If you popped Radiohead into a CD player in the middle of a debauchery-filled, wasted good time, the results would not be pretty. A roomful of drunken, belligerent people would be more likely to begin crying after The Bends is played than happily belt out the lyrics. Beware, then: Radiohead may signify alone time. Radiohead may even provoke intellectual thought or generate enthralling conversation. I know it may be scary to consider a realm of possibility filled with haunting lyrics and lined with insane guitar rifts and electronic beats juxtaposed succinctly; I know even that stimulating your mind with music may not be as easy as bonging a few beers with your buddies and singing the lyrics to “Devil Went Down To Georgia (not a terrible song!),” but there you have it.

I’m not saying that exquisite absurdity is a prerequisite for me to add a band to my music catalogue. I don’t require perfect technical proficiency; I don’t always love it even. All I need from a band is an absolute love affair with music and a bit of real emotion. Not some pseudo-tragic—I’m bleeding inside because my girlfriend broke my heart—angst and certainly not some childishly angry— written by a toolbox who puts a fake backbeat in a supposed rock song because they never loved music enough to learn to play bass—generic piece of shit. The real reason Radiohead blows my mind is not found in their proficiency or in their innovativeness, and they’ve managed both, but in the in-depth emotion underlying every croon by Thom Yorke, every guitar part, every drum cadence completing a concept full circle. Radiohead is an emotional wrecking ball, and I love them for it.

You may think, “She’s a girl, she’s playing up this emotional bullshit.” Perhaps true, I am a girl, and I am unabashedly emotional to a fault. But even if you disregard my entire outlook on Radiohead, consider other details. You may not like Radiohead, but they have affected and influenced the music world more than any other band post-Nirvana. Their fan base is international, not simply scattered, but dominating populations everywhere. Finally, Radiohead is a ballsy fucking band. When OK Computer dropped in June of 97,’ achieving both commercial and critical success, Radiohead could have taken the more well-tread path and pushed for further mainstream success. Luckily, there was no structural “let’s turn into a pop band and make lots of moolah,” Modest Mouse sort of move. Instead, Radiohead found something beautiful in experimental art for art’s sake. They grew far more influential after they decided to try for something different.

So, go ahead, hate on Radiohead. Hate how cocky Thom Yorke sounds in interviews or how their music rejects anything pop culture has produced, maybe ever. Radiohead is an extreme left in a music world that loves the right; it would be ridiculous to hope that Radiohead could inspire everyone. But don’t hate Radiohead because you don’t fucking understand them or dislike how uncomfortable and in your face their music can be—thought-provoking discomfort is sometimes just as enhancing as enjoyable entertainment. Don’t hate just because Radiohead is bold enough to experiment with something new, rather than sell out like the rest of us assholes.

It may be art for art’s sake, but what’s so wrong with that?

This scathing rebuttal is in response to Mack's Rant: Radiohead Is Distorted Garbage.

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