Like Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and a few others, Radiohead are an institution. One could say that they are the last great band in history. Their worldwide appeal has consumed the modern musical terrain with release after release of re-invention, but where other artists would eventually lose their grip on quality, Thom Yorke and company have retained an excellence unmatched by their peers.
NAVASA’s Tammy Sue Everett might explain it best: “They’re the only band out there were I love every track. You can’t say that about anyone else. We admire a number of artists, but there always seems to be a few bits here and there that don’t quite live up to the standard. Radiohead blow right through that with a severe attention to detail, art, adventure, surprise and solid songwriting.”
A lot of new bands will site Radiohead as an influence, but how can one say that about a band that is impossible to pin down? Are you influenced by “The Bends” or “Kid A”? Those two albums are at opposite ends of the spectrum. How about “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” or “Pyramid Song”? Those two songs are back to back on Amnesiac and don’t sound anything alike. You probably say that about any two of their tracks. So, as much as we admire them, we can’t possibly say they are an influence because their output is too varied and vast to pin down.
One thing we can say is that we do subscribe to Radiohead’s mission to never repeat themselves, to express themselves through light and shade, by being simple and bombastic, symphonic and guttural, cerebral and low brow, loud and soft, far out and extremely close. And that’s just in the first two minutes of each song.
We salute this band. No one comes close. We are all just disciples.
To get a glimpse of just how good Radiohead is, look no further than Live from the Basement. This one is from 2011, featuring their album King of Limbs (there’s another from 2008). What we noticed is that the live versions ARE BETTER THAN THE ALBUM VERSIONS!! Who does this? Who has the balls? Who has the wherewithal to pull this off? We’ll give you one answer…