A Conversation for Radiohead - the Band

Depressing.....

Post 1

Fat Freddie

Good article. Didn't know much about them, but now know more. However, as with all music, everyone's a critic with their own point of view: I think Radiohead are very dull, and write whining songs in minor chords, something a lot of people mistake for 'mellow'.
Before any1 tries to flame me, I have heard, Pablo H., The Bends and OK, and didn't like them. What has happened to musicians that could *really* play, where are the new George Clintons, the Beatles' , the fresh Bjork's, the next Black Flag? The public seem to really like artists that have a small bit of talent, but not bagloads. But then I seem to suffer from a perverse 'marketing-denial' type mind state - whatever is the 'latest thing', and all the music press is raving about, I tend to deliberately go out of my way not to buy. It has been mentioned that this in itself is a bit sad, but then I don't just take what is fed to me. There's far better music out there, you just need to be bothered to go and look for it, rather than have the new thing that a record company has invested millions in, and hence wants a return on. How will musicans make money like this? you cry. Well, the simple answer is that they don't anyway. A friend of mine's brothers are in a well known band and its quite an eye opener how Record Companies treat their star bands, I can tell you. I'm starting to ramble now.....so I'll shut up, and wait for the inevitable.......8)


Depressing.....

Post 2

LokuZ

Of course you're entitled to your own opinion. But so is everyone else.

I 'went out and looked', and I found Radiohead. I never knew how big they were until later (I wasn't that interested in the music press at the time). And they were struggling for a long time before they got signed: they weren't snapped up immediately.
As for 'really playing', I think you'll find that most of Radiohead's music is very well performed, even when compared to classic acts. Have you ever heard Radiohead live? No? I didn't think so. Some of the things Radiohead have done, especially with their last three albums, are groundbreaking. Johnny Greenwood is one of the best guitarists I can think of, and Phil Selway one of the best drummers.

I would agree that a lot of music is in many ways better than Radiohead (you mentioned the Beatles), but Radiohead is _my_ favourite band, probably because of the emotional content of the music and lyrics. I wouldn't really care if people didn't like them - It's not going to stop me being a fan. A choice of music isn't a fashion statement.

Oh, and I don't find the songs depressing. In fact, I don't think any fans find them depressing. I feel that the band is capable of taking painful subjects and transforming them into beautiful songs which flood the mind with a sublime, intense euphoria.

But as I said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I'm not saying you're wrong: I'm just voicing my own views.

That's all.


Response to fat freddies post about Radiohead..

Post 3

Monquixote

Though it is a personal opinion that you voiced a regards disliking the music of radiohead, i find your claim that radiohead cannot realy play quite confusing. The scope and complexity of the songs that the band have produced suggets a large grasp of music theory especily in Johnny Greenwoods use of unusual diminished chord voicings. Also the quality of the musicianship on all of their albums with the possible exception of Pablo Honey is absolutely exemplary.
You also seem to claim that the band are in some way media whores and are over marketed and insinuate that this is a reason not to enjoy their music. I have two criticisms with this claim. The first of which is that the medias opinion of the band is completely irrellevent to their quality either real or imagined and that any study of the band would show they have never encouraged intensive marketing of thier "product". The second point is that you negate your own claim by saying that you dissaprove of bands who are very heavily marketed and treated with media sycophancy and then go on to claim great respect for the Beatles who whilst certainly the greatest of bands were also the most hyped, fawned over and popular band of all time.
I am not in anyway suggesting that you are not entitiled to your own oppinions or "flaming" you. I am mearly suggesting that your reasons for disliking the band are not based in fact and your arguements seem to contradict themselves. Simply saying that their music does not please my ear would sufice.


Response to fat freddies post about Radiohead..

Post 4

beeline

I saw Radiohead play live at the Glastonbury Festival some years ago (their OK Computer album was just out). As far as musicianship and performance goes, they were astonishingly, breathtakingly good, as probably every single member of that audience will testify. Whether anyone likes their music or not, they can play.

