Review: Radiohead – Amnesiac

by Terence Leung

Lets put it this way, I’ve listened to Radiohead’s entire back catalogue as religiously as Michael Bolton fans listen to Michael Bolton’s back catalogue and yes, these two “artists” (can you guess which “artist” I am putting the quotations to? Because if you can’t, stop right now, and sell your stereo for a fucking haircut. Now. Did you get it yet? Ok good. Holy shit that’s ugly. You pay for that haircut? Pull up your pants.) are becoming/already are (respectively) about as banal musically as can be.

Let me illustrate, after repeatedly listening Amnesiac and afterwards, a child grating his/her untrimmed fingernails against a dirty chalkboard while tearing out my throat with a wooden spoon in front of my grandmother (in replacement for Michael Bolton CD’s that I do not have. I swear) I have come to two conclusions:

1. Thom Yorke’s left eye (his left). There’s really no plausible way I can describe how funny looking it is.




2. Michael Bolton has the visual appeal of a homosexual elven dwarf. I’ve been told he’s quite tall, but this is my article and dammit he’s an elven dwarf.

The fact is, I’m having a harder and harder time taking Radiohead seriously with their ever-changing focus. It’s the same with Michael Bolton’s magical elven mullet. Mind you, I am way beyond being overtly critical, but all sense of intensity that was so prominent in The Bends, OK Computer and even bits and pieces of Kid A is seemingly cut away in favour of electronic noodling. The parallel here, is that with Ass-clown Bolton, the first cover he ever did early in his career may have been somewhat (I cringe at making this comment, but it’s necessary) interesting for its time, but by now, where he’s covering tunes by some new boy band (call them Chodaboys or something) it’s rhetoric, repetitive, archaic, dry, and plain done. Radiohead is creeping very near.

This is not by any means, some musical backlash against their inflated popularity, there are songs in Amnesiac that reaffirms my faith in Radiohead and as slow and plodding “Life in a Glasshouse” is, the melding of ragtime New-Orleans jazz, Radiohead weirdness and guitars, the lines: “well of course I’d like to sit around and chat * well of course I’d like to sit and chew the fat * well of course I’d like to sit around and chat * is someone listening in?” amongst a crescendo that cranks itself louder and louder with muted trumpets, clarinets, trombones, etc.. well, it makes my last two paragraphs almost fall on deaf ears.

Almost, that is. There’s the “Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors” that treads into the poor-mans Autechre/Kraftwerk region and the mind-numbingly uninspiring “Knives Out” that should have been left for a b-side. It plods and plods and plods for nearly six minutes about tripe like “so knives out * catch da mouse * squash his head * put him in the pot * so knives out * catch da mouse * don’t look down * shove it in yer mouth”.

There’s not much of an “album” here. Not like there was in OK Computer. In fact, it’s so close, but the needless noodling (again, please refer to “Hunting Bears”) destroys the goal of making an “album”, the perfect kind that is. Instead, it’s no different than Michael Bolton trying to reinvent himself by cutting his long hair. The change is merely cosmetic.

  • Review: Radiohead – Amnesiac
  • by Terence Leung
  • Published on July 1st, 2001
June 2001

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