Before you gripe about how Radiohead’s stellar new live release is only eight songs long, you should know that it still runs 40 minutes. That’s longer than recent albums by Weezer and the Strokes, so just hush up and give yourself over to these maniacal, vibrant renditions of already great songs, most of which were culled from Kid A and Amnesiac. The sore thumb here is the previously unreleased acoustic strummer “True Love Waits,” a repetitive little nothing whose inclusion here should logically have been replaced by the band’s pulverizing live version of “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box.”
The studio versions of these songs, all released within the past year, were bafflingly mechanical in a way that took a few listens to get acclimated to; the songs were often as distant and cold as the mountaintops pictured on Kid A’s cover. On I Might Be Wrong, however, Radiohead injects each of these tunes with a tornadic energy that accentuates the songs’ nervous idiosyncrasies.
Stripped of its twitchy backward tapes, for example, “Like Spinning Plates” reveals itself as a haunting meditation on hypocrisy: Thom Yorke gently opines, “As you make pretty speeches on being cut to shreds/You feed me to the lions,” to a soft piano backing. Conversely, “The National Anthem” and the title track gallop along with a decidedly punkish determination.
“Everything in Its Right Place” trumps them all by building seven minutes of trippy, swirling vocal interplay between Thom and a sampled version of himself (manipulated onstage by Jonny Greenwood). It slowly spills into a sputtering, hallucinatory jumble of echoes and half-understood words that might actually be more effective in your headphones than in person. Like everything Radiohead has done since The Bends, you can file this under “essential listening.”
E-mail Chris Willie Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.