Fail To The Thief!,
This review is from: HAIL TO THE THIEF (Audio CD)
The final Radiohead album for EMI, "Hail To The Thief" came a couple of years later and takes the musical experimentalism and new directions of the previous two albums, and forges them into a concentrated whole. It neither broke new ground, nor spoilt the narrative. Radiohead created in this a stuttering, paranoid whole, obsessed with the end of times, the final days of fiddled Rome, and tried to envisage this post-millenial tension with a record made of dead ends, watching eyes, wolves at the door and other portends of doom. There were fragments, moments of dark horror, the sound of a child watching Doctor Who behind hands over fingers - and knowing that it was real. The Daleks were just a manifestation of a more real terror - The Commies. Living in the shadow of the bomb. "Hail To The Thief" is the soundtrack to a disappointment, the prophecy on the horizon.
The bonus tracks are frankly, very incomplete. Whilst EMI have clearly spent time and money licensing radio broadcasts and sessions, they've left anything interesting off the list. Neil Young's "On The Beach" was recorded for the BBC in 2003 : other songs from the same recording appear here, but not the cover version that hasn't yet been released. Why? And not only this, but the bonus songs are presented without a moments thought as to how they may sound when listened to as a complete experience. If these releases are EMI's funeral farewell to Radiohead, they could at least bury the records with dignity instead of leaving the corpse in the road.
The DVD that accomapnies "Hail To The Thief" is no short fumble, but then again, two years ago, when the first batch of exploitative reissues surfaced, EMI made a point that you could watch a streamed 'Hail To The Thief' concert as part of the sets selling points. Where's this concert on the 'Hail To The Thief' DVD? Nowhere. The sound of a goal being missed as administrators devalue the art.
Sure, it's a fairly hefty bonus package and assembled with some decency, but it is, by any standard, an incomplete package assembled with no thought for what could provide a truly outstanding release. Why be great, when you can be good? Must try harder.