• Following their coming up in a thread elsewhere I thought I'd start one on them here. My instinct is there won't be many takers, but let's see if I'm surprised.


    Notice I haven't put this in the Other Prog Bands thread! They are a band about whom the "are they prog?" discussion often seems to come up. I initially thought it started just because in 1997 they put out a 6-minute single (Paranoid Android) which had 'movements', and many cited this, and its sci-fi allusion (and the somewhat 'spacey' slant to some songs) as some sort of proof they're prog. Others have said no it's not just that, it's their approach and the way they combine different sounds, etc.


    But anyway as those in the know may discern from my username, I am a fan and interested to hear from other fans and indeed naysayers.

    Abandon all reason

  • Blacksword wrote:

    From Ok Computer onward, I always regarded them as a prog rock band, before I was aware of any attempt to label them as such. They are prog by definition IMO, purely because they have a progressive approach to making music, with each album only loosely following their formula of combining electonica with guitar music. Their 'anything goes' approach to making music is similar to that of KC, I agree, although Fripp ensured a constantly changing approach to songwriting by changing line ups or at least key members from one album to the next, whereas RH at least stuck together!


    OK Computer remains in my top 10 albums of all time. In Rainbows and Kid A also rank highly for me, and being a closet Indie kid, The Bends is an album I'll always love. Good days!


    OKC is an odd one for me. Three of my absolute favourite tracks are on it: Airbag, Lucky and Let Down. Yet as a whole, it's not one I listen to at all. Something about it just doesn't hang together. I do like many of the ones that didn't make it on to the album though, and which were gathered together on OK Not OK.


    The Bends, however, I'm with you on that. I'd heard some of the singles then when I first put that album on, I was rooted to the spot by the opening track Planet Telex and it still gives me shivers. It was as though every kind of rock dynamic and texture I love had been put in one track. I can pinpoint my becoming a fan to those few minutes of hearing that track for the first time. By the way, I like how you say "closet indie kid" as though it's a sort of taboo thing to mention round these parts!


    Yes In Rainbows is a top one for me as well, if it weren't for the sentiment I have for Planet Telex I'd probably say Reckoner was my favourite Radiohead track. It's extraordinarily moving, but I'm not sure why. I don't really know what it's about, but the music and the yearning in his voice gets me every time.

    Abandon all reason

  • They are a band I used to love that I am now lukewarm on.


    "Pablo Honey" didn't really appeal to me (and it has to have one of the worst album covers ever).


    Now, "The Bends" through "Amnesiac" - absolutely love! Great music! Saw them twice live during this era - wonderful.


    Then, "Hail To The Thief" came out...hmmm... My first thought, '"Didn't you just make two albums that sounded like this?" Here's where they started to lose me.


    "In Rainbows" made more optimistic - I didn't love it, but I liked it a lot more than "Hail To The Thief". I missed hearing actual songs - they went into more instrumental noodling (to my ears) after "Amnesiac".


    "King Of Limbs" - they lost me. Didn't like that at all. The only "good" thing is that, if I remember correctly, it's only 35-40 minutes long. :rolleyes:


    "A Moon-Shaped Pool" - this is nice, I guess, but it certainly doesn't excite me. I miss their doing actual songs - they used to do that really well...


    Oh well... ^^

    Stepping out the back way, hoping nobody sees...

  • The whole question of whether Radiohead are prog rock or not is a thread topic on it's own...and through my experience on a prog rock forum, probably a discussion to be avoided. People get quite heated about such things, especially those for whom prog rock is defined by having a heavy rock foundation, compositions characterised by long meandering solo's, mellotron waves and ever shifting time signatures.


    Radiohead are prog by definition, IMO, and are a unique band. I'm often not in the mood for them, but when I am, I find they can take me to places many other bands can't. OK Computer is a masterpiece of rock music. The Bends also is incredible. That was an 'indie band' at the top of their game, and ready to 'progress' elsewhere. Planet Telex, The Bends, High & Dry, Fake Plastic Trees, Street Sprit still move me, and take me back to some very good times. The 90's was my era, and The Bends was one of those era defining albums, as was Ok Computer. What came after, I mostly took too. I still love Kid A and Amnesiac. Hearing Pyramid Song live was quite an experience! King of Limbs & Hail to the Thief left me a little cold. There didn't seem to be enough to hook me in. I'll have to revisit. In Rainbows was a return to form, and Moon shaped pool aint too shoddy either.

