Remember when you first heard The Bends? You were likely introduced to Radiohead with "Creep," and it's possible you judged it with some disdain. Maybe not at first. At first, it defined the alienation of our times. But definitely after you heard it played as someone's wedding song.
Point is, when you heard the album, you were intoxicated with its absolute emotion and the way it sounded like itself and nothing else. It was accessible enough that everyone liked it but experimental and layered enough that when listening and liking, you felt like you were stuffed full of indie cred.
It didn't matter what other music people you hung out with were into. They could have been total Tool fans or obsessed with Paul Oakenfold, but because everyone loved Radiohead, it was the great scene uniter. They were like the new Smiths but with a broader appeal and less pompadour.
What is it that defines Radiohead? Is it Thom Yorke, the not-sexy but totally intriguing frontman? Yorke manages to always inspire interest whether breaking it down to "Lotus Flower" or bringing Flea in to play in his other band, Atoms for Peace. He's the kind of guy you read about and wonder what his favorite cereal is. Or is it Radiohead's anticorporate, organic righteousness? In Rainbows dropped on the web with a pay-as-you-will rule. These guys are so big, they're giving their albums away.
There will always be something addictive and essentially "cool" about Radiohead. They gave our generation quality pop music. They brought real raw feeling, complex compositions, and quality crossover electronica to the ears of many. They may be aging and their last two albums less groundbreaking, but there's no way we're going to miss out on Mr. Yorke's dance moves when Radiohead kicks off its U.S. tour in Miami this month.
Radiohead, with Other Lives. Monday, February 27, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Visit ticketmaster to purchase tickets.
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