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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Second Is Better Than First. Part 9.

George writes:

It’s the ninth in this series, and I also present to you the ninth member of our tribe. Fennel.

A stray (cat, a stray cat), living in the abandoned house a few metres from us, and literally miaowed at our garage door (which is directly on the street). She is at the farm now. Billy the farm cat is not best pleased.

Sometimes, there’s a track on an album I despise that much I can’t bring myself to play the album. Now, of course, that’s a bit irrational, but, well, there we are. Sometimes, I can’t bring myself to buy the album, which is why I don’t possess Whie Light White Heat. So it was not difficult for me to include today’s two selections because I really loathe Creep, with a passion. I’m not sure why, it’s not the whiny vocal (after all, there’s more than a plethora of their albums on  the shelves), it’s not even because the song veers very close to that crappy  dirge The Air That I Breathe, it’s not the music specifically, it’s ALL OF IT. So for this piece I started with track 3. Actually the album is not very good at all, sounding dangerously close to a Bono vocal at times, and overall just a non-descript indie-guitar album. This track from Pablo Honey I can listen to without feeling the need to stick pins in my scrotum:

So put off was I by Creep, a song that somehow made the Festive 50 in 1993, that I never even considered buying any Radiohead albums until well into the third millennium a.d, when I acquired The Bends. I seem to recall a tv programme that talked about The Bends and OK Computer, and being pleasantly surprised by what I heard. When I relayed this enthusiasm to a friend he called them a modern version of Pink Floyd. I don’t get that. 

Apart from the recognisable but somehow improved vocal, The Bends could almost have been made by a different band. A plethora of fine songs, and starting with Planet Telext I think you can tell it’s going to be far superior to the predecessor. The playing is better, the guitar more jagged and less shoe-gaze-lite, the production better,  it’s somehow more mature, and trying to be their own material and not imitations. The songs on side one just keep getting better, peaking at this absolutely tremendous track;

My one gripe is that, at 3 mins 9 seconds, it’s too short

It’s the one Radiohead album you should own (CC that’s directed at YOU!). My vinyl copy cost £14.99 from Swordfish, in Birmingham. 
Tribe member 6 was unimpressed:

Side 2 is not as good overall. But it would be hard to surpass the sheer majesty of side 1. By no means is it bad, though!

So there it is The Bends better than Pablo Honey. Then again, a cup of cold vomit is better than Pablo Honey-

For those of you who have made it this far, 5 of the tribe are cats, two are dogs and two are goats.

Thank you kindly.

CC writes:
I'm with Tribe Member  6.
I really don't get what all the fuss is about. Being an open minded sort of a guy I gave the ICA from JC's place  a listen recently. I got about half way through it before reaching for the Ramones.


  1. The Bends was a career highlight. I do like some Radiohead albums, but for me, everything since Hail To The Thief is just unlistenable, bar a small handful of songs.

  2. We have a stray cat that's been visiting us a lot too. She isn't really a stray, her owners live round the corner but she's old and has medical conditions and it's clear they can't be bothered to take care of her. So we feed her and pet her and have given her somewhere to keep dry. She can't come in the house though. That's where Eric the Rabbit resides and he doesn't like cats!

    1. Cats are not daft are they?? Re. your thoughts in The Bends, I like that they don't just churn out more of the same. I've not heard anything after In Rainbows, and am not inclined to.

  3. I rather like The Air That I Breathe myself. And your cats too, give my regards to Fennel!


    1. I've just read that the writers of the dirge sued Radiohead and got a co-writing credit. Fennel is sleeping.

  4. I thought Radiohead was one of those untouchables you weren't allowed to say anything negative about for fear of the hipster mob coming to your door with cold Starbucks and hot quips. This is refreshing.

    1. So far there have been no angry portuguese banging on the door or farm gates Brian

  5. I also detest Creep for all the reasons given above (and a thousand more) but unlike George who delayed buying any Radiohead album until the third millenium A.D., I'm still resisting. I'm 100% confident of keeping that proud record until the day I die. Call me petty, call me narrow-minded but some obstinacies are worth painting yourself into a corner over. I've lost count of the number of times musicians, when asked by Record Collector magazine to say which artist has taken music forward most over the last 25 years give Radiohead as their response! Given my dullard, bumptious intransigence, I'll never know if they're right or not.

  6. Can't argue with this one, though I prefer OK Computer. After that they disappeared colon-wards.