Monday, January 07, 2008

The beat goes round and round

The above video is an excerpt from Scotch Mist, a "video with Radiohead in it." Scotch Mist is comprised of Radiohead playing the entire tracklist of IN RAINBOWS and is available in its entirety on Youtube.

Now I may have mentioned IN RAINBOWS in some philler post this past fall -- but now I have marinated on the album for a while, and it certainly merits full post.

IN RAINBOWS is an experimental album in every sense except the sound itself. The music itself is way more accessible to the casual listener than say, Kid A. It's quite frankly a band at the top of their game, doing what they do best, perhaps more prog-rock than post-rock.

But what is experimental is how the band has gone about releasing this album. Completely defies convention. It's almost like Thom Yorke et al are just making it up as they go along.

"Hey guys, lets make a 50+ minute video of us playing our album and put it on YouTube"
"That's genius!"

And their approach appears to be working. The music has been available for months, and yet the CD still debuted at number one in the UK. And who knows how much they made on the early release downloads.

Its important to point out that Radiohead already had a very devoted following before this album, Scott Tenorman aside. And this following was formed through years of major label releases. So it's doubtful that some less-known musical act could break in using the IN RAINBOWS model. But still, credit to Radiohead for breaking new ground, and possibly changing the rules of the game at the same time.

Finally, lets introduce grading system that may be used in the future if I want to talk about music here. I have a criteria for albums I concocted in my head during the several years I spent driving around delivering pizzas and listening to music -- possibly while stoned. It goes like this -- the quality of an album is determined by the number of tracks skipped during a standard listen.

By this scale, for example, "Play" by Moby ranks very highly, whereas Dillinger Escape Plan's "Ire Works" doesn't fair as well (Milk Lizard FTW). This is a subjective system (hey, just like music!) affected by many intangibles such as the volume my radio is set at and chronic quality.

But anyway, IN RAINBOWS is a one-skip album, at worst.


Anonymous said...

Spoken by Thom Brennaman's color guy during the national championship game:

when it comes to blood
blood's gonna win
at a school
when blood's involved in the contest.

I wish I was a poster on this blog. Oh wait...