Americans in my age group and thereabouts love them some Radiohead. Hence I am always hesitant to point out that I hate those callow Englishmen. I did two weeks ago. The backlash was immediate, albeit not as strong as I expected:

Well, you're a drummer in a metal band, so your music taste is understandably crippled. I suppose I can give you a pass.

Snap. On the other hand, anyone who would describe my former band as "metal" has just the kind of saccharine tastes that lead one to exalt Radiohead. Oh, it's on now.

Seriously though, I get this a lot. So let me explain.

Honestly, there's nothing objectionable about Radiohead. They are a perfectly average group of musicians making perfectly dull, inoffensive music. There is nothing wrong with them. I find it nearly impossible to imagine someone responding to Radiohead with "Oh God, I can't listen to this horrible racket!" It's the kind of thing young people can listen to while in a car with their parents without offending either.

My first objection, then, is a simple matter of personal taste. I tend to hate things that fit the preceding description. One could say that I am deeply offended by inoffensiveness. I don't hate their music; I hate that they are so boring, so unoriginal, and so predictable. If you are a Rock Musician and the parents of your fans "get" your music – or perhaps even like it – you are doing something wrong. Take a risk. Piss someone off. Hurt someone's ears. Challenge people. Don't just keep churning out boilerplate that makes people say "Oh, how nice." Bands that everyone can find a way to like are, by definition, forgettable.

"But Ed," the script reads, "that is your personal taste. Many people feel quite strongly about Radiohead and consider their music to be profound, not to mention exciting and groundbreaking." Which brings me to the second point: it bugs the hell out of me when people (including professional "critics" who, in an ideal world, would know better) go apeshit for mediocrity.

This is not Radiohead's fault, per se. They cannot control the way people react to them. But imagine listening to someone breathlessly tell you that Good Will Hunting is not only their favorite film but quite possibly one of the greatest films of all time. Can you imagine anything sadder?
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Good Will Hunting is just a sappy, mediocre pile of cliches destined to be a staple of the in-flight movie circuit. To think that someone would have such terrible taste and watch so much garbage that Good Will Hunting would look like an amazing work of art in comparison is depressing. This is how I feel when I read or hear someone go on and on about the greatness of Radiohead. And sweet merciful christ do you people (that's a royal You) love to go on and on about the greatness of Radiohead.
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In my mind it is a damning commentary on the state of music today – at least the mainstream kind – that Radiohead is "great" or "innovative" or "revolutionary" or any of the other terms obsequiously heaped upon them by fans and critics alike. Compared to Puddle of Mudd or Grizzly Bear, yes, Radiohead is amazing. Compared to anything above the lowest common denominator they are not. If Radiohead blows your mind, you have done a particularly poor job of exposing yourself to music that does not appear on FM radio. To me, being amazed by Kid A is merely an indication that a person has never listened to Brainiac.

So that's my beef with Radiohead. Their music is perfectly adequate, and hence I have no interest in it. Though it's not the band's fault, I am powerfully turned off by seeing and hearing people crap their pants over something so predictable and unremarkable. No offense if you love them; I just think that with a little effort you could avail yourself of things that make Radiohead sound pedestrian in comparison. I feel this way about a lot of things and it's not a popular viewpoint. But if all of my viewpoints were popular – perhaps inoffensive – you wouldn't have much interest in reading, would you?


  • CaptBackslap says:

    If I gave a shit about Grizzly Bear, I would be spewing all-caps hatred at you right now.

    As it is, I'll just heartily recommend the new The National album.

  • Grumpygradstudent says:

    note: those yanks should not be taken as an endorsement of radio head. Just a general yank toward the "stuff i like is good and stuff you like sucks" discussions I've been hearing my whole life. It's hipsterism! It makes my butt pucker.

    Perfectly acceptable when it comes to politics though. And yes, that's why I enjoy reading this blog.

  • I'm a Radiohead fan but I know what you are talking about.
    I can name a type of person thats WAY worse, its the person who claims to "like all" music or thinks autotune makes a voice sound good.

    Generic douchebag: "hey did you listen to the new katy perry/lady gaga song?"
    Me: "No, I prefer singers with either a good singing voice or the ability to make their voice distinctive and enjoyable. IE Dylan or Neil Young"
    Generic douchebag: "You're just closed minded, i like all music."
    Me: "Really? Do you like Death metal?"
    Generic douchebag: "yeah"
    Me: "this conversation is over"

  • CaptBackslap says:

    The Bends was easily Radiohead's best album, incidentally. It was focused without being completely stuck up its own ass.

