By Devon Hannah, Features Editor
Do you ever have those bands that you groundlessly hate? Bands that just get under your skin for no clear and justifiable reason? Yeah, me too. But Radiohead is not one of those bands.
In my defense, I absolutely used to feel that way about Radiohead, but as my peers pried and clung to me like Velcro on felt for distinctive reasons as to why I hate one of the most well-liked bands of all time, I eventually found them. Surprisingly, I found them much easier that I thought possible.
First of all, within Radiohead’s so-called “wide and colorful” discography, you’d think that there would be a little something for everybody. And, for me, that is very well the case. In fact, I really enjoy 2003’s release, Hail to the Thief, as it has stunning harmonies and complementary instrumentals with an angry political drive. It’s a good album. Even then, I can find what’s on Hail to the Thief from a countless number of other artists. It’s not anything new, especially in the early 00s, where artists like Beck where hitting the height in their career.
In addition to that, one singular album isn’t enough for me to call them “the greatest band of all time.” And that may be the number one reason that I hate Radiohead so much. It’s not because of their lack of talent, because they absolutely have that, but instead it’s the sheer fact that I can’t get into over 10% of their discography. Their utter strive to be weird and experimental, in stride with their inability to carry it out, absolutely ruins just about everything else, with the exception of Kid A.
In fact, Radiohead’s discography just gets weirder and weirder as time goes on. Even one of my favorite recent Radiohead tracks, “Separator,” the band just goes a little too far. Their use of “trippy” and overproduced instrumentals tends to drag on and become forgettable, lost in a sea of other unnecessary and synthetic beats (see OK Computer). Radiohead continues to be weird for the sake of simply being weird. Their artistic decisions gradually continue to distract listeners from any substance they used to have.
Ironically enough, despite over-adorned instrumentals, Radiohead has never put out a coherently fun, upbeat album. In fact, Radiohead loves feeling bad for themselves. These instrumentals, in combination with their themes, seem out of place. While that may be the appeal for some, it really throws me for a loop, and not a good one. (You know, the kind that goes around and around, over and over again, to the point of making you sick?) Instead of creating new and enticing sounds complementary to Thom Yorke’s admittedly good lyricism, Radiohead has seemingly created the second coming of The Grateful Dead, with an audience full of privileged white fans that refuse to shower.
Now, explaining something that even die-hard Radiohead fans (and Radiohead themselves) hate: “Creep.” Easily one of the most overrated songs in history, it really is a shame that this is Radiohead’s biggest claim to fame. It’s enough for albums such as The King of Limbs, Pablo Honey, and Amnesiac to simply graze the surface of generic contemporary ideas and give Radiohead a bad name, but “Creep” really discredits them as a good band.
That being said, Radiohead continues to be seen as the “greatest rock band of all time” and they probably always will. It is discomforting to know that even if Thom Yorke put out an album of him gargling actual sewage, Pitchfork would still include it in their albums of the year. While I don’t necessarily hate all of Radiohead’s discography (in fact, I think I give them credit where credit is due), the idea that Radiohead will get recognition beyond what they deserve, even if it’s absolute trash, is exhausting. And ya know what? Sometimes it feels good to take the overrated hype down a notch.