I love their music, and find that quite a lot of their songs focus on depressing topics: alienation, disenfranchisement, loneliness, etc. but are not of themselves depressing. To me, they're cathartic, in the same way as the blues: identifying problems with today's culture might make me initially depressed about them, but singing them out somehow makes it better.


Response to Response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 5

Fat Freddie

Right. First of all, I acknowledge Zem42's post - it's a fair cop, you know them, I don't. I will be the first to put my hand up and say I don't know much about them, other than that I have listened to them, and don't like them - something Monquixtoe seems to have missed in the first 2 lines of my post - my reason's for disliking them are clearly set out. If I had left it at that, maybe I wouldn't have wound any1 up. However, I tend to suffer from 'diarrhoea of the fingers' sometimes, and let myself get carried away. Most of the post was a backlash of feeling frustrated at the general lack of thinking involved in the buying music, and could have been levelled at any number of bands, and I happened to rightly or wrongly choose this one; maybe merely because it was there. The second caller also seems to have taken my post literally personally as a slur on his/her character. They don't like being described as a 'meeja hor lover'. In no way was it to be taken as such. I expected to be in the minority when voicing my views about Radiohead. One thing does niggle me - maybe because Monquixote hit the nail on the head as it were: re: heavy marketing of bands and the beatles. Yes, ok, point given, but I was in a rush. Would it make you happier if I, in hindsight, removed the Beatles from the posting, and started talking about Chuck Berry, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, the Isley brothers, and from the newer generation, Baby Mammoth, Fila Brazilia, Red Snapper etc? I could go on for ages, but won't 'cos its boring. However, your point about the media's opinion is commendable, and I'm glad that you live your life NOT listening to them - its more healthy, but, and it pains me to say it, really DOES matter to the majority of people, who will base their buying descisions on marketing. If they didn't, after all, we wouldn't need marketing becasue it wouldn't work; but it does! I will sometimes read the first reviews of some albums myself, just to see what someone else thought. On further consideration, it's more likely that the majority of people who visit this site rely on their own mind to tell them what to do, rather than rely on the media, again very healthy. I would like to draw your attention to this point: Look at how many people buy magazines and newspapers for reviews of albums and films. Like it or not, the media tends to try and direct public opinion down certain channels. To illustrate this fact, I wish to digress briefly and look at two points which prove it: the election, and Brass Eye. The politicians have long realised the power of the newspapers to sway public opinion one way or the other, almost to the extent of having 'leak secretaries' whose job is to give various paper's 'exclusives' about various matters of policy; added to this,only a handful of people own all the newspapers/magazines in the this country, and like it or not, their views largely dictate the way the news is reported. This is nothing new. The newest edition of Brass Eye was another succint message - media hysteria does affect the public. The media coverage surrounding the program increased the complaints from members of the public (who had only gathered what they knew of the program from the newspapers, rather than watching it) was exactly what Chris Morris was talking about.
To summarise: I admit that in some people's eyes, I was wrong to choose Radiohead to bring this point up, as I don't know that much about them, after all, but I disagree with the one of the arguments that was used to prove I was wrong from the second caller because it was seemed to be a 'throwaway' line, and was poorly thought out. I repeat, this is not a personal attack, so please don't take it as such.


Response to Response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 6

Spod

One thing everyone always forgets to mention is the fact that Radiohead are shameless plagiarists, and always have been. They operate well out of the sphere of homage or inspiration, and clearly just pilfer things wholesale from other artists.

They always have done.

Almost any other bands, if seen to demonstrate the level of musical theft that Radiohead manage, would be absolutely hammered by the press, but Radiohead's 'sacred cow' status with both the meeja and also the average music fan in the street seems to prevent people taking issue. Why? Is it because they've got degrees? Is it because they are simply the greatest band ever in any genre? Or is it because, largely, they present a very, very accomplished front to both the meeja and public due to them being extraordinarily meeja savvy? The disenfranchised anti-corporate millenial existentialist angst card is, after all, just another marketing tool.

But I'm just cynical.

