Radiohead: The Stories Behind Every Song Hardcover – 13 Sep 2012
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About the Author
James Doheny is a writer, musicologist and music industry consultant based in London. Originally trained in composition at The Royal Academy of Music, James has worked as a journalist for publications and broadcasters including The Times, Wired and the BBC and as a commentator on the areas of music, the music industry and digital culture for many others including the Guardian, Time Out and MTV. He has also worked extensively within the music industry, providing marketing and management consultancy to major (Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI) and independent (Warp, Mute, PIAS) record labels, working with artists such as Brian Eno, The Aphex Twin, Sigur Ros, King Crimson, Philip Glass and Ludovico Einaudi.
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Top Customer Reviews
It contains a variety of superb colour photographs which display all manner of hair-styles from lead singer Thom Yorke, and which also elegantly capture the history of the band. From early days as struggling group 'On a Friday', to global superstars after reaching commercial and critical acclaim with their third album 'OK Computer'; under the changed name of 'Radiohead'.
'Karma Police' also has a succinct biography to guide unfamiliar readers through the band's history, along with a detailed explanation behind every album track Radiohead have recorded so far (however: b-sides and the Live LP are designated significantly less attention). Although perhaps slightly unsatisfying regarding biographical detail in the introductions for each album, for a book about the songs themselves - it sets the scene very well. Paving the way for more information to come.
The song analysis considers the influences Radiohead were exposed to (REM, Pixies, U2) as well as giving insight into individual inspiration of the artists for each song.
Combined with the fact that the book is heavily saturated with high quality pictures of a group who are perhaps the musically most experimental and innovative band in the world today - surely this is reason enough to buy the book?
However; I personally did have some difficulty with Doheny's reviews of each track. I found that sometimes he strayed from the designated project title of 'stories behind' and would walk down the path of scientific analysis of musical structure a little too deeply.Read more ›
Basically, this book gives you a few pages of analysis on each song from their first five albums, Pablo Honey through to Amnesiac. You have lyrical analysis, which can be said to be destroying the magic of the songs, but Thom Yorke's lyrics have never been known for clarity, rather alacrity is closer to the mark. And as for the music, well there is much to discuss there, and this book makes the most of it.
Sometimes it misses the point by going too far and straying into uber-pretentiousness, but most of the time it's informative. My only other grumble is while the album tracks are analysed in depth, often giving new insight into tracks, B-Sides and the I Might Be Wrong live album are rather glossed over. Worth the asking price, though.
The book as a whole contains a good mix of both anecdotal discussion, and lyrical and musical analysis of each Radiohead song. The beginning of the book contains a biographical section about the bands formation and early years, and every album has its own 3 or 4 page intro discussing the creation and reception of the album as a whole. Some reviews say that Doheny strays too close to pretentious detailed musical analysis, but even as an amateur I could mostly follow his identification of precise musical features and time signatures. He also does an excellent job of identifying the musical influences behind certain songs, sometimes oblique influences (REM and Pixies are very common early influences), but othertimes requiring some informed speculation (mainly for the more nebulous output of the second half of Radiohead's career). There are also a few colour pictures of interest scattered throughout the book.
A drawback that some fans of the band will find reading this book is that he occasionally neglects to mention some well-known aspects to the songs influences' or construction - but for a more casual fan this will not be a problem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not happy with what I received. Copy from a library when this was meant to be a present for my boyfriend for Christmas, not happy.Published 7 months ago by Laura McIntyre
Excellent insight into the considered motives behind songs and lyricsPublished 14 months ago by jingles