Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Everything in its right place

(I have been sitting on this blog for a few days wanting to put more links to cool Radiohead stuff in it. I just haven't had the time. If you check back, there will be more fun stuff to play with.)

Tina and I are watching the first season of Alias on DVD. It’s taking a while, but we like it. We get in one or maybe two episodes a week. I check out the discs from our library’s huge movie holdings. There are literally thousands of hours of media, all free to students—one of the perks, I suppose. The other night, we were watching one and during a swanky, under-double-cover moment that should have been intense and interesting, an old song by Smash Mouth started up. It made the scene funny. Now, I am fairly certain that the scene wouldn’t have been funny if I had seen it in the context of its original air date (2001). I don’t know that there is anything very significant about that story, but it made me think about music, media, and context. I know one example of a movie that was re-scored—the pop soundtrack it was released with was replaced with an orchestral one—in order to alleviate the cheesiness of viewing the movie post-1984 (interestingly, I'm wrong here...you'll see what I mean if you click the link). It’s interesting that sometimes music, even old music, helps maintain the “moment” for viewers—like in something like, say, Say Anything, and sometimes music makes things hopelessly silly.

On a different note (there’s that pesky pun again), if you haven’t downloaded the new Radiohead album (In Rainbows) yet, you should do it right now. Some of you may have heard about how the band released the album all on their own and made it available for a you-name-it price (a move that totally shakes things up in the music business). You can legitimately pay nothing for it; I paid 1 Euro (the equivalent of $2.14). It is really really good. I’m not really that good at deciding if it is the best music they have ever put out. As my buddy Mat said last week, their Kid A might be the best album of all time.

I came to Radiohead late in the game. When I was in high school, Marisa H. made me a copy of their first album. I was mildly interested because of their hit Creep (every 14 year old’s theme song) but wasn’t really moved by any of their songs—later, once Creep had been played out, and the Bends came out, I was much more interested in the louder, more aggressive music that was coming out at the same time. I left on the mission right as Paranoid Android was being debuted on Mtv, and while I sensed that there was something interesting about the band (I only know this because I mention a notice of the release of OK computer in a letter to Tina from Palo Alto), I didn't pay much attention to the music or what the critical mass was saying. But then, Radiosilence.

When I got home, it wasn’t until Amnesiac was released—particularly the enchanting Pyramid Song in the summer of 2001—that my attention was piqued. I remember listening to it in San Diego with Tina on our first anniversary. I quickly learned that I had been missing out on something special.

If you are not a fan, you have too.

I’m a reasonable man, get off my case.


  1. Jon, I checked this morning and the exchange rate (we are watching these things lately) was 1 euro = US$1.41. I'd demand a refund.

  2. As you know, my favorite Radiohead album is OK Computer to which you only give a brief mention. Too bad.

  3. That Tina even likes Radiohead is worth mentioning!

    And Dave, there must have been some taxes or something for using an American account to pay for British goods. Who knows.