Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Artists I Just Don't Get: Radiohead

Radiohead - Courtesy
Radiohead is today's featured artist for the 'Artists I Just Don't Get' series.

Maybe it's just me, but I've found Radiohead to be a great example of a mainstream band pretending to be some sort of an avant-garde group. Radiohead has earned praise from fans and critics, but I've never been impressed with their albums. Bless me father for I've just committed an act of blasphemy.

As a Generation X'er, my first exposure to Radiohead was 'Creep'. It was a good 90's alternative rock hit featured on their debut album Pablo Honey.I've listened to that album a few times and I'll admit that it is good, but not great. Go back to your 90's days and enjoy some 'Creep'.

Instead of fading away like many other alternative bands did, they decided to go in a different direction with their sound which was an admirable career choice. Radiohead seemed to be going in the right direction, and then they dropped OK Computer on the world. It was viewed by critics and fans as an amazing album that challenged the status quo of mainstream music and was viewed as one of the greatest albums of all time. OK Computer is an album that doesn't capture my interest.

From that point forward, it seemed that anything released by Radiohead (i.e. Kid A, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows) was brilliant because it was released by Radiohead. The late 90's and early 00's did not have that supergroup to be the torch bearers of mainstream alternative music, so it was desperately placed in the hands of Radiohead.

There is nothing wrong with creating music that doesn't fit the mold of mainstream music. My opinion is that Radiohead creates music that is viewed as innovative because it is expected and it will earn them all the praise in the world. If you want to be innovative then be innovative and stop pretending.

Sorry folks, but I just don't get Radiohead.   

TonyDoug Wright is The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll and is also the head writer and owner of Champion City Comics. Follow him @TonyDougWright on Twitter. 


  1. Sounds like you totally "get" all these bands.

    Yeah, Radiohead rocked early and decided that it was more important to make noisy, experimental albums.

    Yeah, all the Vampire Weekend songs sound a lot alike.

    Yeah, the Dirty Projectors are a little Bjork-y.

    Yeah, Jethro Tull is prog rock with a flute.

    You just don't like it, which is subjective. I think this series should be "music I don't like," or in the case of Arcade Fire, "music everyone else likes so I'm going to not like it."

  2. Well, Mr. Brookes, I think Doug could neutrally say (except for NMH) that most people would put them in the "music that is hyped by critics way beyond its inherent worth" category. I'd put Girls, Grizzly Bear, Real Estate, Band of Horses, the re-formed Beachwood Sparks in the same category. Many of them I sort of like, all of them the urban cognoscenti go ga-ga for without clear reason.