Friday, August 10, 2012

"Kid A" to Zzzzz

While the defunct column "Well Hung At Dawn" appears to have vanished from RollingStone.Com's archives, we still were able to recently uncover one of their most infamous moments (and possibly our favorite album review of all time) located just a few moments ago, tucked away after being copied and pasted onto a couple Y2K-era blogs. (We didn't even know blogs existed in those days.) We're unsure of the exact date (probably late-October 2000), but we're pretty sure this review either appeared in one of the Best Music Writing books or won some kind of journalism award or something...

Well Hung at Dawn
This Week: "Kid A" to Zzzzz -- A Radiohead Reaction-ary

Our beloved columnists find a fellow Radiohead hater at Reading

A is for arse, which Kid A is a load of.

B is for B-sides. Yes, we know there aren't going to be any singles -- that's because the whole album sounds like a bunch of half-baked leftovers usually relegated to Track 3 on Disc 2 of the third single.

C is for Capitol Records, who must've crapped themselves when they first heard Kid A. The list price, incidentally, for Kid A is $18.99.

D is for difficult. Those who think Kid A is difficult are really rather dim. If anything, it's deadly dull drivel.

E is for Eno. If people wanted to buy Eno records, they'd buy Eno records. Incidentally, we'd like to copyright our invention of the next hip new genre: Enocore. It's like, ambient punk with really, really sensitive lyrics. Kid A almost -- almost! -- qualifies, but there don't seem to be any words to speak of. Oh right, words are fascist.

F is for fartsy, as in artsy-fartsy. F is also for fans, but since Radiohead don't care about them, why should we?

G is for guitar, as in "Anyone Can Play . . ." Well, somebody had better, because Radiohead sure as fuck don't seem interested in it! Here's an idea for a direct action: Get up front at one of their shows and yell requests for the old tunes -- "Ed! Hey, Ed! Play fuckin' 'Ripcord'!"

H is for humor and the complete lack thereof. Radiohead's total absence of glee is what renders them excruciating. Pretentious is cool. We like pretentious. But pretentious requires a nudge, a wink, a crooked Mona Lisa smile, something!

I is for "Idioteque." That'd be the club where people go to listen to Kid A.

J is, of course, for jazz odyssey. J is also for Jacks, but only when A is for Apple.

K is for kvetching. It seems making Kid A was as hard to make as it is to listen to. Just ask Thom: "I felt like I was going crazy," he told Q, in an exclusive interview. "Every time I picked up a guitar I got the horrors. I would start writing a song, stop after sixteen bars, hide it away in drawer, look at it again, tear it up, destroy it . . . I was sinking down and down." And when it was over, and the sad bastard finally took stock of what he -- erm, sorry, they -- had created? "It made me cry sitting in the back of a car from start to finish," he said to Spin, in an exclusive interview. Good thing he wasn't driving!

L is for lemmings. Man, you've got to love rock critics. Does anyone else get off on listening to "an agitated bass-and-drum funk pattern played on a shotgun downbeat [that] abruptly mellows with the help of a murky, underwater echo effect?" Oh wait, sorry, that's actually the New York Times description of a Trans Am song. Our mistake. Anyway, the only thing worse than the legion of rock critics wringing their ink-stained hands over Kid A's supposed brilliance is the disturbing number of hacks dishing out mixed, murky three-star judgments when they clearly know the record is pants! Kee-rist, even a lunkheaded upscale stroke book like Maxim -- Maxim! -- felt compelled to give this sucker a good review. On the one hand, people are making a fuss over sounds that they wouldn't spare a column inch for if it came out under the name "Autechre," and on the other, because it was decided that Radiohead were Important and Significant last time around, no one can accept the album as the crackpot art project it so obviously is. C'mon, don't be such pussies -- Kid A is either a work of extraordinary genius or a steaming pile of dog turds. There is no middle ground to hide in on this one, and we're sure Thom would want it that way.

M is for Mark Morris, lead singer of the Bluetones. Believe it or not -- even we are still rather shocked -- but the fabulous Science and Nature appears to be closing in on 2000's oh-so-prestigious Well Hung Album of the Year Award (England's Grammy). Great tunes well played, sneaky smart lyrics, and a complete and total disregard for popular trends. Top!

N is for #1. #2 more like!

O is for opera. Having exhausted all prog-rock comparisons on OK Computer, the media has been comparing Kid A to The Wall. Erm, The Wall -- not to mention Radio Kaos -- actually has songs, and a story to boot! That fucking Roger Waters is rolling in his grave -- we wish!

P is for promotion. Radiohead -- by which we mean Thom -- hate promotion. In fact, the anti-pop tones of Kid A were directly inspired by the soul-sucking misery of publicizing OK Computer. Note: doing umpteen "exclusive" interviews, appearing on SNL and playing restrictively small gigs in New York and Los Angeles to elite crowds that include Sean Lennon and Winona Ryder is apparently not promotion.

Q is for quotas. We're against 'em.

R is for rock & roll. Remember rock & roll? We do. Kid A ain't it. R is also for Richard James, who, while he wouldn't be caught dead listening to it, is definitely rock & roll.

S is for Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

T is for there, as in "There's no there there."

U is for U2, whose new album All That You Can't Leave Behind is out next Tuesday. We are very, very psyched, because there's a bunch of geezers who have learned the hard way that successful experimentation still requires songs. They also know that if you absolutely must inflict your self-indulgent claptrap upon the world, it's best to do it under another name -- y'know, like Passengers.

V is for vocals. We actually don't hate all of Kid A. Just when Thom is singing. In that exclusive Spin interview -- which was conducted largely by e-mail, presumably because Our Yorkie is very considerate and didn't want the nice journalists to be freaked out by his lazy eye and club foot -- Thom wondered: "Am I simply in the business of creating the wallpaper to emptiness?" Yes. Yes, you are.

W is for wank. Nuff said.

X is for XFL. Go Hitmen Go!

Y is for Yes. The album art on Kid A reminds us of the embryonic Yes logo Roger Dean did before he perfected his craft. Unsurprisingly, there isn't much by way of liner notes here, just page after page of amateurish scribbling, much of it on tracing paper -- kinda like the album itself, actually. Lift out the black CD tray and you'll find a second secret booklet -- that explains the high list price! -- but it doesn't say a whole hell of a lot either.

Z is for Zzzzz, which is what you'll be doing if you try to listen to Kid A all the way through. We did!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much mate, I've been searching for this for ages!