Radiohead
The Best Of


3.0
good

Review

by Blair Chopin USER (108 Reviews)
June 3rd, 2008 | 51 replies | 27,155 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A good listen for people just getting into Radiohead.

6 of 9 thought this review was well written

Radiohead- The Best Of


There are four things that make all the Radiohead albums except Pablo Honey great: the flow by song to song, the development of the quality of the songs as the album goes on, the development of the sophistication of the listening process as the album goes on, and the general great quality of the songs. When I bought and listened to “The Best Of” I judged it by these four categories to see if it would be a good listen.

First of the flow of the album is terrible, I mean we don’t have the magical moments were “Airbag” flows into “Paranoid Android”, instead we have the awkward few seconds of “Just” flowing into the brilliant mega epic “Paranoid Android”, sure they are both great songs but they just don’t flow well together. Another example of this is “There There” going into “Lucky” it just doesn’t flow and transition as smoothly as you would expect a normal Radiohead record to. This to me makes “The Best Of” a hard listen and I would prefer the flow of other Radiohead albums.

The songs don’t grow in quality as the album goes on; something I have loved about all the Radiohead albums. You can have a great song like “Let Down” followed by the rather mediocre “Planet Telex”. Sure “Planet Telex” is a very decent song but it has no right to be even followed by "Let Down". Also the album has to much "Pablo Honey:, I mean honestly is “You” intended to be anything but a simple intro to a rather bad album? And have any of the true Radiohead fans ever liked “Anyone Can Play Guitar”, I mean the songs are OK but they have no right to be following “Talk Show Host” or other quality songs. I think the best way for this album to be organized would to have all the "Pablo Honey" songs first, then "The Bends", "OK Computer"," Kid A", "Amnesiac", and "Hail To The Thief "following each other. Because when you just put these songs on shuffle on your ITunes like I think EMI probably did, it doesn’t make much sense. And with this album we have a mess of songs mixed together and it makes for a really unpleasant listening experience.

Another cool thing about Radiohead albums is how they become harder to listen to as the album goes on. I mean look how you start “The Bends” with a simple song like “Planet Telex”, yet the album ends with the haunting, experimental, and just flat out awesome “Street Spirit”. Or on “OK Computer” were the album opens with a fairly simple “Airbag” and towards the middle of the album we are listening to robots talking on “Fitter Happier”. On Kid A were the sophistication grows track by track were Thom is singing a sort of love ballad on “How To Disappear Completely” and it is followed by a haunting musical interlude called “Treefingers”. This album doesn’t have these moments. Sure the first CD starts with “Just” and ends with “Everything In Its Right Place” but in between we see “Karma Police” being followed by “Creep” and that is just crap. So the album does have some moments of musical progression but it doesn’t progress consistently, which isn’t a huge problem but doesn’t make it as enjoyable of a listen as it could have been.

The quality of the songs on this album doesn’t draw a complaint from me. Besides those annoying as can be “Pablo Honey” songs, the song selection is generally pretty good. I love how the b-sides “Talk Show Host” and “True Love Waits” were included when I never thought they would be. Also the album has some generally good mix of songs. We have the great teenage angst song in “My Iron Lung”, a reaction to a bad relationship in “No Surprises” and just a completely crazy song in “2+2=5”. There are the general great Radiohead moments we all love: Thom yelling “The head of state is calling me by name/but I don’t have time for him” in “Lucky”, the emotional conclusion to “Karma Police”, the great storytelling done in the song “How To Disappear Completely”, the beginning of “Idioteque” that for some weird reason just wants to make you stand up and dance. Or if that doesn’t intrigue you we have the acoustic ballads of “Fake Plastic Trees” and “High & Dry”. Overall the album has an enjoyable mix of great Radiohead songs that span their career with EMI. Though the album is a little sloppy in organization, I would still recommend it to anyone who is just getting into Radiohead.


Pros:
Great collection of songs

Cons:
Doesn’t flow well
Sophistication doesn’t grow as album goes on
Quality varies track by track



Ten to download:
1. Talk Show Host
2. True Love Waits
3. Lucky
4. I Might Be Wrong
5. Idioteque
6. No Surprises
7. My Iron Lung
8. Street Spirit
9. How To Disappear Completely
10. Pyramid Song



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Wildcatforever
June 3rd 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Please note that I reviewed the 2 disc version.

AtavanHalen
June 3rd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was a really bad move by the record company. Just sayin', is all.