And Fat Freddie, your mate's brothers' band are much, much better than Radiohead.


Response to Response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 7

beeline

Can you give some examples of their plagiarism? I admit, some of the Beta Band's ideas seem 'close to the surface'...


Response to Response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 8

Spod

Karma Police steals the piano hook from Sexy Sadie by The Beatles, the second track (as I remember, my copy's upstairs) of Kid A (the title track?) is a wholesale rip-off of the material on Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin, Creep rips off the 'grunge' blueprint (quiet-LOUD-quiet-LOUD), Street Spirit nicks the melody from Blue Jay Way by The Beatles, Electioneering is Taxman, numerous examples of the percussion on OK Computer are nicked from DJ Shadow, who in turn nicks them (literally) off old records, all the stuff pinched from Autechre, Boards Of Canada, Warp Records as a whole on the last two LPs... These are just things I've noticed and can remember off the top of my head. I'm sure a musicologist could confirm/deny/add to these examples if they looked into it.

Oasis got bloody crucified for musical theft. So Radiohead steal more elegantly, perhaps, it's still theft.

Not that I'm saying that is necessarily a bad thing, per se. Everyone needs inspiration, and I've no problem with a well-thought-out homage or tribute, something in-the-style-of, say (much of my favourite music heavily nods its head towards The Beach Boys, for example). But nicking riffs and fills wholesale, and not even saying thank you for it (in sleeve notes or interviews), that's just bloody rude, innit?


Response to Response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 9

beeline

Thanks - I'll check those out...

Love Boards of Canada. smiley - smiley


Reprise of response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 10

Monquixote

In response to the response to the response. (gasp)
You points were all very valid i only claimed that they were not true in realtion to radiohead and as you say that you are not especialy familiar with their work that is forgivable.
Also may i compliment your music taste.
Cheers Dude
Monquixote.


Reprise of response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 11

LokuZ

Spod: Although Radiohead have actually (repeatedly) cited a lot of the acts you mention as their inspiration, the only song I know that actually has the same chords as another is Creep. And, the band claim, they only noticed after they had written the song, and decided to keep it like that for a laugh.

I can think of many, many bands who have no originality and copy other records. Radiohead are very open about their inspirations, but they are innovative in their own right. Yes, a lot of the things they did had been done before, but they did them _in a new way_. At least the band haven't become increasingly conservative over the years, and resigned to retreading their old songs in increasingly populist ways (hello, Travis. Hello, Stereophonics). Although I do agree about the Aphex Twin point.

Oh, and Radiohead were slated immensely following the release of Kid A. They aren't pandered to constantly by the media, and when they were (around the time of OK Computer), they didn't pretend to be pleased about it.

Live, the band seem much more original. They improvise wildy around their songs, and their varied use of equipment and instruments to gain the effects they desire is amazing.

There are a lot of underground acts that are more original, but Radiohead seem to be the only 'original' group to make any impact on the charts. By listening to Radiohead, and their cited inspirations, I've discovered bands and artists that I was never interested in before. I listened to Pixies for the first time after hearing Radiohead.

Radiohead may have inspirations - but they rarely steal. Most bands seem only to have one song - and that they took from someone else. And today, the sampler is king - not just the few short samples that used to be used to create a 'bed' - entire melodies (and even lyrics) are being copied and slaughtered. Puff Daddy and his 'sampling' (or 'stealing') of the Police's Every Breath You Take come to mind.

I've written an essay. But I hope it conveys my point.

Also: there is no way you can catagorically say that some bands are 'better' than others. There is only opinion. So, Radiohead aren't better or worse than any other band. Let's leave the 'good' and 'bad' debate at that, hmm?


return of the Reprise of response to fat freddie's post about Radiohead..

Post 12

Fat Freddie

Cheers Monquixote. smiley - smiley

Re: sampling - this is a whole new ball game, and it is mentioned in context in the same way one may talk about Slobodan Milosovic. However, this is now an art form in its own right. Talent is still needed to chop up bits of other songs, reverse them, alter the characteristics of the sound wave to make entirely new sounds, whatever. There's some good pieces of kit out there that allow you to manipulate the sound wave in any way - meaning the sky's the limit.

