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Radiohead: 'Hail to the Thief' lp has arrived!

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Radiohead: 'Hail to the Thief' lp has arrived!

Old 06-10-03, 08:39 AM
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Radiohead: 'Hail to the Thief' lp has arrived!

Well, it's here. Let's talk about it.
Old 06-10-03, 09:12 AM
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I'm going to pick mine up for 8.99 at Circuit City today.
Old 06-10-03, 09:28 AM
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Picked it up this morning. Definitely not OK Computer 2 as Yorke said. Much more akin to Kid A and Amnesiac but better than both of those. More cohesive, structured, and melodic songs than those 2. I like it. Myxomatosis is probably my fave so far.
Old 06-10-03, 10:02 AM
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Hmmm. After a few listens, I'm a bit underwhelmed. Started off well enough, with 2+2=5 and Stand Up, Sit Down being 2 excellent tracks. But then it starts to become rehash of Kid A/Amnesiac again. Sail to the Moon = Pyramid Song Part 2. Sigh. I guess after three consecutive classics (The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A), it's hard to top what they've alreayd done.

I'll give it a few more listens before making up my mind. But I bought Blur's "Think Tank" on the same day, and that sounded much better to me.

Best? Fountains of Wayne's new CD! Yay!

Last edited by Grimfarrow; 06-10-03 at 10:04 AM.
Old 06-10-03, 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by Alyoshka
I'm going to pick mine up for 8.99 at Circuit City today.
$8.99 at CC? Looks like I'm headed over there.
Old 06-10-03, 10:57 AM
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I bought the Special Edition for 12.99 and best buy that included a fold out map of the map on the cover of the regular CD and a booklet with lyrics. Not really worth the extra 3 dollars if you ask me.

I've been listening to the CD for 2 weeks now and at first I thought it was not that good either, BUT now I love it. Myxomatosis is my fav right now too. I can't imagine how great that song would sound live.
Old 06-10-03, 12:07 PM
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I saw them live on saturday and it was on of the best shows I've seen. Myxomatosis was a highlight. they played the entire first half of the album and it fit in like greatest hits.
Old 06-10-03, 12:14 PM
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Gave it a first spin. Has not blown me away like "Kid A" or "OK Computer" did, but I did enjoy a few tracks.

"Sit down. Stand up." and "Where I End and You Begin" stood out as excellent so far.

But like most Radiohead, the gems are usually hidden, demanding repeat listenings
Old 06-10-03, 03:09 PM
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I just picked this one up a few hours ago. From what I've heard it is pretty decent, however, for some reason it doesn't seem as fresh as many of their other albums did when they were released. It hasn't hit me as something very cool like OK Computer. It hasn't made me think differently about them as artists like Kid A and Amnesiac did. The packaging is done pretty well, and I was able to find it for under 10 bucks. Not a bad purchase.
Old 06-10-03, 03:10 PM
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I can't wait for work to end.............

AAAaaaaaaaaagggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!

I torn over getting the Spec. Edition. Guess Ill just decide when I get there.
Old 06-10-03, 04:42 PM
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I opted for the regular release. The lyrics are in the liner notes and that's usually what I want. It's also much easier to put away then the larger cardboard packaging of the LE.

Now if the LE came with a DVD, I'd be all over that.
Old 06-10-03, 05:00 PM
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Have only listened to the first two songs, but really like the sound of them. Of course, I'm the kind of freak who thinks "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" are WAY better than the overrated "OK Computer."
Old 06-10-03, 05:07 PM
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picked up this morning.

HTTT is different in OK Computer in that the first half of OC is the best while the last half of HTTT is the best.

Don't get me wrong (I love both cds) --- but I cannot stop playing There There, I will, A Punchup at a Wedding, Myxomatosis, Scatterbrain, and A Wolf at the Door.

But I cannot go wrong with any Radiohead cd or song.

i will give my song ratings later when I let them all sink in.
Old 06-10-03, 05:37 PM
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I loved OK Computer. Liked the Bends but thought it was a bit overrated. Hated Kid A and Amnesiac. Is it worth taking a risk and buying the new one, or does it sound too much like the latter 2 albums that I hated?
Old 06-10-03, 05:53 PM
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Originally posted by Sierra Disc
Of course, I'm the kind of freak who thinks "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" are WAY better than the overrated "OK Computer."
Same here. Amnesiac is incredibly good.

So far, I find it okay. But I'm only 4 songs in, so I can't give a full review. Nothing strikes me as 'great' or 'memorable' as of yet.
Old 06-10-03, 06:38 PM
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Originally posted by Jeraden
I loved OK Computer. Liked the Bends but thought it was a bit overrated. Hated Kid A and Amnesiac. Is it worth taking a risk and buying the new one, or does it sound too much like the latter 2 albums that I hated?

