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2.0 out of 5 stars
'I have two curlers in my hair', 10 Oct. 2000
Full marks to a band who don't want to do 'pop songs' and want to push the envelope a bit - all good prog rockers do (and like it or not that's what they are), but this is simply too 'out there' for me. OKC was very different to TB but we all went along with it. The band was evolving, and some would say for the better. But this is like the 'Ugly Duckling' in reverse. The title track is simply unlistenable. Much of the rest I admit improves after a couple of listens. High points are: 'Everything in its right place' ("there are 2 curlers in my hair") which is so damned clever its irresistable. 'How to disappear' is ok but spoiled by the high piched whining strings that run over the first third.'Optimistic' is the best track by far. A great groove, good lyrics with a delicious funky break at the end. Very Radiohead. 'Morning Bell' has a great addictive drum sound. Be different - sure, but the change in style overall with this album is such an abrupt and dramatic one that it won't please everyone - certainly not me I'm afraid. A lot of what I like Radiohead for is gone, particularly the adventurous guitar sounds of the previous albums and the catchy melodies that stuck in your head for weeks. Such a shame. I agree with some other reviewers that some people have been influenced by previous glories and would have given this 5 stars no matter what, simply for being Radiohead and for being adventurous. But that can't be enough. If music is challenging then you can applaud it for that quality, but in order to succeed, all music has ultimately to be enjoyable - usually because it evokes some sort of emotion from the listener. A lot of this album is unfortunately experimentation for experimentation's sake. Can anyone say they enjoy listening to the title track? I'm going to listen to this album some more. If I change my mind, you'll be the first to know, but it seems to me that Thom and the boys have been listening to the wrong stuff. I'm 'Optimistic' though for the next album.