8.12.06

Remix Me. I'm Going In...#8: Radiohead

(photo by o.brien)

Some of these posts I could probably write with my eyes closed. For example, I knew nothing whatsoever about Pole, and very little about Battles, but Radiohead were - like so many others - my first love. Sure, I'd heard music before, I'd even enjoyed it, but it wasn't til I found myself wrapped up in an evangelical fervour at the release of OK Computer that I knew I'd found my one and only.

We've been through some tough times, Radiohead and I. We don't seem to see eye to eye, and our paths and destinations sometimes cross at the wrong times. There was that initial flurry, that outburst of emotions in 1997 that led to such rapturous outpourings back then. I was 15 in those days, you see, and impressionable, but I think rightly so: there's not really been an album before or since that has fitted so perfectly with my frame of mind. I was a teenager, for crying out loud, with all the angst and naiveté that brings with it, but to find something so... intellectual, so stimulating that also cut me to my very heart, that was satisfying.

Course, by the time Kid A came round, I was 18, and listening to Wildhearts, to NoFX, to Rancid, to Therapy? I bought it on the day of release anyway, I managed to convince a little MVC man to root around in a box and find it. I was perplexed by it. My knowledge of electronica is still fairly limited, if ever growing, but then it was by and large non-existent. A gaping void. But even so, it didn't click like it should have, for a Radiohead record. It should have held my heart delicately in suspension and tickled my brain, but instead it focused on appealing to the psyche and my heart was completely untouched. There's some fine moments, for sure, and every so often I come back to it, but it's never an album which was I was encouraged to spend days and weeks. Amnesiac barely registered because of this, leaving aside Radiohead's typically lengthy gestation for a quick turnaround.

Then Radiohead headed back to rock at about the time I was looking for more out of my music - Hail To The Thief was a retrogressive step for Radiohead, and while (as I've probably mentioned before) there were dizzying highs, there were also some pretty low lows. This was the year, for example, in which Four Tet's mindblowingly awesome Rounds was released, and Mogwai's monumental Happy Songs For Happy People. Music for people who weren't looking for the return of Radiohead's accessible side with such enthusiasm, but had been entranced by the post-rock of Godspeed, or Sigur Ros, or Fridge. So Radiohead and I missed colliding again, they were heading backwards while I was heading forwards, if you like.

Maybe soon will be the day when Radiohead again become the most potent force in my musical life, where one or two great singles aren't the only reason to embrace an album. There was an advert for OK Computer at the time: Remember when albums where albums? Remember Radiohead? Remember?

For now though, I have nostalgia, and I have some great music from different stages of the band's trajectory. I have Radiohead still, they're just in a different part of me.

The Music
Radiohead - You Never Wash Up After Yourself
Radiohead - Lucky
Radiohead - Skttrbrn (Four Tet remix)

The 'fo
Artist: Radiohead
Website: radiohead.com
Recommended: OK Computer
Label: Parlophone
Buy: Amazon
More: Hype Machine; elbo.ws
If you like this you might like: Sigur Ros - Aegetis Byrjun
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