  • ladiesbane says:

    Let's define our terms: are we talking about music that is Good, or music that we Like?

    There's all kinds of recognizably excellent stuff out there that doesn't ring my bell, and certain items that are recognizably trite (or shite) which are with my heart entwined verdantly still. If I dance with someone to a certain song, I'll love it forever. Doesn't make it good.

    But one of the reasons the English language is dying is that people whittle all positive adjectives down to "I like it" and all negative adjectives to "I don't like it." Please be concise in your objections and your praises. Saying "its the suxx0rs" is less meaningful than you think.

  • I'm afraid I'm going to have to cite you with a technical foul, Ed. You wrote two Get Off My Lawn posts without an FJM or baseball post in between.

  • I find Radiohead perfectly tolerable, so I have to ask–they're mediocre/boring compared to what? Compared to everything else on FM radio, they seem, indeed, great. Granted, that's not saying much. But, "not on FM radio" isn't actually a field of possibilities. So, Brainiac? Is that all you got? (I say this as someone who asks his students at the beginning of every term who their favorite band is hoping to hit on something decent that only Kids These Days are privy to, and invariably gets crushed with "Dave Matthews" and "any country music" ad infinitum. Really, I'm curious.)

  • Music that is good: Deftones

    Music that I like: Deftones. They just released a new album. Anyone who doesn't buy/steal it must be an Juggalo. /kidding

    @ts46064: "Death Metal" is a blanket-word used for a variety of different music. Just like "Alternative". If you would like some training wheels, try some Amorphis ("Tales From the Thousand Lakes" or "Elegy"). I would consider Amorphis Finnish folk music due to much of their early lyrics being either based on, or coming directly from, Kalevala. The band that got me super-obsessed with Finland for much of my 20s.

    You could also try "Reign In Blood" by Slayer. Rick Rubin produced it. In 1986. When Slayer was signed to Def Jam. It's less than 30 minutes long. If any of that matters.

  • @ ts46064 – You done gone and taken aim at my sacred cow, Gaga. Don't be cuttin' on my beef – she'll be slaughtered only when the time is right. Until then, it's time for a round of fruity drinks, long club nights, and bad dancing.

  • Well, if you're only listening to KidA, I can see your point… and The Bends is pretty awful, too (sorry, capt.). Describing them as revolutionary is just silly. I think the drummer is a bit more interesting than most (particularly in terms of drummers for mainstream acts), but i suppose you'd know more about this than I.

    I must also concede ladiesbane's point. I was lucky enough to dance along with 40,000 Brazilians to RH and Kraftwerk last year, and I will now love both bands for ever. And ever. So there.

    My point? Ahm… horses for courses, diff'rent strokes, one man's trash, blah, rabble, grumble, etc…

    Now, do Martin Scorsese! With the exception of the Dropkick Murphy's song, The Departed suxxorS!!1!!

  • I note the slight against Grizzly Bear and find it misplaced and I, too, heartily recommend the new record from The National.

    And Radiohead has really done some great stuff.

    That being said, there is literally one metal band in the world that I like.

    So. Different Strokes…

  • Usually I agree with Ed, you know, 110%. But this whole "if your parents aren't offended your band sucks" notion leads inexorably to the conclusion that all music sucks except GG Allin.

  • Ah yes, the old "slay the sacred cow" tactic. Hipsters have been using it for years to bolster their feelings of superiority.

  • What are us parents to like, then? I'm old, and maybe I listen to too much NPR and not enough music. But in the days before downloading and Indie, a song or two would bust out and be a part of the national consciousness. I can't remember the last time a contemporary tune invaded my head.

    Then again, it's all a matter of taste. In the day, I liked thinking I was avant garde when it came to music, listening to the very old or very new; non mainstream. I'll give The National a listen, but I have to say all of these "it" bands the critics seem to love just don't rock me. But like I said, I'm old. Maybe none of the new stuff – which is largely a rehashing of old stuff, or hip-hop – will ever appeal to me.

  • Aslan Maskhadov says:

    This might be an opportune time to say that 'Creep' sucks. Hard.

    Then again, it could be worse. Take Green Day for example.

  • I actually enjoyed Good Will Hunting, and thought the humor and sappiness was very well done.

    Music is a world within itself, in a language we all understand.