Bsmith7
June 3rd 2008



252 Comments


While I agree that Pablo Honey is Radiohead's weakest album I love the songs they used on here. Creep is awesome, Anyone can Play Guitar is great, and You is Radiohead's most underrated song. Great review though. I agree 100% that the tracks do not flow well.

Wildcatforever
June 3rd 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think it was a bad move by the record company as well. The smartest thing they could do is release another Radiohead live DVD.

Chewie
June 3rd 2008



4531 Comments


"the best way for this album to be organized would to have all the "Pablo Honey" songs first, then "The Bends", "OK Computer"," Kid A", "Amnesiac", and "Hail To The Thief "following each other."

I wouldn't like that, but other then that you're review is very good. This is such a mistake for this to happen.

VeryPleasantNeighbor
June 5th 2008



272 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Your review is pretty well-written (in terms of grammar, structure, etc) but I have to disagree with a lot of your points.

As for the albums getting "harder to listen to" as they go on, what about Kid A's self-titled track (#2) followed by The National Anthem (#3)? Or putting Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors as the third track on Amnesiac?

I'm not sure how you can claim Street Spirit is "experimental" (even in the context of the album) and yet Airbag is "simple."

And I suppose this is just me being a snob, but I have to disagree with a lot of your song descriptions - My Iron Lung is a reaction to their teenage angst song (Creep); I'm not seeing the "reaction to a bad relationship" in No Surprises; same with HTDC being a love song.

But it's probably a better review than I could write, and thank you for avoiding the obvious "EMI is gay" route.



Wildcatforever
June 5th 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I see what you are saying but a couple points:

1. I meant to say Street Spirit is experimental comparing it to The Bends.
2. Also I think Airbag is "simple" compared to the rest of the songs on OK Computer.

Wildcatforever
June 5th 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And as far as song meanings it is how I interpret the songs. And I admit I am probably not correct; but I think I got most of it.

VeryPleasantNeighbor
June 5th 2008



272 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh no, believe me, I'm not arrogant enough to think my interpretation of a song is always "right;" it's just that a lot of these songs are open-ended enough to make any hard statements seem a little off.

It's just that in your review, you went through a few songs with just a passing comment - like for No Surprises - that made it seem as if it was understood that the song definitely concerns a bad relationship; like there was no grey area.

The thing is, with an album like this, it's directed at people who don't already own the albums and probably aren't familiar with the songs or lyrics. Leaving things a little more ambiguous might be good for someone on Sputnik who's interested in this and is looking for something beyond "teenage angst" "bad relationships" and "love songs."

SHOOTME
June 5th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They left out a lot.

They should have just Re-released Kid A(especially Kid A) and Ok Computer and jam it into one disc and call it Radiohead's Greatest hits.This Message Edited On 06.05.08

Wildcatforever
June 6th 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man. I see what you are saying.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
June 6th 2008



4926 Comments


I have a feeling that this record doesn't mesh at all. It's the problem with a lot of bands who actually release new albums in the fact it's a good collection of songs, but they don't work off one another.

Altmer
June 6th 2008



5652 Comments


yeah but the tracklisting is phenomenal. those are like all my favourites

Wildcatforever
June 6th 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its not that the songs are bad; its just that they don't work together.

SHOOTME
June 6th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Exactly.

Radiohead has only two albums I can listen to all the way really, Ok Computer and Kid A.

Burn2Burn
June 6th 2008



2378 Comments


Radiohead has only two albums I can listen to all the way really, Ok Computer and Kid A.

I get so bored of those two. I actually think Hail To The Thief is their best. This is definitely a great collection of their songs, but looking at them, I can see how they wouldn't mesh together at all.

SHOOTME
June 6th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I always thought Hail To The Thief was boring.

JacoIII
June 7th 2008



25 Comments


I have to disagree with the comment on Airbag.

I think that structurally it is a relatively simple song (especially when compared to the rest of the album) but instrumentally it is probably one of the deepest songs I've ever heard that wasn't performed by a 100-piece orchestra.

Every time I listen to the song I notice something I didn't hear previously.

Besides that minor nitpick, excellent review.

Wildcatforever
June 7th 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

you're right. Airbag is pretty complex instrumentally, which is kind of surprising.

Wildcatforever
June 7th 2008



441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really think if Radiohead took there time to make HTTT like they did with In Rainbows and Kid A it could be great. But it is just to unorganized and inconsistent.



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