The following is a word-for-word rehash of a conversation I had about a month ago. It has not been altered or paraphrased in anyway. I will refrain from identifying the other speaker, not because I care for protecting their identity but because I’ve been involved in so many other almost verbatim exchanges that it would be arbitrary to single this particular culprit out.

”What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a music editor.”
“Oh my God! What did you think of the new Radiohead album? Wasn’t it awesome?
“I can’t stand Radiohead.”
“’re a music editor.”

When did criticizing Radiohead become tantamount to pissing on the American flag? Non-journalists aren’t even allowed to utter anything negative about Thom Yorke, let alone music critics. Did someone send around a memo to every writer in the world threatening legal action if the ‘best band of our generation’ was ridiculed? Well, I didn’t receive that particular correspondence; so, I guess I’m free to say what everyone else is just thinking: Radiohead fucking sucks.

My music taste has always been fiercely eclectic. I own and listen to everything from Otis Redding to N’Sync to Twisted Sister to Nick Drake. Diversity is what makes music so special. Put the iPod on random and smile as Sid Vicious is bookended by ‘Ol Dirty Bastard and the Spin Doctors. Laugh as “You’re Still The One” slowly fades into “Heart Shaped Box.” There’s something exciting about decades clashing, cultures colliding, guitars and CD scratchings vying for auditory supremacy inside my inner ear. Even still, this cornucopia of seemingly contrasting noises is held together by a pleasing, formulaic thread. It floats within the vicinity of a pop-sensible buoy.

Listening to a Radiohead album is like putting “European Son” by The Velvet Underground on loop. For an hour. Sure, there’s a little bit of beauty, but it’s buried beneath a mound of unlistenable, unnecessary layers. If you covered the Hope Diamond in excrement, someone would still buy it, but it wouldn’t change the fact it looks and smells like Smurf shit.

Radiohead did release one radio-friendly single, “Creep.” You may remember it as the only hit they ever had in the United States. I remember it as the only song in their entire catalog I’ve bothered to put on my iPod. And what did the band do? They disavowed it, refused to perform it for several years. I even heard a recent interview with Thom in which he claimed the early career hit came on the radio, and he didn’t recognize it as his ‘composition’ for two entire minutes. Yeah, I’m sure. “Creep” is the only reason why you got to make Hail To The Thief, In Rainbows and the rest of your melodramatic, pretentious catalog, Thom!

If you love Radiohead, that’s great. Pop on OK Computer and jerk yourself off in the corner to their mind-bending greatness. I won’t complain. But don’t assume you’re more musically informed than me as I bong beers, crank up Dookie, and make out with that girl you’ve always had a crush on.

What do you think of Radiohead?

How Do You Feel About Radiohead?

To read Jessica Grabert's pro-Radiohead response: click here.

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