom Yorke started singing and I realized it was Radiohead, and that their "originality" isn't all that original. And then Thom got to the chorus, which went "Ice age comin', Ice age comin," over and over again, which just turned me off, 'cause it was more of that monotonous dreariness that is supposed to be oh so 'heavy.' So Yorke lives in London and he's read Margaret Drabble. I live in Lincoln fucking Nebraska and I'm still not impressed.
I'll admit that Kid A is the best Radiohead album. But it still has no soul, and, for as hard as they're trying, not a whole lot of surprise either. When I listen to music, I like to not know what the fuck is going on. I want it to be mysterious, I want to not understand what's happening, I want the same track to never sound the same way twice. I never want to be able to count the measures and go "okay, I'll bet they change...HERE." And that doesn't mean I can only listen to song-free noise and improv music, because Bob Dylan is just as mysterious and confounding when he sings simple folk songs. Sure, Radiohead make music that sounds cool, stunning, cutting-edge, etc.(especially if you've never heard Aphex Twin), and sure Thom Yorke is a "good songwriter" (which is a defense I've heard a hundred times for these guys, as if all you had to do to make good music was string a certain number of bland verses and choruses together), but where's the mystery? Is there anything to get lost in? I can get lost in "Paranoid Android," but all the other songs just plod along. When Yorke starts singing "Ice age comin'...Ice age comin'..." I can tell he's going to repeat the phrase either 4 times (if he wants to be short-attention-span poppy), 8 times (if he wants to be trance-inducing), or 12 times (if he wants to be avant-garde). The thing that bothers me the most is that the most adventurous people I know are hearing Radiohead and thinking "That's it, I've climbed Everest. I've heard the most creative rock band working today. You can't get any more challenging than this. And it's still pop music! I'm so lucky, I'm intelligent and I'm daring, but I can still appreciate good songwriting when I hear it. Radiohead gives me the best of all worlds. I can rest now." Yeah, well, if they like to be challenged, why don't they listen to the Sun City Girls too? And The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips is so much better than all Radiohead albums put together that it almost makes me cry. Okay, I'll stop ranting so I can just go and cry. While listening to The Soft Bulletin.


hard to read in the name of graphical/textual innovation since the year 2000!          
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