  • I have a lot of friends who love Radiohead but I have never been able to get into their music. While I may like the odd song they have done I cannot listen to a whole album of theirs

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”

  • I have a lot of friends who love Radiohead but I have never been able to get into their music. While I may like the odd song they have done I cannot listen to a whole album of theirs

    I am with you on this one but taste aside, what baffles me the most is the inevitable introduction: 'If you are a Genesis fan you are going to love Radiohead'.

    Well, I fail to see the connection really.

  • ^^^ I don't get that either.


    The bands have nothing in common. Although I regard RH as prog rock, they don't resemble any of the 'classic era' prog acts at all, with the possible exception of King Crimson, but only in their approach to making music, not their sound or style.

  • I am with you on this one but taste aside, what baffles me the most is the inevitable introduction: 'If you are a Genesis fan you are going to love Radiohead'.

    Well, I fail to see the connection really.

    "Inevitable"?


    I've never heard anyone say that but clearly you've heard it many times.


    They're of course very different, at most you could say they each have some interesting textures and dynamics.


    I mentioned elsewhere their lead guitarist tried some Genesis and "hated it" but said the one thing he really liked was the mellotron choir which then featured in a few of their songs.


    Yorke was once asked the prog question and he said he did like Gabriel-era Genesis.


    I agree that if they take anything from, or sound similar to, any prog band it's 80s King Crimson

    Abandon all reason

    Edited 3 times, last by Backdrifter ().

  • ^^^ I find most rock stars - especially singers - a bit full of themselves. It goes with the territory ;)

    I think there is a lot to that. There might be an element of that needed in order to become a lead singer, to an extent.


    He is one of those who divides opinion quite starkly. I'm a huge fan of the band and of him, but entirely see why he is divisive. I will just say - not that this mitigates how he comes across publicly - I've met and chatted with him three times and he was friendly, engaging and lighthearted each time.

    Abandon all reason

  • Well, 'Many' might be a bit of s stretch but yes, I heard it a couple of times. I think they were talking about their prog-spirit but as I said, I don't hear it or perhaps I am biased and it's just the fact that I don't like them much.

  • Very interesting summary of your Radiohead listening, and I dare say it's not far off that of quite a few others who ended up drifting away from them. One thing I was a bit surprised by though, that you found Hail very similar to the preceding two albums - to me, there isn't much similarity at all.


    There's often a lot made about how they don't do songs any more but I think AMSP and IR are very 'songy'. I think they put a lot of people off with TKOL, especially after the very accessible IR which brought many back into their orbit. I remember one reviewer saying it was as though they suddenly remembered they're Radiohead and are meant to be glacial and unapproachable. Even many dedicated fans find that one hard going. I found that after persevering it gradually gave up its goodies and that the tracks seriously came to life on stage. The two gigs I went to on that tour probably still rank as among the best in my experience.


    But, as you say, oh well indeed! Which tours did you see them on?

    Hearing Pyramid Song live was quite an experience!

    A real favourite of mine. I saw one of the very early performances of that, at Scott Walker's Meltdown Festival in 2000 before either Kid A or Amnesiac had been released. They announced it as Egyptian Song and I was instantly mesmerised as they launched into it. But two women behind me were chatting and I ended up really angrily telling them to be quiet (I'm usually more polite in those situations). I gather my bad-tempered outburst made its way on to a bootleg of that show.

    Abandon all reason

  • Very interesting summary of your Radiohead listening, and I dare say it's not far off that of quite a few others who ended up drifting away from them. One thing I was a bit surprised by though, that you found Hail very similar to the preceding two albums - to me, there isn't much similarity at all.


    There's often a lot made about how they don't do songs any more but I think AMSP and IR are very 'songy'. I think they put a lot of people off with TKOL, especially after the very accessible IR which brought many back into their orbit. I remember one reviewer saying it was as though they suddenly remembered they're Radiohead and are meant to be glacial and unapproachable. Even many dedicated fans find that one hard going. I found that after persevering it gradually gave up its goodies and that the tracks seriously came to life on stage. The two gigs I went to on that tour probably still rank as among the best in my experience.


    But, as you say, oh well indeed! Which tours did you see them on?

    I saw a show each on the "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" tours, both of which I loved (both in MSG, NYC, now that I think of it).


