Friday, December 11, 2009

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief

And now my collection of full Radiohead studio albums that people actually like is complete. Unless they make another one, which they may or may not, depending on which member you listen to. Anyway, as expected, Hail to the Thief is quite good. Just to give you an idea of how much my taste in music has changed in just six years, I remember "There There" as the first Radiohead song I ever heard, or at least the first I knew was them, and being a bit bored by it. I started listening to the band a couple years later, and now I count that song among possibly their ten best, especially if you count radio playability as a factor. Maybe twenty best if you don't (they have a lot of really good songs).

Thief is an interesting transitional album. Their most recent work at the time was the game changing and unusual Kid A/Amnesiac project, which cemented them as a band that will do their own thing at any cost. Its traditional rock elements were few and far between, and Thief marks them easing into a return to that sound, although with heavy influence of their electronic sojourn still intact. It has the longest running length and most songs of any of their albums. Most have something pretty strong going for them, and unlike the vast majority of releases the record seems a bit back-loaded, with most of the less impressive ones packed toward the beginning.

Just a few tracks that stand out particularly even if it's just for an element that's gripping or interesting instead of a genuinely good song are "Backdrifts", "We Suck Your Blood" (best use of hand claps in a song ever?), "The Gloaming", "Myxomatosis", and "A Wolf at the Door". I know I mostly just picked the tracks that would fit in the most on Kid A, but that's not an indictment on what this album does differently - there are a lot of things about it I prefer. And honestly, for me, it might be the band's best release of this decade.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I think my favorite tracks on this album are "Where I end and you being" and "Myxomatosis"...they are simply stunning.

It's definitely one of my favorite Radiohead albums...