Yeah, yeah, yeah. You've heard it all. Overdetermined. Blah Blah. What's one more?
At Wireless Bollinger, we did it four (4) times. In an experiment intended to produce varying opinions, I think how it turned out says something special: We've all been brainwashed.
Mine went something like this:
To slight Radiohead over 10 years after their artistic and critical ascendance would not only be flagrantly contrarian, but also embarrassingly belated. The time for backlash has come and gone and it is no secret which side prevailed. Though periodically forgetting their role, Radiohead are one of the last vestiges of the Great Rock Band, concerned with the album, the art form and continuous progression, all in the truest sense.
That said, I've never been much of a fan.
Call me shamefully shallow, needy or even elitist, but Radiohead fail to invoke that special brand of intimacy. There has always been something far too egalitarian about it all. Bootlegs, b-sides and discussion boards aside, the thought of the harmony between meatheads cranking 'Creep' in their SUVs, vacuous teenagers feigning personal depth with 'Fake Plastic Trees' and obsessives scouring OK Computer for a coherent narrative has never sat well with me.
With the release of In Rainbows, the populous prevails again. By flipping the script, shredding the recording industry blueprint, and turning marketing norms on their collective ear (no advanced copies were distributed for reviewing), Radiohead has leveled the playing field. But they've also stripped the musical experience of individuality.
By releasing the album suddenly for download, the band has assured the singularity of the listening experience. There was no car ride home with plastic wrap thrown to the passengers seat or no anticipation for the first glimpse of the postman. Instead, we all enjoyed the same click, save, add new files, update device, et cetera, et cetera. Rumors have figures at 1.2 million downloads in the first two days. That is terrifying. Their scope is too broad, power too far reaching and range frightening -- a bit too Orwellian, too computerized. Fitter, happier. READ THE RESTRadiohead Paperbag Writer