  • Elder Futhark says:

    In an attempt to determine whether Music can be Objectively Bad, I and my colleagues sent Radiohead backward in time to the Middle Cretaceous. They were disemboweled by velociraptors before they got to the bridge of the first song. (Not to worry, they were time clones – millisecond slice of their existence excised and the loose ends spliced together. No one is the wiser).

    This resulted in an interesting side project, wherein we conjure a series of death simulations at various points in history with Radiohead. 99.94% of the occurences result in succumbing to bubonic plague during the reign of Constantine. They fare little better among the Jutes or the Maya.

  • I would submit that what is going on here is a mixing of categories when criticizing music.

    One category is Technical Criticism: In the West we use the the seven interval, semi-tone octave (do-re-me-fa-so-la-tee-do.)

    Chords are built by combinations of these tones and the relationship and progressions built from these chords have "rules" that are generally based on what is harmonious and what is dissonant according to MOST hearers over time. Even these rules are sometimes "violated."

    So even the technical has some degree of subjevtivity. That is the reason that Oriental music sounds "strange" to most Westerners because they use the Quarter tone scale instead of "ours".

    So, technically what is Good/Not? I suppose you could criticize the actual execution of the music as written. You could criticize the writing itself as not following the rules suggested above. Or if it is free form music the direction the player/singer takes conforming/not.

    Simplicity Criticism: "Three Blind Mice" is objectively simpler than the "1812 Overture" Does that make TBM bad? Rather subjective. Although as we move away from childhood the desire for more complexity in music is pretty common. That might have something to do with brain development. When we are very young it seems like our processor can't handle more complexity than TBM. Although Western music was pretty simple circa 1000 with Church plainsong (think Gregorian chants) and the lute playing equivalent of Bob Dylan.

    If we can categorize simple music as Folk music and complex music as Technical music, we can see that in the last 1K years we have gone from the simple to the complex in pretty short order as the musical notation system and instruments were developed. Good music became defined as Technical music.

    Taste Criticism:

    Not many words here: "I like/don't like it" becomes "It's Good/Bad."


    So when we say "It's Good/Bad Music." I think we need to expand beyond "The Enamel Esophagus sux!!!"

    And why the family political component? Why not just like the music you like and not use it to piss off someone? As a Boomer, I got over that part of music as a taunt about 40 years ago.

    My kids only heard from me on the moral and/or political content of lyrics – not the music. I would ask them do they agree with and want to pound into their soul what was being promoted. But I digress, this is NPF.

    Play on, Play on…


  • "To me, being amazed by Kid A is merely an indication that a person has never listened to Brainiac."
    This may well be the least intelligent thing I've ever heard you say, Ed. Clearly, being amazed by Kid A is *actually* an indication that the subject is on acid and does not wish to be earfucked by musicians that lack talent and compensate by screaming and dissonant shit-chords (e.g.: Brainiac). Furthermore, if there were really a correlation between music quality and parental dislike (and there isn't) I should think a band that produces music that is clearly aimed at drug users with lyrics like "cut the kids in half" doesn't strike me like it should be at the bottom of the list.

  • I can't go with the "if it pisses off my parents" angle either. Then again, my 60 year old mom is the one who introduced me to the great songwriters of the 70's. My dad, on the other hand, introduced me to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. So, um. Yeah. But even he, when the sibling and I would expose him to good music, often really liked it. Mom, too. So, it goes both ways.

    I don't think we had that stereotypical "kids listen to loud music their parents don't like, which causes TENSION!" thing in our family. We just all really like music, so there was a lot of cross pollination. And now I have all the parents vinyl, and it's incredible.

  • I probably know all of about 3 songs by RH, so I have no basis for comparison… but Ed, I seem to remember you being really into Marilyn Manson, NIN, Primus, Local H… and fucking *Foo Fighters*, for shit's sake. You have no room to talk. Seriously.

  • I've been a musician for my entire life. Still gigging regularly. Still making good money doing it. I've written and recorded many CDs of original stuff. But you know what? My musical tastes are still only mine, and even if I think band X sucks, it doesn't mean that they do. Even broad consensus doesn't mean shit. I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who think Mozart was a hack.

    How we react to music is deeply personal. It depends not only on the music itself, and the musicians who make it, but on where were are emotionally and logistically in our lives when we hear it. Even music we initially hate can come to mean the world to us eventually as our viewpoints change and as we mature through experience. I'm not Miley Cyrus's target audience, but I imagine for some of her fans her songs have deep, deep meaning. That they aren't experienced enough to recognize triteness or clich

  • J, there is a difference between liking something and thinking it's great.

