Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We're not scaremongering, this is really happening

How do you follow up an album like OK Computer? Why, with an album like Kid A, of course.
After the critical acclaim of OK Computer and the subsequent world tour, the members of Radiohead were close to burnout. They spent the next year resting, recuperating and dealing with the pressures of their new status as critical darlings. And then, without any real time constraints or pressure from their label, they set about to work on material for their next two albums.
One could have expected them to create a sequel to OK Computer, but that is precisely what they did not do, which shocked and alienated some people. Says Jonny Greenwood, "
I think a lot of writers expected us to come back with a combination of OK Computer and The Bends. The fact that we didn't do that means people who got their guitars out have had to put them back into the wardrobe".

Instead, Radiohead surprised the world with Kid A, an even more experimental work than its predecessor. Kid A turns the focus away from guitar-based rock and turns toward electronica and experimental jazz, including the use of various horns on The National Anthem. The increasing interest in computer-generated sound becomes evident with an addictive use of clicks, blips and beeps in Everything in Its Right Place and Kid A, for example. You can hear the early influences which would eventually lead to Thom Yorke's releasing The Eraser last year.

Today I finally had the lab work done which I was supposed to do right after my physical exam a few weeks ago. I was expecting the blood work and the urinalysis, but not the EKG!

Apparently when you get to my advanced age, you get to do fun things like this on a regular basis. I now know how a car battery feels while it is being jump-started.

howdy, it's great getting old. It seems every year they invent a new activity designed to keep us doddering old fucks from getting bored.


Dale said...

I always forget about the lovely EKG part too, damn me!

Thanks for the background info on Radiohead. I've always listened to them with no context and full on awe. Another one of my fave 'heads' is Portishead.

Allison said...

I just noticed your sidebar is too all Radioheaded out. You don't tease.

I've never heard of anyone actually going to get lab work done when they're suppose too, just not how it works. You have to get an EKG every year? Well, I'm working on bending the space time continuum, so I don't have to age, I'll let you know how it works out.

And the honda civic tag in your label is making me chuckle, as I'm listening to "Keep The Car Running" by Arcade Fire.

Ha, my 'word' is pffft!!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You've had the EKG before, Dale? This was my first. Aren't they a hoot?
It's been really fun doing Radiohead week, actually. We'll see how many people are still reading by the end of it though, haha!
I've never listened to Portishead, but I am going to go check out their myspace, because one good head band deserves another.

It's an all out celebration, Allison, no holds barred.
Yeah, I'm assuming that this is to be my baseline EKG, you know for when I have a heart attack. Please keep me posted on the time space continuum work, and maybe speak to David Bowie, I think he's got it figured out.
How's that for label - music symmetry? And I would kill for a wv like pffft, I always get jwxhfqmwftzx.

Deb said...

I honestly think you should do this stuff for a living. Your reviews are so bang on and my God can you keep us readers interested.

We can swap stories later on poking, prodding and peeing into cups, k? I'm with ya babe.

justacoolcat said...

These days Kid A gets more listening than OK Computer. Recently, I've even re-gotten into Hail. It's odd how it seems to happen go in phases.

I can't believe you have never listened to Portishead. Check out their live in NYC.

Evelyne said...

I'll have to listen to my Radiohead cds again, i guess that it will be better with some background info, the first time i heard them, i didn't like it at all, just like what happened with The Arcade Fire, but second time, totally different, it was way better, and i loved it! But i haven't listen some Radiohead cds recently

EKG, that's not cool, I did one when I was about 12, I did a test on a bike counting the watts that you can make and my bike coach freaked out because i couldn't breath at the end of the test and i should have done way better than i actually did, so the doctor freaked out too when my mom told him what happened, he thought that something might be wrong with my heart... turns out it was only effort induced asthma, all those tests (blood and everything) to finally know that i was a healthy asthmatic 12 years old

Fearless said...

Kid A was groundbreaking for me in that it was the first full album I ever PIRATED off the internet. So if the RIAA ever comes after me, I'm blaming it all on Radiohead!!
They may have cut back on the guitars on this album but the bass is full throttle, especially on National Anthem. I love the horn usage on their latter stuff too...

Toccata said...

Oh no I'm listening to my first and I think last Radiohead song. It's hurting my ears! Couldn't make it to the end. Must put on some Vivaldi to stop this cringe feeling in my spine. Ok that's better. Do all the songs sound like Paranoid Android?

Oh dear I think that song just killed all my brain cells.

Karen said...

I still don't get the whole Radiohead thing... they're no Tom Jones.

Hope the blood tests come back a-ok! And as for the EKG, I don't mind them (I've had two). However, during the last one the lady attaching the electrodes to my chest decided to start chitchatting about tattoos. It was a bit unnerving because it made me feel that she was doing more than just her job...she was "looking" !!! yikes...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Awww, you're too kind, Deb, but damn it would be fun to do something like this on a daily basis.
Peeing into cups has got to be one of the more challenging activities one can attempt. And I sure hope they clean those bathrooms frequently because I'm thinking if I'm peeing all over my hands, then surely every other woman must be as well.