I don't think you will like it, it resembles Kid A and Amnesiac IMO. Lots of electronic beeps and zaps, the kind of stuff that Kid A haters dont like. But as for me, I love it.
Old 06-10-03, 09:02 PM
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Originally posted by conscience
There There, A Punchup at a Wedding
These two are tops in my books.
Old 06-10-03, 09:48 PM
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I fell asleep on about the 6th track, but what I heard sounded good. It did have an OK Computer feel during the first few tracks and then began to morph into Kid A. Of course this is coming from when I was awake. I definitely have to give it a few more listens before I make up my mind.

Amnesiac was one of Radiohead's CDs that I just couldn't get into that much (besides Pablo Honey). This one seems much more accessible. I recently read an article (I think it was in Blender) with Radiohead where they said they will never make "The Bends 2" and that they are leaving that sound completely behind and evolving to something new. Kinda disappoints me since "The Bends" is what hooked me to Radiohead in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I'm open to the new direction they are going, but with each new album I can't help but feel a little a little nostalgic for the old days. I guess that's why I'm a fan of most Radiohead clones like Coldplay, Travis, and Elbow. But with the route Radiohead seems to be taking I don't think you can call these bands "clones" anymore.
Old 06-11-03, 01:28 AM
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I sat down and listened to the whole thing feeling rather underwhelmed as well. "Sit Down. Stand Up" is far and away, IMO, the gem of the album, which is a little surprising since I'm more partial to OK Computer than Kid A. But, I'm listening to it as I type and I already like it more. I haven't read any reviews on it yet; I've been avoiding them lately in order to get an untainted view of my purchases.

I'll see how I feel in a couple days. Until then, it is settling *nicely* with me, though not extraordinarily so.
Old 06-11-03, 05:08 AM
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Is it just me or is this damn near identical to the leaked tracks?

I half-listened to it a couple times over the spring and a few today and I'm enjoying it, but not overly impressed. I'm sure I'll grow to like it more in time as I have with every other Radiohead record.

This strikes me as Amnesiac songs with guitar.

I love "Wolf at the Door."
Old 06-11-03, 09:33 AM
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From NME.com<hr>

RADIOHEAD's 'HAIL TO THE THIEF' is on course to achieve the biggest first week album sales in the UK this year after selling over 60,000 copies in just two days.

If the album, the band's sixth, continues selling in such quantities it could even challenge last year's best first week sales - 270,000 for Coldplay's 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head' and 260,000 for Robbie Williams ' 'Escapology'.

'Hail To The Thief' is currently selling more than the rest of the Top Five put together, including Metallica's 'St Anger' and Stereophonics' 'You Gotta Go There To Come Back', currently 2003's biggest first-week seller, having shifted 102,000 in that period.

HMV chart spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: "It just goes to show how many people are still into Radiohead. There's a degree of compulsion with this band."<hr>


and a great review from pitchforkmedia.com<hr>

Radiohead
Hail to the Thief
[Capitol; 2003]
Rating: 9.3

When I head out to my local record shop during my designated lunch break today-- a topic Radiohead's Thom Yorke would readily turn into a melodramatically fatalistic, Orwell-lite meditation on routine and alienation-- I'll mingle with teenagers and CEOs frantic to walk out with their own copy of Hail to the Thief. Because today, Radiohead are U2, Pink Floyd, and Queen-- they could have been bigger than The Beatles if the success of "Creep" hadn't agitated an Oxford-bred guilt complex. As Yorke put it in Meeting People Is Easy: "English people aren't impressed. There's this automatic assumption that any degree of success means that you've cheated. Or you're full of ****."

That's a cross Thom no longer has to bear, since whatever **** he was full of was kicked out of him-- in his hometown, no less-- one night in 2000. Like Johnny, the similarly bloodied main character from Mike Leigh's Naked, the assault appears to have Thom dealing with reality for possibly the first time. Protected from street-level human misery-- first by privilege, and then as a celebrity-- by a misguided belief in the world as something definite and easily changed, Yorke's pummeling rightly refocused an unparalleled modern songwriter on more immediate and emotionally resonant issues, stuffing him back in boots he was growing too big for.

Which is not to say I advocate violence, or that any end could justify its employment, but there are tertiary benefits when an artist's perspective is forcibly altered. Listen to George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 or-- less sarcastically, this time-- listen to Kid A, the most remarkably finessed redesign of an established band's sound since U2 recorded Achtung Baby. A reaction to overexposure, the undermining effects of commodification and the alienation of celebrity, Kid A hasn't aged a day (even while Amnesiac, a less inspired collection of underdeveloped tunes from the same sessions, has somewhat dulled its glimmer).