    I think I was fairly clear about half of that being a matter of preference and half of it being semi-objective. I am not critical of anyone who enjoys radiohead, but people who think they are great are another story.

  • Ok. Way to deal with accents…

    That they aren't experienced enough to recognize triteness or cliche shouldn't matter.

    For the record, I don't know squat about, nor do I like Radiohead. I haven't responded to the few songs of theirs I've heard, so I haven't given them a chance beyond that. Same for Coldplay (another critic's darling band that I don't get). But that doesn't mean that they don't make the perfect music for someone else at some other point in their lives.

    To claim some high ground of objective truth regarding the worth and value of art is a dangerous illusion. To then plant your flag there is not only arrogant, but selfish as well.

    Still love ya, though!

  • I guess I'll be the old man at the beach wearing black socks with sandals here…. I like Radiohead. When they are on, they're great. When they're not, I can find them unlistenable. I will agree though that they get way too much love from the critics. I thought Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief were horrible, but it didn't seem to make a dent in their standing as critical darlings. It does seem like they can take a shit on vinyl and it will draw raves.

    You can also add me to the list of people that disagree with the "if parents like it, you suck" sentiment, unless you are specifically talking about MY parents.

  • This post kind of seems like a casual version of the exact same form of hipster elitism that most of us Radiohead fans are guilty of.

    But then subjective taste etc. etc. etc.
    I get frustrated when other people say that, I don't know, Cheryl Cole is better than Radiohead. But as long as we actually enjoy the music we listen to there's really no point in calling "objectively bad" on anything.

  • Then of course appearing like you have the most discerning taste in the world is merely a matter of turning your nose up at anything that other people profess to enjoy… so congratulations on that.

  • Paul W. Luscher says:

    Have at it, dude. Of course, I'm a geezer from the days when Led Zeppelin was considered "heavy metal" ( and telephones had dials….).

  • Jesus Christ I'm old. I used to own a Wham record and listened to the Smiths before they became "mainstream."

    Anyway, everyone knows that the zenith of all music occurs somewhere between your 16th and 20th birthday. Anything before or after on shite.

  • Well, nobody really says this about Good Will Hunting. But they do say it about The Shawshank Redemption, and I die inside a little every time I hear it.

  • Wow. This is about to veer into a semi-interesting discussion about objectivity.

    Are the Black-Eyed Peas not objectively shit? Are you really comfortable pointing at some of the music in the world and saying "Well, someone out there enjoys it so who am I to say it's shit"?

    I think that is equally dangerous, perhaps more so, when compared to being an elitist asshole. There has to be some point at which a thing has no merit.

  • I think Ed is going after hating more of the normalization of music/media as opposed to Radiohead specifically.

    We've become a culture of the bell curve, no longer letting the risk takers on the fringe be promoted to "love them or hate them" status of noteriety. Heck, we even bell curve our "extreme views" by having celebrity partisans. (No politics friday prevents me from hitting examples).

    Back to music: Lady Gaga is the exemplification of a role. Prior to her the role was filled by (not in any particular order) Gwen Stefani, Brittany Spears, Christina Agulera, Madona, and many many many others that flashed to the top. Their sound is different – not groundbreaking, and the image they present is the right level of against the grain so as not to be too controversial, but just enough that a few old people will get upset. Ideally though, if you make them even slightly less edgy, fewer people get upset, and more people spend the money – especially when you simultaneously tote the new artist as reaching a new level, a new extreme, a new pinnacle of talent… and now you've got a diluted artist, but you've made an audience more pliable for advertising – since you have effectively redefined "edgy" as a state which is actually less so…

  • Grumpygradstudent says:

    Whether or not it is objectively immoral to engage in political insurrection, to allow abortion, to accept a system of vast inequalities, to require women to cover their bodies in public…these are questions where objectivity vs. relativism are extremely important.

    Whether the Black Eyed Peas or Radiohead are objectively bad or not is about 5 steps down in importance for me from what what color underwear I'm going to wear in the morning. Because regardless of how good or bad they are, I don't have to listen to them.

  • Sigh. OK, let's break this down:

    "I enjoy Radiohead." –> "I am great." –> "Since I am great, and my judgment is part of me, my judgment is great." –> "Therefore, by the transitive property of greatness, Radiohead is great."


    "I don't enjoy Radiohead." –> "I don't suck." –> "Since I don't suck, and my taste is part of me, that which offends my taste must fall outside the parameters of 'not sucking.'" –> "Therefore, by the nontransitive property of suckitude, Radiohead sucks."

