At this point, almost anything connected to the Radiohead name / brand will receive glowing reviews, accolades by those “in the know”, and give indie elitists a reason to feel like an indie elitist. Which really doesn’t make any sense – Radiohead are one of the biggest bands in the world, ever. It’s always been a a bit of a curious thing that makes me laugh. Anyway, when I read that Thom Yorke was scoring the soundtrack to the remake of the film Suspiria I was intrigued. Not so much by the original 70’s film’s history or soundtrack and how the new film and Yorke’s soundtrack would compare. I was wondering how Yorke’s soundtrack work would compare to Jonny Greenwood’s – his partner in Radiohead who has made a name for himself as a film soundtrack composer.
The latest album by Radiohead arrived after a series of mysterious events relating to the band. The band’s website faded away, social media accounts went dark, and mysterious cards went out to fans. All culminating in the release of A Moon Shaped Pool. The two songs and videos that had been released – Burn the Witch and Daydreaming – only hinted at the brilliance contained within. Gone are the grunge indebted guitars as well as most of the inscrutable electronic exercises. In their stead are songs seeped in English folk, motorik krautrock, and a deep sense of middle-aged sadness. For me personally, it is an album that I can relate to on a deeper level. After a dozen spins or so, I have no problem stating that this is my favorite Radiohead album since 2001’s Amnesiac. With a band like Radiohead it can be a slippery slope to navigate. They’ve steadfastly presented themselves as outsiders, even whilst having their every move analyzed by tens of millions of fans. It’s an interesting position to be in – perhaps the most unusual in Rock n Roll history. When you are in that situation it is easy for reviewers to have long-winded philosophical discussions about what the band is trying to convey. And sometimes, an analysis of the music falls by the wayside. Make no mistake, A Moon Shaped Pool would stand on its own with or without Radiohead’s complicated history.
Radiohead have always been a bit of a polarizing band in the indie elitist music community. I view them as the music world’s version of Apple Computers – have a bit of an outsider feel to them, absolutely the best at what they do, and really, really successful. As much as I love almost everything Radiohead has released (with the exception of most of Pablo Honey), the reviews ushered forth from other “indie” music websites were so laughable in their utter fan-boy adulation for ANYTHING Radiohead released it honestly made me a bit Radiohead jaded. For all of the praise on Thom Yorke’s lyrics, consider this comparison: