A Raging Riff on Radiohead’s Ridiculous Radicalness

I am listening to a Radiohead show that I found on the N.P.R. website.  I like Radiohead.  I have all of their albums.  I have never been to a show.  I would like to.  I remember when The Bends came out and all of these magazines were talking about how great they were and I didn’t get a copy then.  I waited until Ok Computer before I joined up with everybody else.  

And I have to admit that it was a different kind of record for me.  Most of the other rock music that I listened to was pretty straightforward.  I was new to this “experimental” stuff.  Radiohead, if you know anything about them, has evolved quite a bit over the years.   I have a lot of friends who tell me that they just don’t get Radiohead.

I think that is one of the fun things about them though.  They are challenging.  You have to spend some time with the music and sometimes the payoffs are not coming from all of the normal, obvious places.  I know that often when I am listening to a Radiohead song for the first time I don’t know what to think.  I normally want to like it more than I think I do.  I’m asking myself, “Am I enjoying this?”  I try to stay open.  I think that it’s because I feel like I really believe in this band.  I always feel as if I am in the hands of some incredibly interesting and talented musicians and that something very special is happening.

I remember when Kid A came out and I was stumped.  That one was DEFINITELY out there.  I think I bought it at Target in Denton, Texas… where I was living (that was around the second time I dropped out of college… maybe a year before the third time…).  I do remember one day sitting in my room at the apartment that I was sharing with three friends.  I think I was trying to take a nap and I think that it had snowed that day or it was fiercely cold outside at least.  

I was bundled up.

I remember that record being a big deal in the music community.  And I wasn’t in any music community but I thought it must mean something good about the music.  I remember it getting great reviews in magazines I didn’t read.

I didn’t get it.  

I felt dumb or left out.  But that one day in my room at that apartment I played it on the stereo and it suddenly started to make sense.  Or I began to just accept it for what it was.

I’m getting cheesy here.  I guess I realized that as different as the music sounded from what I normally listened to, it still had a kind of magic to it that I couldn’t deny.  And that is what made it worth it for me.  I began to be very appreciative of the chances that they took (and still take).  I was so glad that they put so much thought into what they were making.  I felt proud to be a part of it.  I didn’t want to be one of those people who just said, “That’s weird”, and walked away.  That’s what I liked about it.  The weirdness.

In conclusion:  Radiohead is rad.  


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