    It's all about ego. We like what we like because we like it, and since we like ourselves, we project onto what we like our own self-evaluation. Our tastes refine and change as we ourselves are refined and changed by experience. We're never wrong, and we're never right. Objective criticism cannot argue away enjoyment, just as you cannot explain a joke into being funny, or argue someone who hates the taste of caviar into loving it. And yes, this means we have to bite our tongues at people who adore Creed, the BEPs, Jay Leno, Larry the Cable Guy, and Goop.

    In short, the cab driver who kicks the Dude out of the car for ragging on the Eagles was perfectly in the right. As painful as that sounds in my head as I type it.

    Fucking maturity and its attendant tolerance of the preferences of others. It sucks so hard.

  • But the point at which it has no merit is still a relative thing, depending on what cultural/social group you're in. I remember when Nelson Mandela famously said that the South African revolution could not have happened without the influence of Madonna and MTV. I find little or no value in either of these, but if there was any truth to his statement, I can't exactly say 'objectively' that there was no value to them. The divide might not be as great in our own society, but it clearly does exist.

    More to the point, it has to do with what constitutes cliche or passe ideas or aesthetics. You can't expect that just because you've heard things a trillion times (to the point where it takes absolutely no creativity or inspiration to draw upon them) that someone in a different group has heard it at all (so for them, it can still be inspiring).

    There's been a major change from folk traditions to pop music along these lines. Folk never really had that emphasis on 'originality' the way the art and music worlds developed it later. I think that was just due to the totally different means of distribution, which still haven't gone away in a lot of places in the world, even with the internet.

  • ladiesbane says:

    Aside from the problem of objectivity, critical discernment, and personal taste, there is the problem of "Is it Art?" I know people who say anything is Art if you call it Art. I disagree, again on the grounds that words have meaning, and Art is not a meaningless term that can be applied indiscriminately.

    Tom Stoppard said “Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.” I would say that the same thing applies to music. All we really care about is what we like, whether or not it has value.

    In a way, this is fine. But if anyone tried to tell me that the only books or movies that mattered are crypto-LDS vampire love stories, because they are extremely Popular, I would raise hell. But if more enjoyable stuff were taught in school, we'd have a nation of readers as well as TV watchers.

  • HoosierPoli says:

    Hey, my zinger made the front page! Can a full-time gig writing for G+T be far behind?

    From a music theory perspective, I find radiohead to one of the most interesting and inventive bands out there, and that hasn't dropped off. They've been massively influential, consistently innovative, and, above all, their music WORKS. Now you can't say that they don't offend anybody, because my wife hates them and can't listen to OK Computer at all. But it's true, they don't set out to annoy you, they set out to make beautiful and reasonably progressive music. A lot of the art rock bands will just break the rules for the sake of it, without offering anything positive of their own. Being able to offend is not the same as being innovative.

    But above all, de gustabus non disputandum est

  • The 800lb cliche in the room is the difference between art and commerce.

    Enjoying music pretty much for its own sake is alive and well here in the South (and perhaps in the other benighted regions.) Lots of front porch pickin' and blues moanin' goin' on hearabouts. Interest in old music is also alive and well. Sometimes you can earn gas and BBQ plate money at it, so much the better.

    We also know that there is a multi-billion dollar music industry that cares little about art. And that is OK with me. Render to MCA and Sony what is theirs (as you wish to participate) and render to the front porch that which belongs there.


  • I'm not a Radiohead fanboy or anything but this criteria is ridiculous:

    It's the kind of thing young people can listen to while in a car with their parents without offending either.

    Same goes for Bach, Beethoven, (early) John Coltrane, the Beatles, etc. etc. Christ, these days, same goes for the Sex Pistols. Being more grating doesn't make it more meaningful.

  • HoosierPoli says:

    bb, you're just so practical and fucking homespun. You're as american as moonshine and backwoods blood feuds.

  • To the larger point of objectivity, I'd have to state it like this: If I won $200 million, I would move somewhere nice(remote), buy a radio station and not give a craps ass about revenue. Bill Monroe, Black Flag, Thelonious Monk and Los Lobos would all butt up against each other. The goal would be to never play the same song more than once a week.
    Having that as a baseline, there's a ton of shit that just wouldn't make the cut. Because it's just not good.
    Being able to record a song doesn't mean it deserves merit. Lest we not forget Milli Vanilli actually winning awards?
    I have no "dog" in the Radiohead debate. But they wouldn't get too much time on my station.