    I did like "In Rainbows" much more than "Hail To The Thief" - I just wanted them to make more traditional-sounding music again. Their freeform/jammy stuff just doesn't do it for me. I probably should give "A Moon Shaped Pool" another chance - I didn't hate it when I first heard it. However, that ship has sailed for "Hail To The Thief" and "King Of Limbs" - I just don't like them...


    "Hail To the Thief" is similar to the preceding two albums in as much as all three are very different from their 90s output - that's what I was getting at. That's also why "In Rainbows" was such a welcome return to form (IMHO, that is). It's also why "King Of Limbs" spawned such aural dyspepsia in me - stop noodling around and write songs, will you??? ;(:cursing: :D

    Stepping out the back way, hoping nobody sees...

  • This is a band that I enjoyed right at the start. Liked Pablo Honey. Loved The Bends. Loved OK Computer. After that, while I respected that they were following there own muse, it just wasn't doing much for me. There's bits I've liked on Kid A and In Rainbows, but I am not putting on the later albums with much frequency.

  • This is a somewhat older thread but a good one. Radiohead is one of my top favorite bands and one of the rare groups to have (in my view) a long string of top notch albums in a row. I came in at the Kid A/Amnesiac era having heard some of the OKC stuff around. I bought all 3 in a short period and was fascinated by the music, particularly on Kid A which is my favorite of all their albums.


    When HTTT came out I was initially excited by the new material, having heard a bootleg of much of the song list played the summer prior. I found though that the album went a little back towards their mid-90's sound mixed with the Kid A era, so it wasn't as much uncharted territory. Now I regard the album higher and part of that string of great material. IR is fantastic and probably a fan favorite, if not THE favorite from what I gather.


    I actually really like KOL, perhaps I'm in the minority. Really everything but Mr Magpie and Feral I think are great songs. I like the atmosphere and percussive elements to the songs, something about them... Hard to explain.


    MSP however is the first of their albums I can't crack. It feels distant for me somehow, like I can't get into it fully enough to enjoy it. There are good songs for sure but it loses me half way through with the exception of True Love Waits which I find to be a far superior version to what we had heard long ago.


    The Genesis/RH thing is a weird one to me. I don't see much crossover except for the mellotron choir and a tiny bit of synth here or there. I wouldn't assume fans of one would be fans of the other.

  • I kind of lost interest a bit after Kid A, which was, at the time, a bit too heavy for me to digest. Nevertheless I enjoyed A Moon Shaped Pool in recent years. But I have to admit their music is hard for me to access. If you have some ideas how to dive in - let me know.

  • It's funny, they're a band that should check all the boxes for me, which by itself sounds strange. What I mean is, I feel like I should be a huge Radiohead fan, but for some reason I'm not. I love The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins and Pink Floyd, and even like some Aphex Twin and a lot of Future Sound of London, bands (more than Genesis) that I feel are close in spirit in one way or another to Radiohead. I loved OK Computer when it came out, and still do. Especially Airbag, Karma Police (which I used to play well on the guitar and played/sang drunkenly at a work Christmas party many, many years ago. It was actually not a bad rendition but it's not exactly festive, party fare and somewhat killed the buzz), and Climbing Up The Walls. I liked a lot of Kid A, particularly idiotheque. But when I went back to the first two albums I felt no affinity for them, and then I lost interest around amnesia.


    My friends are big fans, and as a result I've seen them live a couple of times. They're very good. There's just some small element of the listener-music chemistry that's missing for me when it comes to Radiohead. Not sure what it is.

  • I kind of lost interest a bit after Kid A, which was, at the time, a bit too heavy for me to digest. Nevertheless I enjoyed A Moon Shaped Pool in recent years. But I have to admit their music is hard for me to access. If you have some ideas how to dive in - let me know.

    That's interesting that you enjoyed AMSP. I think it combines some of their established elements into a gentler overall sound. I've heard quite a few non-fans say they enjoyed it. Similarly many kind of came back to or discovered them via In Rainbows, which was a much warmer album for them at the time - it's my personal favourite along with The Bends and would be my suggestion for a way in if you don't already know it.


    Some felt they then returned to being somewhat cold and unapproachable with the next album, The King of Limbs. While I'm a huge fan of them, I do understand why many find them aloof and inaccessible.

    ..

    Abandon all reason