Friday, January 22, 2016

Why I'm Happy to Wait for a New Radiohead Album

Hey everyone! Radiohead are back!

Oxfordshire's most elusive sadsacks have been keeping pretty quiet for the last few years; they haven't played any gigs since 2012, and their most recent album, The King of Limbs, will turn half a decade old next month. Yesterday, however, it was announced that Radiohead are to appear at several European festivals in 2016, and now we're all wondering whether this uncharacteristic willingness to go outdoors is a sign than the Popes of Mope are preparing to release their long-awaited ninth LP.

In other words: OMG guys there could be a new Radiohead album on the way!

Weirdly, though, I'm not all that excited by this prospect. Yes, Radiohead are one of my all-time favourites (I still can't believe that, when Ed O'Brien did a Q&A session at my university back in 2011, I actually managed to ask him a coherent question instead of just giggling inanely), but The King of Limbs was - truth be told - a bit of a disappointment, and I'm kind of concerned that its follow-up will sound equally unremarkable next to OK Computer and In Rainbows and so forth.

Incidentally, I'm not the only one who was let down - no pun intended - by The King of Limbs. Just look at the results of this highly scientific poll (note the not-at-all-leading question) that I conducted on Twitter yesterday.

The King of Limbs *sounded* excellent, but in my opinion it was sorely missing the human heart that beat raw and bloody beneath each of its seven predecessors. Even the likes  Kid A and Amnesiac - cold, experimental records that alienated many listeners upon release - had songs like How to Disappear Completely and Life in a Glasshouse, vividly alive-sounding songs that vibrantly foiled the strangeness of their sparse electronic neighbours. And even Idioteque and Everything in Its Right Place, for all their distinctly inhuman elements, sounded like they were about something. Most of the tracks on TKoL seemed like they only existed to prove how ace Radiohead had gotten at coming up with neat rhythms and sewing them together in the studio.

Of course, it's unlikely that my misgivings will prevent me from visiting Spillers and paying £10 for whatever Radiohead release whenever they choose to release it. That being said, I'm in no great hurry to hear the band's next LP; on the contrary, I'd rather they took their time and came out with something as emotive and as affecting as the best parts of their back catalogue. I want less Lotus Flower and more Let Down. please!

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