“A Case Study: Has Anybody, Anywhere, on the Entire Face of the Planet, Actually Listened to the Entire Radiohead Album A Moon Shaped Pool?”

The end objective is RETREAT. But retreat has its bounds. You can’t retreat forever. So you look for disguises — you cut off your own genitals, you dress up in drag, you move to Colorado. Sh**, life gets hard, I know. And sure, I’m lucky to be seated in a heated apartment right now (some fu**in’ Spring Break), pigeon-snobbing about Radiohead. Is that defined as snobbery-to-get-them-out-of-their-pigeonHOLE? Yes. It is now.
Ok, I’ll cut to the chase: my first issue with Radiohead’s album A Moon Shaped Pool is that the last song on it is not only a recycled one, “True Love Waits” which initially appeared on the generally auspicious True Love Waits: Live Recordings, but a GLARINGLY BAD SONG, easily the worst song of which I’m closely acquainted with in the entire Radiohead genus. But then, as you might have guessed from the title of this post, I HAVE NOT LISTENED TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM A MOON SHAPED POOL. So yeah, I could kill my own mission here, if I was into that whole masochism thing.
And it would be doubly masochistic, because short of suffering through even “True Love Waits,” I cannot bring myself to attempt appreciation of a song by Radiohead, the band that gave us “There there” [1] and “High and Dry,” that begins with birds chirping, and a video shot of a little wooden bird thing. The whole thing screams of seeing-what-the-Americans-will-fall-for-next. Sure enough, the band did an extensive Yankee Festival circuit last summer, almost exactly concurrent with the release of the album. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the song “Burn the Witch” once and didn’t find it grossly displeasing, but “Burn the Witch” is also the name of a great Queens of the Stone Age song, and I’m in a destructive enough mood right now to attempt to pass that off as further vilification, for your information.
Ok let’s see what the people on Amazon have to say about this album. It starts with the five star ones. Ok. THE FIRST REVIEW IS WRITTEN BY A 70 YEAR OLD. And I quoth: “At 70 years of age I have developed pretty eclectic interests in music.” Well, when I’m 70 you’ll probably like listen to music by plugging your head into a computer and aurally imbibing a sophisticated, multifaceted sequence of 0’s and 1’s (so it’ll be like walking into a casino, in other words), so I can’t relate. Let’s try the next one.
First of all, I knew they’d call it like “delicate” or something. Puke. “The electronic flourishes and post-processing effects” (electronic flourishes?), writes this person, “mark their previous work can be found here…” (someone acquaint this person with the concept of pronoun, please), “with definite shades of Kid A, but its (sic) a light touch, making the album much more accessible than that album.” What is this like bingo night at the nursing home or something? Was Kid A just like too intense for you? I wouldn’t advise listening to the band Liars, in such a case. Also, I can tell this joker didn’t listen to that despicable last song because he says “Those pining for soaring vocals… will not find them here,” and “True Love Waits” is basically just one long session of Yorke having been nutmegged with a cricket mallet, an instance which apparently seems to have spurred him to take life more seriously than ever, just like that lunch lady who told you not to drink that second half-pint carton of chocolate milk.
Oh God, do I dare read Pitchfork, the spunky publication that recently mentioned the Fleet Foxes and Michael Bolton in the same sentence? I know I can count on this dude to have listened to the whole thing, and on vinyl, probably, too, so there’s no skipping tracks! All pure enjoyment! Didn’t you say that, pitchfork guy? Didn’t you say this was one of your 10 favorite albums of the year? Well let’s see.
Ok, first of all, they called Thom Yorke a “tenor.” A tenor, for anybody unfamiliar with music in which case you’d ideally be like fixing cars or preparing some Pasta Primavera or something, is a relatively low pitch level on the tone scale, between baritone, which is the lowest, and alto, which is medium. Thom Yorke? A tenor? Is this like the Baywatch edition of Radiohead, or something? That’s him with his arm around that bikinied babe, isn’t it. They also describe “True Love Waits” as a “fan-favorite track from the ‘90s.” The EARLY ’90’s, presumably, when people really had a passion for tenor singing, I guess.
This is all from the year-end list blurb… on their review Jayson Greene writes that Yorke “largely moves beyond cynicism”… well, what better time to move beyond cynicism than when a failing casino tycoon takes over as President of the United States. [2] Also, he obviously hasn’t “moved” too far in any direction, seeing as they see fit to recycle [3] “True Love Waits.” The example of Yorke’s new lyrical “warmth” is “We’re so happy to serve you.” Haha, WHAT? That’s not cynicism? Who the fu** does this creeper think he is? What is Thom Yorke like bringing him a chocolate martini on a tray downtown or something? Fu** you, pitchfork. What a disgrace. To top it off, apparently this oxhead can only think of one fu**ing example of these “simpler truths in a heretofore unexplored register.” Wow, one fu**in’ example. Then he’s like “The album is framed by two older pieces of music.” Oh, so they were written presciently with the future time in MIND when Yorke would have “moved beyond cynicism”? Time travel. That’s important stuff. PJ Harvey knew that. But at least PJ Harvey’s hip enough these days to at least include with her album a true seminal, bona fide gimmick. All Radiohead has to fall back on is, well, Americans, who are too busy being jealous of the Brits for producing them in the first place to actually demand anything from them.
[1] Yes, I looked on wikipedia, and it told me to make the second “there” lowercase. Remember when Radiohead had personality? Ok, that’s TOO much personality.
[2] And I looked: there was no prime ministerial change in ’03. Hail to the Thief was about George W. Bush.


[3] Animal Collective’s excellent new track “Recycling” is starting to seem haughtier than ever. If in four years you hear that song in a Bar Louie, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

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