  • I like those Radiohead fellows just fine, a bit full of themselves and not much reason to follow them closely since about the turn of the last century, but OK Computer was a nice surprise as I totally ignored the Bends or whatever that boring thing was. I love it when people go all older and wiser and start arguing Band Taste. Grandpa here was listening to "music that does not appear on FM radio" way back when it actually did appear on FM radio- once upon a time when I think you kids might have been hooked on phonics, college radio played Wire, Pere Ubu, Throbbing Gristle, Einsturzende Neubauten, the Fall, X, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop, Joy Division, Devo, the Raincoats, Selector, Buzzcocks… and a lot of other bands that thrilled me to the core and sometimes still do unless they've been recycled into too many lazy film and commercial soundtracks. (Sorry, "Lust for Life", it's over between us. Does the cruise line know you brought drugs on board?) My parents would have hated it had they heard it (but they were still busy hating the White Album with that dirty do-it-in-the-road song), but now I have a 20-year-old stepson, so does that make Wire retroactively bad? We made him listen to the Specials when he was little and he loved them, but now he listens to gamer music that sounds like a crank overdose. So I guess his music is pissing his parent off. Does that make it good?

    In matters of music, food, art, and favored cocktail bars, the only "everyone" that matters to me is the everyone I know. Everyone I knew in 1979 liked Gang of Four. Everyone I know now was quite amused at Lady Gaga's last video. A lot of them are the same people. Go figure.

  • Oh yeah:

    "Hudson Says:

    Usually I agree with Ed, you know, 110%. But this whole "if your parents aren't offended your band sucks" notion leads inexorably to the conclusion that all music sucks except GG Allin."

    Your point is?

  • There is music that is and will always be objectively awesome. The Clash = Awesome. Nickelback will always and forever be objectively crap. Coldplay will fall somewhere on the awesome-crap continuum, closer to the crap end of things by those of us who grew up listening to their influences.

    Is Lady Gaga objectively better than Madonna? Or is she just some rough Art School/Madonna/Warhol mashup beast slouching fabulously towards superstardom. I don

  • Personally, the dividing line for music is the artists' and distributers' intentions in its creation. Is the goal to have a #1 hit and become mega famous? Generally, crap, though re-workings can be really special. To rant and rage against real or perceived injustice? To shake your arse to while tripping balls in a dark basement? To further the technical limits of musicianship? Or, simply, to make your lover feel special? They are worth a listen, after which it comes down to individual taste.

    The older I get, it's less about the style and more about the connection.

    beau, I so wish I was at that gig!

  • Radiohead really runs the gamut from nonthreatening mid-tempo rock to nonthreatening mid-tempo rock, you have to give them that.

    Honestly, though, I'm just so fucking sick of classic rock. I'm 40, and I've been listening to the fucking Eagles my whole life. I know I'll be in a nursing home, breathing my last, and "The Long Run" will be playing over the speakers.

  • I am so sick of the Steve Miller Band. It was one of the essential albums when I was in high school. . .in the 1990's. . .and my college students, mostly freshman, have "discovered" SMB through movies like Space Jams and I cannot escape it.

  • ladiesbane says:

    My great misery is 20 y/o coworkers who tell me they have tickets to see this great new band called The Eagles, have you heard of them? Telling them that Moses copped his first feel to "Desperado" only confuses them.

  • Look, Billy Corgan may have went to pieces there in the end, but I won't have "Gish" compared to Radiohead. That just ain't right.

  • jeneria, Steve Miller Band was big when I was in HS in the 1970s. They were subbjectively crap even then. I say subbjectively because crap is not an objective criterion. You might be able to make an objective case about The Shaggs, but even that seems pretty hard to do

  • There are so many interesting tangents here… where to weigh in?

    1. When it comes to music, the objectivity thing is made more difficult by the tendancy to avoid what we don't like. Many comments above (and Ed's post, kinda) follow the age-old "I hate (a) / I therefore avoid exposure to(a) / I therefore know little about (a) / now, let me tell you a few things about (a)…" template. This sort of argument wouldn't usually fly here at G&T. Just sayin…

    2. And furthermore, RADIOHEAD RULZ OK! Just kidding. But I do think they are a great example of an act that is at different times grating and gratifying, provocative and bland, 'good' and 'bad'. The gig I mentioned earlier was almost pure happy, right up until they closed with "Creep", and I rushed out with my fingers in my ears.

