Strider Posted March 31, 2011 Share Posted March 31, 2011 I have now had a day to listen and re-listen to the new Radiohead cd "The King of Limbs" and while I can't say that it is as accessible as "In Rainbows"(there's nothing as out-of-the-box striking as "Reckoner" or "Nude" was), I am starting to dig it more and more with each listen. Early favourites on the new record are "Morning Mr. Magpie", "Feral" and "Give Up the Ghost". Besides, it's Radiohead...who, along with Wilco, PJ Harvey, Sigur Ros, Lucinda Williams and a few others, will be remembered 20 years hence as one of the greats of this era. I love Radiohead for the same reasons I got into Led Zeppelin: great musicianship, adventurous sounds, good production, and the stubbornness to follow their muse and do things their own way, conventional-wisdom be damned. Just as Led Zeppelin could take familiar blues-rock tropes and create something scintillating and distinctly their own, Radiohead uses electronica to a similar end. Both bands cast their musical net over a wide and eclectic variety of sources, inspired by an ever-questing musical curiosity, yet the end result is always definable as being uniquely their own. Whether Led Zeppelin was blazing through sun-blasted Arabian deserts or drifting down the muddy Mississippi river or mellowing out in the gorgeous green hills and dales of Wales, the resulting music always bore the unmistakable stamp of Led Zeppelin. Be it a pile-driving blues stomper or a blissed-out English madrigal, Led Zeppelin had the ability to put everything through its magic filter and make it strange, weird, wonderful, and most importantly, ROCK! Even if they were just picking banjos and mandolins...their music rocked. Radiohead is similar. Now before the fanboys get up in arms and say I am crazy for mentioning Radiohead in the same breath as Zeppelin, I am not saying Radiohead is the equal of Led Zeppelin in historical impact or that I would say they are my 1st or 2nd favourite band of all-time. But they are creeping into my top 10. And the feeling I get listening to Radiohead is strikingly similar to the feeling Zeppelin gives me, even though their approach is very different. Radiohead seems to go out of their way to not act or play like a standard rock band, even though all you have to do is take one listen to one of their early albums(say The Bends) and you know they could have made plenty of money and gained plenty of fans just regurgitating the same album over and over. But just like Led Zeppelin refused to repeat Led Zeppelin II ad nauseum, so Radiohead decided after The Bends to follow their own muse, trusting the listener to follow them wherever it lead. Just as "In Through the Out Door" is as different to "Houses of the Holy" as "Houses" is to "Led Zeppelin I", Radiohead's "The King of Limbs" is to "OK Computer" what "OK Computer" is to "Pablo Honey". It's just that the difference is that Zeppelin's inspiration to transcend the blues-rock genre lay in world music(primarily Celtic and North Africa) and Motown and Funk, while Radiohead's way out of the grunge-ghetto led through the fields of electronica and minimalism and the chopped-up beats of hip-hop. But make no mistake, no matter how far afield Radiohead gets, they still make it rock(maybe not as "heavy" as Zeppelin but they rock all the same)...you know a Radiohead song when you hear one. It has the same indefinable "something" that separates them from their supposed followers/competition that Zeppelin songs had. Just as Led Zeppelin were miles above the likes of Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, etc., so has Radiohead distanced themselves from the Doves, Elbow, Coldplay, Muse. Characteristics that both bands share: 1. A striking vocalist(Robert Plant/Thom Yorke) with an immediately identifiable voice. 2. A guitarist(Jimmy Page/Jonny Greenwood) with an individual approach to the instrument and an ability to sculpt mesmerizing soundscapes. 3. A great drummer(John Bonham/Phil Selway) capable of handling any beat or time signature the band needs. Trust me, you have to see Radiohead live to appreciate the job Phil Selway does. 4. A bassist(John Paul Jones/Colin Greenwood) with a way with a groove and the ability to play keyboards as well. 5. Consistent quality production...their albums always "sound" good. And while Radiohead doesn't sell near the amount of records that Zeppelin did, they can sell out any show at the drop of a hat. Their live reputation has grown exponentially through the years. If you've never seen them live, you owe it to yourself to at least check them out once. So back to the thread...what are your thoughts about the new Radiohead? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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