I go in cycles with Radiohead albums as well, Just A. This most recent chapter of the love affair started with me listening to The Bends over and over.
I hang my head in shame on the Portishead ignorance. I shall remedy my shortcomings post-haste.

It's often the albums that take a few listens before they sound good that last the longest, Evelyne, at least for me. Sometimes the ones that I love immediately wear off too quickly - like a sugar high.
Doing an EKG while cycling would not be much fun (especially as an asthmatic, I imagine), but mine was fine - I just had to lie on a examining bench.

JustRun said...

They do this electroshock thing on my knee at physical therapy- it's strange at first but then, it sort of feels good. Either that, or I am just a little odd. Yeah, probably that.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You rebel, Fearless! If they ever come after you, we can hide you out here. "Sanctuary!" - said in my best Homer Simpson voice. Reverend Lovejoy: "I wish I had nevr taught him that word."
Yeah, the bass is still definitely there, and the horns are a great touch, aren't they? Certainly add a jazz feel.

Really, Toccata? If Paranoid Android has that effect on you, I would not recommend listening to The National Anthem or Idioteque (or some of the stuff that I'll be posting today and tomorrow). But to sooth your ears and your spine (and to prove that Radiohead can play gorgeous ballads), I would ask you to consider listening to Fake Plastic Trees on Monday's post and Let Down on Tuesday's.

"They're no Tom Jones"! I cannot argue that, Karen. Mind you, while Tom Jones has a very nice voice and sings pretty ditties about boning women, sometimes you need something a little more meaningful in the scheme of humanity, and something that stretches your musical imagination. That's where Radiohead comes in.
The EKG was rather pleasant. I got to lie down, which is always nice, and leave my pants on, which is even better. I guess the technician does need to look to a certain extent for electrode placement but maybe not look that hard?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

JustRun, I can imagine that the electroshock on your knee feels a little like when you get a facial and they do the microderm abrasion (vacuum your face). It also feels weird, but oddly addictive, especially when you consider that all the wrinkles are being sucked out.

Johnny Yen said...

I got the "old guy" tests a few years ago-- cholesterol, hdl, ldl, prostate (one you won't have to worry about), etc. but no EKG yet. All were good news. My cholesterol level is very low. I give credit to red wine.

Will said...

Kid A is absolutely my favorite Radiohead album. I remember hearing it at a record store a few days before it came out and just having my mind blown. "Idioteque" has always been a real favorite ... and a high point from the one time I saw them live.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Red wine rules, Johnny Yen! That must be why my cholesterol has always been good as well. The EKG is kinda fun, actually - you get to lie down for a while.

Idioteque is spectacular, Will, and has one of the best names ever. Brilliant.

Mellowlee said...

I agree with Dale I love Portishead too! I will make u a Portishead mix Barb, it's sewww gud! I didn't have those three Radiohead songs on my puter, thanks Barb!! I also second what Deb says about you writing reviews for a living!

justacoolcat said...

Karens comment is too funny!

As for the medical stuff I hope the tests came out ok.

I'm still too young for yearly man tests so I'm still stucking paying people to stick things in my ... umm nevermind.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That would be seeewwww guuuud of you, Mel! I would love another Mel special. How come everybody knows about Portished cept me? Oh yeah, it's that rock I've been living under.

You should just tell them that you are 40, JustA and they will do it for free. Nah, on second thought, they would just end up carding you.

phlegmfatale said...

I've been driving about 300 miles a week lately, and for the last two weeks, I've been unable to convince myself to pop The Eraser out of my cd player. Over and over. Love his voice, love his pathos, his humanity, his sweet sadness. Love. Him. Thom Yorke can do no wrong.

Oh, and I have never heard, let alone owned a Radiohead cd. Time to change that, obviously. But I just move the hands upon the clock.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The Eraser is a great cd for in the car, Phlegmmy. And I completely back you on the Thom worship. And the rest of Radiohead is every bit as brilliant, so I'm glad you're beating the Clock.

amylola said...

first time i ever read your blog. i am a complete radiohead fanatic AND an older woman (older than that 17 year old boys who post on the radiohead messageboard.). (Much older.)

what a well-written blog. i will be exploring your past entries, too. so thanks for a fresh look at radiohead and any mention of (genius) Thom Yorke. greatest voice ..... yeah.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Amlylola, welcome! I'm glad you have joined us for Radiohead week celebrations.
I'm no 17 year old either so I can also attest that Radiohead appeals to all generations (age is highly over-rated anyway).
You'll get no arguements from me that Thom Yorke falls into genius category.