    3. @JohnDanley – The forensics are back, and indicate that the stones came from INSIDE your glass house.

  • My rats don't like Radiohead, but they do like Playtime*!

    *Playtime, as in running all crazy up and down the hallway!

  • Radiohead is, in fact, boring, but Matt Damon and Robin Williams are going to show up at your house and kick your ass into tomorrow for dissing Good Will Hunting. Nice knowing you.

  • Mr. Wonderful says:

    Fuck this shit. What I want to know is, what do you play? Me: A Rogers Citadel set from 1968, with a Dynasonic snare and augmented with a
    Slingy rack tom. Current cymbals: Zildjians all the way around except for
    a Paiste Sound Formula (w/ rivets retro-added) and–take note–a weirdo Sabian O-Zone crash. It's the "China" of my dreams. Fabulous.


  • I could not agree more!!!! Radiohead is the most boring & overrated bnd on earth aside from ColdPlay……. They are completely a media creation, as you said – non-offensive & dull……!

  • Yeah. Much more overrated than say… Oasis ("The Band That Saved Rock!").

    Thanks for your input.(!!!!)

  • In response to Ed:

    As is probably obvious from the fact I'm here at all, I do have strong opinions about music. At the same time, I don't think any music or any art form can be considered objectively bad, with the proviso that different people get the same level of impact out of it. I don't believe that many of the songs in the charts can make the people who listen to them (casual music fans) feel as good as the music many more involved music fans enjoy: I know plenty of people who claim to like a band but don't know any of the album names, and to me that doesn't feel like the same subjective experience: but I can't be sure or judge it. I don't think it's possible for a person to view music objectively as opinion will always creep in somewhere.

  • What's so wrong about saying "It's not my cup of tea, and I think it's shit, but if you like it knock yourself out?" I seriously doubt you could name ANY group (and certainly not the Black Eyed Peas or Radiohead) that doesn't have any artistic merit, even to me, much less to the world at large.

    Yes, as a life=long musician there are bands I find morally offensive. But in EVERY case, there's someone in the chain who cares about what they're doing and is emotionally invested in it. Even if it ends up giving us the Macarena, someone in that chain of songwriter->musician->recording engineer->producer->mastering engineer was putting their creative soul into it at some point when it was being made. And if that final product connected with even one person and made their lives a little more bearable? Seriously, how can you be so arrogant as to say it's worthless at that point?

  • Ed, you wanna see a real shit storm, write a post about how much you dislike the Ramones. I think people are still trying to hunt me down and kill me for that post.

  • I understand the point of view of taking chances and not worrying about turning certain people off in the entertainment world. If you look at a guy like Christopher Nolan who gets an opportunity to take chances with big-budgeted mass-market movies it is pretty enticing stuff. Look at the stuff he is doing compared to many other directors in Hollywood. Look at "Inception." It seems like a good movie, but most people can't tell what the hell it is about. How many July big-budget movies have that kind of tilt?

    I disagree with the notion however that pissing off parents with your music should be what is strived for. If it has substance then so be it. "In Utero" pissed people off but it had good songs and was interesting. GG Allin is the extreme. I don't want to hear a sociopath rub shit on himself and say "cunt" forty times. Most people don't. I was not suprised to see GG Allin's name brought up in this type of debate, since he seems to be the poster boy for where does art begin and end in relationship to music.

  • I should say that "In Utero" by Nirvana strived to piss off people who liked "Nevermind" more than just non-fans or people who were indifferent to them. The album was not controversial besides the infamous cover which Wal-Mart altered.

  • Steve from Canada says:

    This is very strange. More replies to this post than any other on the past couple of pages, and that includes the fun posts about bad pick-up stories and funny names.

    I know I've heard Radiohead, but I can't remember how it sounds. I think I thought it was boring but inoffensive, but I can't be sure. Why is it so provocative for Ed to have and state that opinion?

  • What is the fascination with telling everyone that you don't like the thing that everyone else likes. Instead of the internet being a forum for interesting discussion, it is flooded with crap like this. Some random drummer that nobody cares about telling people why a group of musicians that are infinitely more successful than he is, are really not that great. That is the cliche in all of this. How clever you are. Why not concentrate on your music and make something that comes even close to any Radiohead song.

    P.S. Brainiac sucks!

  • I'm a little behind the curve on this, not knowing what Radiohead sounds like, other than 'probably something I wouldn't listen to on the radio." I know what Lady Gaga sounds like because my husband got a download of a lot of songs from the kids (early 20s) he works with.

