I'm sure most of you know the english rock band Radiohead. At least one of their song comes to mind : Their most well-known hit, Creep, released in 1992. For my part, I knew they were a huge band, and of course I had heard Creep. But that's about everything I knew about them (shame on me really!). After listening to some of their songs, and liking what I heard, I decided to really give it a try. So I've immersed myself in their universe. I've taken the time to listen to their whole discography (8 albums!). Basically, that's about the only music I've been listening to for the last three months. Since I knew the evolution of their sound had been huge, I've respected the chronology. In the end, I'm so glad I've taken this journey. I absolutely love their music and the unique atmosphere they are able to create. So, briefly, here are my impressions, album by album
Pablo Honey (1993)
Their debut album is a grunge / rock record. I had some difficulties with this one. It's a really fine album but I was somewhat disappointed because it globally sounds like any other rock band. Not very original in my opinion, especially in comparison with their later work. It's my least favorite album of them. Essential tracks : Creep, Anyone Can Play Guitar
The Bends (1995)
A more mature album. It's the beginning of their evolution into a more layered rock and the use of keyboards. I particularly like the dramatic Nice Dream. I don't really care for High and Dry though.The high pitch voice during the chorus gets on my nerves :) Essential tracks : Just, Nice Dream, the Bends.
Ok Computer (1997)
Where to begin ? This record is perfection. There isn't a single track to throw away. If there is only one Radiohead album you must listen to, that's the one. They have expanded their instrumentalisation to include piano and strings in particular, thus creating a terrific atmosphere. As you can see, as much I like its predecessors, Ok Computer is very special and it's the album that truly made me love Radiohead. And its successors have amplified my feelings. Standouts songs : Paranoid Android and its three sections. Awesome song. Exit Music (For a Film) which is featured on the Romeo + Juliette soundtrack. It's a slow song with a depressing tone and an intense ending. Beautiful. Karma Police with its nice melody and piano. And I absolutely love the guitar and cello intro of Airbag. Hard to choose songs really because they're all so good!
Kid A (2000)
You could expect this album to be in the same vein than their previous work but that's not the case. It's a big change of direction. This album is based on rhythms rather than melodies, is heavy on electronic music and have minimalist lyrics. At first listen, Kid A is really surprising, to say the least, and not in a good way. In the first place, I have been put off by it. My initial reaction was something like : What the hell! Where are all the pretty melodies??? Melodies are indeed the aspect of music that I like the most. This album needs perseverance. In the end, it's excellent but so different than what you could legitimately expect that it requires a period of adaptation. This record works very well as a whole (wonderful atmosphere!) but for me, there is not really any song that I like to listen to on their own. Though, if I have to pick my favorite songs, I'd say: - Everything In Its Right Place : Amazing intro to the album - How to Disappear Completely - Optimistic. I might not sound overly enthusiastic about Kid A but it's really an amazing and game changing album
To be continued...