Radiohead released a new album. It's a sweeping, intellectual, and beautiful darkscape. Radiohead deleted all of their social media about a week ago. That's basically the news here. If you love Radiohead, you have a massive erection and you spent the last week trying to find other Radiohead-Heads to try to out-intellectualize. If you don't love them and you listened to it you probably noticed that this was more listenable and less intense than everything since Kid-A from 2000. If you haven't listened to the album but are reading this then the takeaway is that “A Moon Shaped Pool” is perfect to play at your next dinner party. Seriously, it's a great way to let people know you listen to music and are smarter than them. Otherwise I can not think of a real use for this album.
I started listening to this ready to mock it to bits. The “social media blackout” had me pissed off from the jump. My dad once accidentally deleted his Facebook, I didn't call that a “SOCIAL MEDIA BLACKOUT." Had you been getting a lot of news from Radiohead's Twitter account? Been staying steady in the know? NO, because they had to delete a bunch of crap for you to notice they might do something.
It's not bad. I enjoyed listening to it, and I was looking to be mad about it. I love that Radiohead is more beat and bass driven than a lot of brain-heavy modern music. And this sounds like a great soundtrack to a really good indie film. But what do I do with that? I can't listen to it around the house because it's boring. I can't use it as background because it's too interesting. And I can't zone out to it because it's too tragic. And I'm not going to listen to it a bunch "just because," because it isn't different enough from the last four albums they've released since Kid-A, or really anything they've ever done. I'm not giving them a pass because they changed the path of modern music. And I'm not taking this seriously because I just heard Thom say, “There's spacecraft blocking out the sky.”
Be clear! This is a good album. I really like “Ful Stop;" it has a bass-line that I did not expect to find. And “Desert Island Disk” sounds a lot like Beck's “Sea Change,” which is my favorite sit-around-and-think album. But “Sea Change” is old, and so is this sound.
Really the issue is that Kaytranada just released "99.9," and bigger than that James Blake just released “The Colour In Anything.”
If you're ready to move on with your life and be interesting you should check those out. They're both great. Kaytranada is essentially a genius level hip-hop producer doing what he thinks is cool and chill. And James Blake is Thom Yorke if he was younger, sang better, and was SLIGHTLY less self-involved. And I'm not pandering to the EC crowd but the video I'm attaching is for a song with THE BON IVER. Seriously, even if you love Radiohead I beg you to listen to both of these other albums, because I can't say enough good things about them and they are soooooooooooo much more relevant. (That was sincere, they're very relevant...... More relevant than Radiohead, which is not a high bar, but I mean it to be.)
by Nathan Hankins (@nathanhmhankins)