Monday, May 9, 2016

Don't Leave: Radiohead Releases 'A Moon Shaped Pool'

I'll just get this out of the way: "Creep" is still my favorite Radiohead song.

That isn't to diminish their body of work, which is ridiculously spectacular. But what's also ridiculous is they way "Creep" gets thrown around like it was written by Max Martin and an anthem for McDonald's (which, would, actually be funny). It's a great song, an authentic song, and just because it doesn't identify with what Radiohead is doing now, doesn't mean its flame still doesn't burn.

So why am I writing this then?

Because this is the first time Radiohead's music has affected me since In Rainbows, an album released nine years ago. I mean, let's face it, you talked about Thom Yorke's dancing more than you did about the actual music on 2011's The King of Limbs. That was some unintentional hipster shit.

Let's get back to the music, though. Actually, let's spend a minute talking about Thom Yorke. I know next to nothing about him. I don't want to. My perception: he doesn't seek attention, doesn't follow, doesn't play "Creep," doesn't selfie, doesn't give a shit. He probably does shit. But I'm willing to bet he doesn't have Snapchat. I'd like that image to remain; he's like Zeus to me.

I know this: Yorke doesn't sing like he used to.  A Moon Shaped Pool is more a whisper than a scream. Urgent, yet not obvious urgency like, say, "Fake Plastic Trees." Thom Yorke no longer cares about being who you wanted all of the time.

"Broken hearts, make it rain," Yorke sings on "Identikit." No idea what that means. Maybe it's his new way of saying "I don't belong here." And maybe that is the point.

This album ends with a stunning track called "True Love Waits," a song that I'm told has been around for some time. Last night was my first time hearing it. The night before I broke up with my last girlfriend, I told her I had a dream that we had built a house on the moon.

I imagine this song was floating through the air.

"Don't leave..." Yorke sings. "Don't leave."

But you must.

And maybe that's why Radiohead is still undeniably relevant in a world that, by any metric system used, should have rejected them a long, long time ago.