Amidst recovering from a long, hazy weekend full of pizza and sugar and C2H5OH, I rediscovered Hail to the Thief, the only of Radiohead's four full-length releases (Yes, Com Lag, the In Rainbows b-sides, etc. are all good as well.) over the past decade that I wouldn't have previously labeled "a classic." I'm not sure why, but I'd never really fully understood the album, however enjoyable and punctuated with genius moments, specifically the shift in "2 + 2 = 5" and the opening riff of "There There."
I'm not sure if it was the post-bender glaze of a Monday-morning commute or the new lens I see all music through as I age and become a more knowledgeable musician myself, but for the maybe the first time ever, I completely consumed and absorbed and swam through the clicks and sighs and breathes of HttT. My recent discovery of their "secret playlist" hasn't hurt my renewed enthusiasm for the band in general either.
Radiohead is a band that have become so ubiquitous in the minds of anyone with even the slightest interest in music that it's hard to say much about them. Whether ambitious young musicians are referencing influences or Kid Rock is trying to carve out his cultural significance, the band cannot be ignored when analyzing the first decade of the 21st century.
Kid A was a kind of wake-up call to labels and bands and whoever else cared that a bar had been set, and (along with Nine Inch Nails and a few others) In Rainbows recalibrated the distribution dial. So it's fitting that this decade, still fresh in every way, will see Radiohead's newest effort released this weekend. You can pre-order now.
Everyone: take note.