Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hail to the Thief, Rank #2

There's something buried within Radiohead's Hail to the Thief on every level. On the surface, you get a collection of strangely titled songs, like "Backdrifts (Honeymoon is Over)" or "2+2=5 (The Lukewarm)". As you go deeper into the album you discover unimaginably catchy beats and a wide range of instruments. And, perhaps at the deepest layer of all there is some semblance of meaning and understanding.
Hail to the Thief is Radiohead's sixth studio album. It has 14 tracks and runs for almost an hour in length. Radiohead is a British alternative rock band consisting of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood, and Phil Selway.

Part of the curse with this album, and part of the reason it ranks so highly, is that it contains so many songs that easily wedge their way into your brain and stay there, forcing your mind to run the segment over and over and over again and again. On almost any given day I can have "Myxomatosis" in my head or "We Suck Young Blood." The words run on repeat in my head, and yet I can't fathom them.

That is the beautiful problem with Hail to the Thief, or practically any other Radiohead album. In general, I don't know what they're talking about. Obviously Yorke doesn't literally mean what he says all the time, but the metaphors are too deep, too complex, too good, too smart. Combining deep-thought with a slightly difficult ear to actually understand the words themselves yields only a slightly confused, albeit happy, listener.

The album flows well together, with an appropriate mix of varied tempos and instruments. And, being Radiohead, the rock is definitely not traditional rock-n-roll, but much more alternative, contemporary, borderline-electronica rock. All this makes for an interesting, delightful album.

Some people really like Radiohead, while others can't stand the group. Personally, I love every album they've produced. They're unique in the rock world, and they definitely have found their niche. That said, if you've never heard a full Radiohead album, I would recommend starting with Hail to the Thief, OK Computer, or In Rainbows. These are all similar in style, but each has its own life, too.

Here are a few links to videos of some of the songs from the album. One of my favorite songs on the album is "Myxomatosis", which does not have an authentic music video. "2+2=5" is another great song, and the video is amazing (but a little cartoonish-risque), especially if you like Orwell's 1984. You can listen to every song from the album on YouTube, though there may not be an official video.

All in all, I really like this album because of the way it pulls you back to listening to it. Catchy music and clever songwriting makes Hail to the Thief an excellent Radiohead album. (And discussing what the heck the songs mean should also provide some fun time, too.)


Krista said...

All Hail Radiohead! LOL! Gotta Love'em!

logankstewart said...

Absolutely right. Well said, Krista.

Mattson Tomlin said...

have to agree. I'm very partial to In rainbows, however, which I feel is the most audience friendly album that you can easily listen to from start to finish.

logankstewart said...

In Rainbows is a close contender to Hail to the Thief, definitely, but there's just something about this album that I love more.