Music Geek #17: Radiohead, Thom Yorke release strategy indicative of creative shift?

Radiohead, the album band — you know, the one that hit it big with a single, then turned around and crafted some of the greatest albums of the modern era? The range of responses to questions in the vein of, “Do you like… Radiohead?” comprise two distinct types of answer: “[Insert post-Pablo Honey-album-title here] was fucking great,” on one hand, and “I love Creep!” on the other. It happens.

But the album-oriented Radiohead may have gone by the wayside a bit, and it seems they’ve got Thom Yorke in tow. Here’s a quick timeline, if you’ve missed it somehow:

5 August 2009: Radiohead release “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)”
17 August 2009: Radiohead release “These Are My Twisted Words”
21 September 2009: Thom Yorke releases double A-side single, “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses / The Hollow Earth” [Stereogum]

In fact, Thom Yorke’s gone so far as to talk about the album being a thing of the past for the band — at least, for now:

None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off. I mean, it’s just become a real drag. It worked with In Rainbows because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. (via Stereogum, via The Believer magazine)

Would I be happy if Radiohead continued to release single after single, constantly feeding my desire to hear more? Of course — few wouldn’t be. After all, it’s not like Radiohead haven’t produced more than their fair share of excellent albums, and I’m still very much discovering new things to love from their distinctive catalog, but it would be a shame if some of the most prominent musicians of the 21st century abandoned the album as a singular entity.

Perhaps my tie to the album is purely an emotional one, but there’s something innately appealing about a coherent block of music arranged with the utmost of concern and care.

Still, I’d be surprised to not see another Radiohead LP someday. A boy can dream, can’t he?

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