Review: Radiohead

Radiohead ‘The Best of Radiohead’: Aidin Vaziri | Thom Yorke is really good at throwing tantrums. So it’s little wonder that the news that his band’s old label, EMI, was going to put out a bunch of different versions of the poorly titled retrospective package, “Radiohead: The Best Of,” set him off spectacularly. “It’s a wasted opportunity,” he grumbled. “If we’d been behind it, and we wanted to do it, then it might have been good.” He kind of has a point. Radiohead is not the type of band you’re likely to mistake for ABBA anytime soon. Yes, the band issued quite a few singles during its decade-plus run with the record company, but what it really delivered was a handful of wondrous albums that rippled with clashing textures and wide-eyed ambition. This collection’s biggest crime is that it makes Radiohead sound totally conventional. Stripped of context and concept, the radio-friendly singles gathered here represent only a sliver of what the band really accomplished since setting out with 1993’s “Pablo Honey.” In fact, it’s hard to think of a contemporary band that has successfully shredded the blueprint as many times as Radiohead has, not that you would be able to tell by listening to one watery midtempo ballad after another. “Karma Police,” “No Surprises,” “High and Dry,” “Fake Plastic Trees” – they’re all here. The group’s first big quiet-loud single, “Creep,” sounds out of place in the company of pitch-shifting works such as “Paranoid Android” and “Idioteque.” And while all the songs sound just fine as solitary creatures, it’s hard to shake the feeling that any 15-year-old with an iTunes account and $12 could have pulled together a much tighter and more revealing account of the Radiohead story.

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