Kid A and Amnesiac were written and recorded before Thom was attacked, before he became a father, before the world became a lot smaller, when nothing really mattered. Hail to the Thief is almost four years removed from the reality Yorke last wrote about, and for that suspicious title and his recent exploits, it's thankfully less concerned about third world debt and paranoiac global conspiracy theories than I'd expected. Which is reassuring: Radiohead aren't turning into Midnight Oil-- though there's plenty of simplistic condemnation to be found here.

Hail to the Thief doesn't dig up Britpop skeletons from The Bends, and it's not OK Computer 2, as Yorke has called it in the press. It is, however, a holding pattern. Thom's excusatory remarks only underscore his chief failing: he can't grasp that pure, radical change isn't always the best option, whatever personal pride he as an artist takes from doing something "new" (and personally, I think Eno and his German collaborators from the late 70s have plenty of reasons to bristle at Kid A). There's nothing to apologize for here: Radiohead are a band, and after a fashion, bands are defined by their music. Much as U2's Zooropa still sounded like U2, anything Radiohead does from here on out will sound like Radiohead.

The triumphant "2+2=5" could only work as the set's opener, though the positively begging single "Go to Sleep" (due for release in June) is a close second. "2+2=5" is a more encompassing declaration of intent, defining the exploratory boundaries of Hail to the Thief as well as the professedly temporary return to "rocking out," something Ed O'Brien's been wanting to do ever since Kid A was born. Before any heady analysis (and there's plenty later in the record), Thom deals with his recent political distractions, pointing out the medieval ignorance of inaction in the face of overwhelming odds: "Are you such a dreamer/ To put the world to rights?/ I'll stay home forever/ Where two and two always makes up five." It's a bit grandiose, but he rightly concedes the possible arrogance of his bravado during the tune's neurotically charged finale: "Go and tell the king that the sky is falling in/ When it's not/ Maybe not."

"Sit Down. Stand Up.", on the other hand, is, in part, a return to old fears of impotence in the face of global forces at work, but Thom-- a new father-- has every reason to revisit the emotions that dominated one of the great societal laments in rock history, OK Computer. Juxtaposing a dread spawned by media oversaturation with a resigned, hands-over-ears focus on rain falling outside, the tune is devastating in its defeated isolation, the diary of a medicated droog in his chair on a Sunday afternoon, bubbling under the skin. Though it's compositionally identical to "2+2=5", the darker subject matter and more sinister execution-- in the form of far-off piano melodies, icy xylophone hits and maniacal vocal doubling-- reveal a demonic twin caught sideways in a cracked mirror.

Leading with such an excellent couplet, it's something of a disappointment to find that those reactionary barbs about stagnation Yorke is trying to defuse are critically valid, if irrelevant to fans. "Sail to the Moon" has the serenity to survive its lamentably tired title and refrain, but for its beauty, it's both lyrically and melodically reconstituted from better ballads past, like "Pyramid Song", "How to Disappear Completely", and "The Tourist". For fans, it's another wondrous lullaby from Radiohead; for critics, it's not only nothing new, it's topically laughable, as Thom cautions: "Maybe you'll be president/ But know right from wrong/ Or in the flood/ You'll build an Ark/ And sail us to the moon." An apocalyptic vision with all the emotional impact of AI.

"Backdrifts" is the first beacon signaling that Radiohead haven't lost touch with the radical experimentalism of Kid A and Amnesiac. It's a carefully attended piece that's easily overlooked on first listen, featuring a boxed-in, minimal collection of sine waves, gurgling vocal delay and distorted drum machine loops. Toward the middle, the band cuts loose with reverse-echoed piano and guitar swipes to approximate scratching vinyl. "Go to Sleep", a tightened retread of Amnesiac's Smiths tribute "Knives Out", drapes Old West reverb and twang over hugely mixed acoustic guitars. The tune carries through a surprisingly traditional half-time rock and roll chorus as Yorke rambles through placeholder lyrics, alternating tossed-off lines like, "We don't want the loonies taking over," with the constant response, "Over my dead body."

This leads into "Where I End and You Begin", which is the only real low point on the album, as aside from Yorke's vocals, it's a U2 song. Shuffling snare rolls usher along an admittedly succulent liquid bassline, but these are only drawn out from their terrestrial locus by a hard-panned pair of keyboard tracks, which, for their simplicity, save an otherwise underdeveloped track. The finale is more alluring with its raspy whispers and excellent melodic interplay, but it's mostly chaos, stacked high to mask the creative nudity underneath.