However, you used a good example of bad 'sampling' - Puff Daddy. A great example of great sampling, check out anything on the Ninja Tune label. A fine record to buy if interested is 'Xen Cuts' a 3 CD anthology of Ninja's last 10 years. Top Album.

I don't work for them, by the way. 8)


Re sampling as an artform

Post 13

Monquixote

Here here.
I play guitar and write music and i also make music using synths and samplers and is an equal chalenge to create somthing of quality useng either method.


Re sampling as an artform

Post 14

LokuZ

Oh, I agree that sampling and synthesising and all that is great. I love that kind of stuff. But most mainstream artists are taking it far too far. Taking an entire song, rapping over it (or adding a fast drumbeat) and saying it's a new song is just plain lazy.
The real talent lies with people who can take a few select samples and add their own touches to make them into a completely new sound. That's what I think sampling should be about.


Re sampling as an artform

Post 15

Monquixote

Yeah i will buy DJ shadow over P-Diddy any day of the week.


Re sampling as an artform

Post 16

Dan

That plagiarism post is hilarious! Street Spirit/Blue Jay Way? I presume you're talking about:

"Rows of houses" ... "All bearing down on me"

and:

"Please don't be long" ... "please don't you be very long"

Where the first quoted bits match (at a push) and the second bits don't at all. You've spotted a little phrase match in two completely and totally different songs and called it plagiarism! Electioneering and Taxman? Same thing:

"When electioneeeering" ... "I trust I can rely on your vote"
"'Cause I'm the taxmaaan" ... "yeah, I'm, the taxman"

That's being really really really picky. I find it funny that Rh are constantly compared to Aphex Twin ("85-92" is cited) when one is more likely to hear hints of Kraftwerk, OMD, Kraut rock, jazz etc etc which long pre-date Aphex Twin. Were Aphex Twin so original that they're the source for Radiohead? You may flatter your record collection too much. The intro to Optimistic uses a sample from a 1971 electronic music experimental composer, and that's where Radiohead get (some of) their inspiration. It's the way they piece all the old components together and make them fresh which puts Radiohead in a league of their own. Bowie used to do it. The Beatles did it. Led Zeppelin did it. The best bands sell lots of records too. Bad luck. But too much emphasis is put on plagiarism in music. Sexy Sadie, arrest this man.


Re sampling as an artform

Post 17

beeline

That's an important point - apparent plagiarism of one band by another can often be explained by the fact that both bands were probably influenced by the same earlier bands.

No-one creates anything in a vacuum, with the possible exception of molecular beam epitaxy lithographers. smiley - smiley


Re sampling as an artform

Post 18

LokuZ

True, true.
There is a big difference between plagarism and inspiration. If it wasn't for people taking previous ideas and taking them in new directions, we'd have no music at all. No classical music, no blues, no jazz, no rock, nothing.

I do think that 'Kid A' (the track) is very reminiscent of Aphex Twin. But if you look at Radiohead's music, you'll find links to almost every genre of music you can think of. This isn't to say they've copied other acts; musical evolution is all about taking a style and changing it, adding to it. I think it's a shame that very few mainstream acts are in any way innovative.


Re sampling as an artform

Post 19

Fat Freddie

Well, we seem to have gone full circle!

This is what started off - My assumption that Radiohead were 'Mainstream'. And therefore worthy of attack.

hehe


Re sampling as an artform

Post 20

Jed the Humanoid -Keeper of things lost down the back of the sofa-also the Chief Mad Drunken Warrior of the Anti Squirrel League

