They continuously push themselves as artists, never falling back on what worked. Starting out as a loud British rock-and-roll band, they’ve evolved into a socially conscientious, progressive musical entity that defies any real labeling. They could’ve made different versions of OK Computer at least three times before venturing into the electronic death-zone of Kid A and Amnesiac, both released over ten years ago. But they’re after more than marketability and dollars, which is something most bands today can’t say. They exist for their own merit and for the challenge of making music that transcends what’s already been popular.
By putting 2007’s In Rainbows online for the price of the consumer’s choosing, they took a big chance. But since then other artists, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, Kanye West and countless others, have followed suit. They recognized the death of the record industry and took action into their own hands. For this, their fans will forever feel a kinship towards them.
In February this year Radiohead entered the Internet and spooked us all again by announcing the release of The King of Limbs, their eighth album. I for one had my reservations about where the album would go and when I first heard it, I admit, I felt a little lost. The 9-song collection is a swamp of loops and echoes and was at first difficult to find moments of connectivity (except for “Lotus Flower,” which claimed itself an instant classic). Since then, however, it has flourished and been injected into my bloodstream. (“Little By Little” is my favorite.) The fact that they pull off the complicated rhythms and loops live is a testament to how god-damn good this band is. They make the Beatles look like Hansen.