We all listen to them, grin plastered on our face, blocking out “that guilty nagging feeling that actually, in some ways, when you think about it… Radiohead kinda blow.” Everyone’s convinced Radiohead defines the cutting edge, but Chris Norris of Spin isn’t fooled. Go to one of their concerts, and sometime after the fifth vague, open-ended groove-poem, you’ll realize what Radiohead’s become: “an exceptionally well-dressed jam band that you can’t even dance to.”
Critics dare not say this out loud, so they coyly wish for a “back-to-basics” album, or a “return to form.” But Radiohead’s clearly not interested. Its latest song mocks such heresy with lyrics like, “Don’t bore us / Get to the chorus.” At a recent concert Norris attended, Thom Yorke’s “encore” was a five-minute minimalist piano nocturne. “This man was so far up his own formalist ass we might as well have not even been there. No one is suggesting Radiohead play the Super Bowl or release OK Computer 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold. But knowing the level of songcraft they're capable of makes their latest behavior inscrutable at best."