Hello people,
I just got back from holiday to find that while i was gone my article went online (which is annoying) and seems to have caused quite a kerfuffle in here..so I'm gonna make my opinions known and try and ride herd on this bucking bronco of a conversations (hmm...i can't decide if that's a mixed metaphor or not...it seems...shall we say...confused..to say the least)
Anyway, Lots has been said..sone that i agree with, some that i don't...I'll try and work back from the end of the conversation and say what needs to be said in a roundabout fashion.
Firstly, Kid A = Aphex Twin Ambient stuff. It's quite blatant, and it doesn't matter cause they cited the inspiration in all of the two or three interviews they did about the album (which conjoins with the lack of media conspiracies here if you ask me..I mean..if you refuse to do any interviews you can hardly be called a media whore can you..the media hype over Kid A (more so than amnesiac) was entirely media based...Radiohead locked themselves in a hole somewhere and managed to create the most hyped album of all time...which had nothing to do with them..it was simply the media conglmerates and Sony that orchestrated that). The song also draws influence, as someone has already said from things like Kraftwerk and Autechre, INFLUENCE HAPPENS...i listen to music...i then write a song...it has been influenced by the music I heard...it happens. Lets face it...Radiohead bought the back catalogue of Warp Records and listened to it a lot while recording Kid A..that's about it really...no real theiving conspiracy. On a similar note...accusing a band of being plagiaristic because they use the 'quiet-LOUD-quiet-LOUD' dynamic is ridiculous. Every alternative band since the pixies has done this...are you gonna stop listening to them all because they are thieving sons of mother f***ers....the answer is no..cause you'd end up listening to Steps...on of the few bands who has never used that dynamic...and we wouldn't want that now would we. Everythinng else that needs to be said has been said already in this forum...i agree with most of what people said arguing against plagiarisim.
(Deep Breathe)
Ok..sofar we know that Radiohead probably aren't blatant thieves...so we move onto a slightly less radiohead oriented subject. The question of sampling. I tried this out on my work experience, and since then have wanted to do some kind of music production thing. I recently decided to bit the bullet and start saving up for a Sampler, Mixer, Synth etc so that i could do it all in my bedroom. (incidentally..I'm looking for online places (preferably h2g2) where i can find out mroe about this..any help would be much obliged). As far as i can see these are some of the most amazing instruments I've ever seen. I was born and bred playing piano...its a part of me...but no conventional instrument can do as much as a synth/sampler setup can do...I know this cause in three days I made a passable, highly amusing..and surprisingly well finished song...with out any use of a piano..my instrument of choice...the only instrument I can play properly. What I'm saying is that this stuff is good. Crap sampling leads to crap songs..being called P-Diddy by choice probably leads to crap songs...any instrument/musical tool is only as good as the person using it. Show originality and you can make frighteningly good music...be someone like Puff Daddy..and you'll make frightening music

So..onwards...and upwards...I have never seen radiohead live..one of my greatest regrets is not being quick enough to get tickets for the Oxford gig.. but apparently they are amazing live. This doesn't however need to be seen to see the quality of the bands musicianship. They are amazing in a studio as well. Most of the last three albums appear note perfect..and the production of Nigel Godrich really helps bring out the bands sounds perfectly..Listen to Kid A and ponder how in tune with their instruments and each other a band need to be to create music like that. a lot of it was sampling and synths admittedly...but the use of instrumental bits throughout is astonishing. To Freddie..who opened this thread by saying that he had listened to the first three albums and seen nothing that had impressed him. I say..please please go and listen to kid A and Amnesiac or even just one..and say what you think about the band now..the whole thing is amazing...beautiful and startlingly original music. I can't say any more..the music speaks for itself.
Also, Radiohead aren't depressing...steps are depressing...radiohead are just meaningful...I find listening to radiohead a deeply emotional experience...but it rarely depresses me....it generally instills a sense of massive inspiration (and of a bizare paranioa from the last few albums) that I love more than anything else

Ok I'll leave it at that..but with one last thing
I wrote the article as a MASSIVE radiohead fan..the whole thing is amazingly biased, in my oponion incomplete.. lacking in actual information about the band and totally one sided. This is why I'm very grateful to all of you people who drop by and whinge about how poo they think the band are..it evens out the whole think quite well. So thank you for disagreeing with me
Byes
smiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - dohsmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zensmiley - zen



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