Dean Rivers (dean_r) wrote,
Dean Rivers

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The Reverse Psychology Of 'In Rainbows' For The Burning Generation

As someone who's always enjoyed a good opportunity to scour through a person's CDs to find new and novel songs (I'm quite a wonderful thief once you get to know me) to burn onto this computer, In Rainbows poses quite a problem.

Without that tangibility, I have the no reason to delete any of the songs. Because once I do, it's a little chunk of effort to try to find the song(s) again. Which means I don't get to selectively pick and choose the songs I like, I instead lump it. This does mean I am paying more attention to the songs that don't grab me at first, but would probably appreciate and burn in the future if they grew on me. Just those little hooks that make the song feel like its flaws were intentional. Radiohead's recent work has been so sparse that a change of pace or a strange sample to throw in (the sound of children collectively making noise for 15 Step) turns a good but forgettable song into something I can appreciate keeping. If I remember to ever play it again.

I think my musical tastes are starting to shift a little in that less and less songs just grab me, but I'm hearing a lot of songs I didn't care enough for first time around to save when I burned the CD, but are latched into my head until I find the fuckers. Being a fan of pianos in songs, Keane are a band whose songs I can enjoy. But one song I never bothered with was "We Might As Well Be Strangers"; it seemed good but forgettable at the time. It has been in my head all week, and cropped up out of nowhere, seemingly? I don't listen to radio or watch television for it to jut out of an advert.

There's a whole lot more that I take in and enjoy and appreciate after several listens. Maybe I'm starting to follow lyrics better than I used to, beyond the cacophony of sounds. I do miss the 'single generation' of music in Britain, which started a little before Britpop began and died out a little after Britpop began to fade. So many bands were thrown together from one good demo song, and these bands were remarkably one-dimensional. Not only were their b-sides to the single release terrible and sloppy, but the album itself was filled with filler. Radiohead's albums are not for that generation, and show I have grown to some extent. They are meant to be played in a collective fashion. You can't just pick and choose songs to listen to, they don't have that 'single' vibe as strongly as they used to. It's meant to be an experience, an aural enhancement. You start, you listen, you stop, you mull it over.

But I obsessive-compulsively delete the track order. All the songs lose their number. They're all <artist>-<title> as far as I care. I make them singles, I delete their collective worth, I make them individual and detached from each other. I turn this batch of tightly-weaved songs of cumulative meaning into bastards for a potential mix CD.

So. I'm left with ten songs I don't know what I'll ultimately do with. It's a good thing that so far I can enjoy the songs one by one and appreciate what they have, but I know already 15 Step has hooked me and if someone asks me which song defines the album, I'm going to have that one stuck in my head and will be unable to suggest something else, even if that's the wrong answer. And why? Arguably because once the album loses its track listing, it's the first song (alphabetically) I'll listen to every time.

I'm just thankful that time has passed and I can appreciate and say I'd listen to Faust Arp or House of Cards every so often, instead of the grabbing 15 Step or Bodysnatchers.

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