"We Suck Young Blood" returns to the piano mode the band has explored increasingly since Kid A, a sort of drunken New Orleans death dirge that embodies its vampiric title, creeping along at a measured, sickly pace that's punctuated only by languid, distanced handclaps. The approach pays off hugely here, as Yorke's gorgeous, metallic whinny embraces the stumbling progression with harmony after harmony, and moments of depressed, gentle wistfulness.

Along with "Backdrifts", "The Gloaming" exposes the band's potential future. Simple, looping glitches and obstinate videogame blurts dash all expectations, remaining resolutely compact, using huge reverb plates that allow Yorke to sing over his own voice. It's arguably academic in its basic composition, a theoretical dare, but it's one of few on this relatively sociable record, a kind of reward for the more studious members of their audience.

Which is where the advance single "There There" comes in, the unification of all of Radiohead's recently mixed aims (Jonny wants to play with Moogs, Ed and Colin want to rock out, Thom wants to change music forever). They meet up in this terrifyingly strange yet straightforward anthem, full of beautiful and more universal lyrics, soaring harmonies and a thundering crescendo they've wisely trimmed from its concert length (the band used to launch into "rock" mode after Thom's midpoint scream). Yorke has said he wept uncontrollably when he heard the first mixdown of "There There", and the unmastered MP3s of Hail to the Thief which leaked in March support this: unlike most other tracks, "There There" is essentially unchanged.

Possibly even more inspiring and enduring are "Myxomatosis" and "A Wolf at the Door", two of the last tracks on the album. The former is a buzzing prog redux of OK Computer's "Airbag" that shows how the simplicity Radiohead strive for can work wonders with tempo; drums fall all over the track until Thom winds up a layered, head-spinning (drunk?) verse that spills the rhythm on the floor. It's a dizzying stereo-panned stomp, and one of this record's finest moments.

As usual, Radiohead save a masterstroke for the closing slot; "A Wolf at the Door" continues in the Slavic New Orleans jazz vein, the same kind of Russo-Bayou parlor waltz as Amnesiac's "Life in a Glasshouse". As with most of Hail to the Thief, "A Wolf at the Door" is thorough, refined and consequently more potent-- almost slick-- in comparison with its drunken, ephemeral predecessor. It's here, at the end of the record, that Yorke most openly deals with the impact of his physical assault three years ago and the fears he holds with regard to role-playing traps in society and relationships (nicely summarized in a quick nod to Bryan Forbes' terrifying The Stepford Wives). Evil is out there-- he's suffered its wrath-- and like a terrified Chechnyan matriarch, he relies on tangible protection from the ****ers and future come to ransom his child.

For its moments of gravity and excellence, Hail to the Thief is an arrow pointing toward the clearly darker, more frenetic territory the band have up to now only poked at curiously. Experimentation fueled the creativity that gave us Kid A and Amnesiac, but that's old hat to Radiohead, who are trying and largely succeeding in their efforts to shape pop music into as boundless and possible a medium as it should be. Without succumbing to dilettantism, they continue to absorb and refract simpler posits from the underground-- ideas that are usually satisfied to wallow in their mere novelty. The syncretic mania of Radiohead continues unabated, and though Hail to the Thief will likely be viewed as a slight placeholder once their promissory transformation is complete, most of us will long cherish the view from this bridge.

-Chris Ott, June 10th, 2003<hr>

The album is incredible. Everything that I hoped (knew) it would be.

BBP
Old 06-11-03, 10:01 AM
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I am broke till Friday. Hearing all of this praise makes me eager for Friday to come so I can buy Hail To The Thief .
Old 06-11-03, 11:23 AM
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Spun it 3 times last night... A little fan perspective first... I loved Kid A and Amnesiac, more so than OK Computer - which is a damn_fine album... The Bends was a really good alternative record. I view Pablo Honey as a good learning experience but not a great record by any stretch.

Long story short, it didn't blow me away and I agree with a couple of the comments above... Amnesiac with guitars and it will take multiple repeated listenings to find the hidden gems. It's a good record, for sure, just how good though? The jury is out for now...

Wolf at the Door is my early fave track...
Old 06-11-03, 11:44 AM
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Favorite tracks: Myxomatosis, Sail To The Moon, Where I End And You Begin, Go To Sleep

Least Favorite: 2+2=5, Sit down Stand up, Wolf At The Door
Old 06-11-03, 01:14 PM
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Wow, that's the complete opposite of me. My faves are, by, far, 2 + 2 = 5, Sit down Stand Up, and Wolf at the Door.

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