Sunday, January 26, 2014

Radiohead - I Want None Of This

Radiohead is among my generation's greatest acts.  They are forward-thinking and intelligent musical composers and performers.  They have recorded eight albums thus far, all being well known.  In addition to these albums, they released an assortment of EPs, which contain many b-sides from their accompanying albums (How Am I Driving EP to Ok Computer, Com Lag EP to Hail To The Thief, etc).

This is essentially a personal hand-picking of my favorite b-sides that they have released over the years, focusing primarily on post-The Bends albums, though there is one track from around those sessions.  I Want None Of This is a rarer song from a tribute album, Help: A Day In The Life, and due to the nature of b-side compilations, was a befitting album title for the collection.

Radiohead - I Want None Of This

Side A:

1.  Paperbag Writer
(from Hail To The Thief era)
2.  Worrywort
(from Amnesiac/Kid A era)
3.  Down Is The New Up
(from In Rainbows era)
4.  Meeting In The Aisle
(from Ok Computer era)
5.  I Want None Of This
(from a compilation album in 2005)
6.  Polythene (parts 1 and 2)
(from Ok Computer era)

Side B:

7.  The Amazing Sound Of Orgy
(from Amnesiac/Kid A era)
8.  Talk Show Host
(from The Bends era, from Romeo + Juliet)
9.  Up The Ladder
(from In Rainbows era)
10.  Pearly*
(from Ok Computer era)
11.  Melatonin 
(from Ok Computer era)
12.  Rabbit In Your Headlights
(song by UNKLE featuring Thom Yorke 1998)

Recently, Capitol Records issued remastered 2-disc albums of all of Radiohead's original six albums.  Of these, I highly recommend both Amnesiac and Hail To The Thief, as the second disc of each set acts almost as a new album in itself.  (Official promotion isn't my thing usually, but the sets really kick mondo butt!)

None of the outtakes from this collection are from Pablo Honey, as it was by far the least Radiohead album (in fact, it being compared to Nirvana is a reason for the drastic sound change in later albums).

The opener is from Hail To The Thief, a sort of parody title of Paperback Writer by The Beatles (spiritually following Subterranean Homesick Alien in terms of track names).  It has a great opening chord that, like many of their albums, sucks you directly into Radiohead's universe.

Worrywort sounds like it belongs on Kid A.  Even though this is technically an Amnesiac b-side, it could have easily been a contender for Kid A, as the two albums were recorded during the same sessions.  The song seemed to fit as the second song, with its subdued electronic sound, with some beautiful vocals from Yorke.  It leads up to the first rocker off the collection.

Down Is The New Up is from the second disc of In Rainbows, be that an official second disc or a collection of b-sides.  Regardless, the second disc is hard to come by in the wild, and is only realistically obtainable via bit torrent.  It works on this side, as some of the strings feel reminiscent of Paperbag Writer, though they do grow with intensity.

Meeting In The Aisle, the first outtake from Ok Computer, is the only instrumental on the album.  It leads up to the titular track, which is an excellent piano ballad, though a bit standard.  It makes sense, as it was on a tribute album that marked the 40th anniversary of The Beatles Help!

Side A closes with Polythene, another track from Ok Computer, and the first time we hear electric guitar on this set, or at least the first time a song is driven by electric guitar.  A Thom Yorke emotional screamer that definitely reminds of their late-90s material.

Side B opens with one of the best outtakes from Kid A / Amnesiac.  I swear this song needs to be sampled into a hip hop song.  The beats are extraordinary, and again, the strings seem to be similar, perhaps an accidental "motif."

And then we get to listen to one of the catchiest bass lines Radiohead ever put to tape on Talk Show Host, which was part of the soundtrack from Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (so was Exit Music For A Film, but that was included on their following album Ok Computer).

After this we get another rocker, and one of my favorite b-sides from In Rainbows (which is the latest album included in this mix... King Of Limbs is such a different beast that none of the outtakes seemed to fit).  Reminds me of a much less intense version of Electioneering.

Pearly is almost heavy metal.  But it's also entirely a pop song.  Radiohead mashes genres pretty well, and this is another excellent example.  I simply love the cheesy bridge.  It's nice to hear such a progressive band just doing their version of a standard pop song: two verses, a catchy as hell bridge and then a rock your face off climax.

Melatonin brings the tone way down, being the shortest and most simple song on the entire set, but what it is leading up to is pretty epic.  In fact, I had no idea what to make the final song on this collection and was unable to finish it properly, until I stumbled on the excellent track from UNKLE's 1998 album Psyence Fiction.  Rabbit In Your Headlights, though entirely a collaboration, is probably the best Radiohead "b-side."  Try not to get sucked in the second you hear the first two chords.

A splendid way to end such a lovely celebration of how Radiohead really is one of those bands that just doesn't seem to record a bad song.  Hope you enjoyed my friends!

- blashco

1 comment:

  1. Keep this up, I know it might be rough to continue to produce things that a handful of people look at, often without comment. Thus is the life of a blogger. The hardest thing is to keep it up. You are obviously passionate about the subject material. If you are looking for a treasure trove of bootleg material that will rock your socks off and melt your face, look at the beach boys. No other band have I encountered with more bootleg material.