    Me, I've been listening to Terence Trent D'Arby since 1987, and have all six of his albums, so i have no problem with going against the tide.

    And Bodhidog, we don't listen to Ed because he's a random drummer.

  • Theory: Part of the reason discussions of Radiohead tend to be idiotic is because they've changed enough in the course of their career that discussing them positively or negatively as though their oeuvre were a single coherent body of work is, at best, problematic.

    Second Theory: As an extremely well-known and popular band, they have a number of fans who lack deep musical knowledge, and vomit hyperbole describing them as revolutionary and radical. A large part of the hate that they engender in certain folks is just backlash against that unthinking hyperbole. It's a scene battle more than it is a critical discussion.

    That said, The Bends has a lot of really bad songs on it, but Amnesiac is probably better than your favorite album.

  • I agree that they are not GREAT musicians, but they are good musicians. The Beatles weren't great musicians, either. Lots of great music has been made by merely good musicians with strong originality and style, and a great group dynamic.

    Generally, I don't expect most people to like the same music I like. But I'm happy that Radiohead is as successful as they are, if only because they are all about the music. They aren't about hype, image, gimmick, or whatever crap is saturating MTV at the moment. They just make music, and I think it's honest and original music. Not dull at all . . . and certainly not intended to be inoffensive.

    I guess the best way to judge for yourself is to see what they are like live:

  • fuzzbuzz215 says:

    @beau. Its uncanny how right you were. I was about to write that I am a massive tool fan and then i remembered A Perfect Circle. Also, a couple of Puscifer songs are good. Its safe to say i celebrate his entire catalogue.

  • Is it too late for me to be eviscerated for enjoying the Decemberists? I also like Radiohead and I hate Sarah Palin (not as a person or a thing or whatever it is). If you were to ask I would bet we would like some of the same music for the same reason. But there's really no need for that. Liked your funkilly named baseball players though. It's because like you I am really a 12 year old.

  • Alright…*steps into the fray*

    As a musician and vocalist who plays guitar but has a solid foundation and training in percussion…

    Let me say Radiohead drives me crazy. I love the guitars..but they overmix SOO much the rhythm gets off and that just drives me UP A WALL.


  • And one more thing.



    KidA sounds a hell of a lot more like Tortoise than it does Brainiac. Maybe if someone left a Brainiac cassette in the car for a few months, and it got that stretched-out, melty thing going on…

  • I don't care about how hard a song is to play, I don't care about how authentic the band's story is, I don't care if it's new or old, I don't care if anybody is offended, I don't care if people I have little in common with (or don't want to have) also like it… I don't listen to music to feel smarter than other people, I just like it when it strikes a chord for me. If that's not why you're listening to music then you're doing it wrong.

    FWIW, I tend to like songs rather than bands. "Bad romance" works for me (on NPR today they had someone playing it on piano and it was instantly recognizable and worked – that's some solid melody writing), but every other Gaga song just leaves me cold. Some Radiohead I really like, others drone on, others grew on me. Writing a good song seems to be catching lightning in a bottle – only the very best bands are even close to a consistent batting average on them. Even Mozart and the Beatles wrote a bunch of dreck too.

    And if this all makes Ed's ass pucker, I can only advise him to eat more fiber.

  • This could have been a lot shorter. You could have said: "Radiohead is fucking boring. And they have nothing to say."

  • I don't care about how hard a song is to play, I don't care about how authentic the band's story is, I don't care if it's new or old, I don't care if anybody is offended, I don't care if people I have little in common with (or don't want to have) also like it… I don't listen to music to feel smarter than other people, I just like it when it strikes a chord for me. If that's not why you're listening to music then you're doing it wrong.

    FWIW, I tend to like songs rather than bands. "Bad romance" works for me (on NPR today they had someone playing it on piano and it was instantly recognizable and worked – that's some solid melody writing), but every other Gaga song just leaves me cold. Some Radiohead I really like, others drone on, others grew on me. Writing a good song seems to be catching lightning in a bottle – only the very best bands are even close to a consistent batting average on them. Even Mozart and the Beatles wrote a bunch of dreck too.

    And if this all makes Ed's ass pucker, I can only advise him to eat more fiber.

  • Anyone who calls a band that came up with "Myxomatosis" predictable doesn't know what they're talking about. Yawn.

    Oh, and fix the font on your site, it's rubbish.

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