As an artist, when people ask me about my influence and I say “Radiohead” they’ll either leave it at that – for fear of ensuing snobbery – or launch into a full on debate over the use of row boats in “Pyramid Song.” Appreciation surrounding the band is complex, but Radiohead’s my favorite band simply because no other group has made me appreciate music in such a meaningful way. It’s peculiar being a Radiohead fan, because we’re a marginal step away from a cult, and love to bicker at one another about which work is the most “profound” or “influential” or “ahead of its time.” As a following we have a well earned air of pretentiousness, and are stereotypically not the most upbeat group (get a few of us together and you’ll see what I mean). At our core though, the attributes that we all seem to share is our desire to be sonically challenged and our ability to embrace progress. In a world drenched in artistic androgyny, a Radiohead album – whether you like it or not – at least stands apart.
I’d like to shed a little light on the progression of Radiohead, from a mediocre alt-rock guitar band in the early 90’s, to one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the past few decades. Music aside though, it’s their evolution that makes them interesting and worthwhile – their eagerness to explore, their unconventional influences, and their resistance to the music industry. I highly encourage listening to Radiohead, and even if it hurts your ears the first time around, keep at it. Be aware of how the change in instrumentation (especially percussion), structure, and texture make the current band almost unidentifiable with their former selves.
Radiohead has 8 albums and this playlist has one song from each. Enjoy it while you can, YouTube is set to take it all down due to disputes with their record label. Thanks Obama.