“Did you hear it?”…some words about Radiohead

Editor’s note: IronJ146 first published this piece on his personal Tumblr site: Robots can live in the woods, too…. It originally ran on February 19, 2011, the day after the release of Radiohead‘s most recent album, The King of Limbs. While this post was created well before the conception of HI-FI Lives, it certainly makes sense to include it with our collection as it poignantly captures his experience with the release of this music and I appreciate his allowing us to feature it on HFL.        –HI-FI Janna


Yesterday, I woke up to the closest thing to actual serendipity I can expect in my adult life. It may be a condition unique to me, or this moment in history, but it’s never commonplace to wake and immediately discover that one of your favorite “things”, no matter the form, has made itself available to you when you weren’t exactly expecting it.

My “thing” in this scenario is the new Radiohead record, The King Of Limbs. Radiohead has been my stock answer to “Who’s your favorite band?” for the lion’s share of their career. The Bends was one of the first cassettes I ever purchased for my car when I was 15. Every subsequent release has either come about during some substantial period of my life…or maybe I just use their albums as place markers to keep up with my own personal history…either way, anytime those 5 guys collaborate on an album of recordings it has an impact on me at a very personal level. For better or  worse, their artwork has had a massive impact of the formation of my personal identity. (yikes!)

I’m not trying to build up the release of this record to some hyperbolic level of importance beyond the fact that such an event has historically been significant to me, personally. I did seriously consider skipping out of my daily responsibilities to digest the album. I tend to have really bad ideas when I first wake up.

I should address the particulars before losing the attention of the average net reader. (Ugh! 4 paragraphs? I don’t have time for this.)

Look, I like it. I’m only really disappointed in its short length. I could’ve used 2 or 3 more songs, but maybe that’s being selfish. There are a few songs I welcome into the band’s larger body of work with open arms. “Bloom” feels like a Flying Lotus song with DJ Shadow moments, which may say a lot about circular influence. “Little by Little” feels like how I imagine the 1960’s were in the UK, and “Codex” is the show stopper that I hope for with every release. I’m compelled to continue listening to it and that’s all I can really ask for from any album.

With all that personal opinion stuff out of the way, there’re a lot of aspects of the “event” around my “thing” that I find interesting. I’ve noticed a wide variety of reception to this album. Most notably, I feel like there are a lot of listeners that are underwhelmed, and that’s fine. When you have a reputation for releasing game changers, there’s gonna be some unreasonable expectation involved. We’re certainly not talking about Chinese Democracy here, but it’s hard to defend against “disappointed.”

I also can completely sympathize with the aggravation that comes along with Twitter and Facebook feeds of non-Radiohead fans being bludgeoned with updates about something in which they essentially have no interest. I can’t help but feel a little defensive, but that’s because it’s my “thing”. Every time Kanye puts anything out, I roll my eyes as well…but that’s completely different because…nevermind, I’m not gonna debate the subjective.

Most of all, I like that people are talking about it. It could certainly be my circle of interaction that makes it feel so prominent, but no matter the quality of the album or level of satisfaction, it is being discussed. I’m lucky to be able to go out the day that my “thing” happens and start a variety of conversations that begin with simply “Did you here it?”. Just it. 

Therein lies what I really find significant and special about Radiohead. I’ve been called a cynic, but when my favorite “thing” occurs I’m at no loss of discussion forums. It’s one of the rare moments where I personally feel in touch with the world around me and it, ironically, happens with something as personal as my favorite “thing”.

Did the world change with the release of the new Radiohead album? Of course not. Do I like the new addition to my “thing”? Absolutely.

Here’s to having a favorite “thing”. Cheers.


Find more artists like Radiohead at Myspace Music.

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About IronJ146

Social Science Hubris

Posted on 09/05/2011, in Favorite Things, Human Behavior, In Touch and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for hollerin’ at us in the links. Anything extra to say now that you’ve had time to digest King of Limbs?

    • Like any Radiohead record, I think it occupies it’s own space. There’re more things I enjoy about it than not.

  1. Pingback: How Neon Indian Disrupted and Grounded My Life « HI-FI Lives

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