Why do I really like Radiohead? Is it perhaps Thom Yorke’s sweet sing-song voice? Or his tender dance moves? Or maybe the power vested in the manbun perched on his head? I’m not really sure it it’s these things.
My friends, mostly male, but perhaps this is beside the point, tend to like Radiohead. As part of my musical awakening I felt the need to like Radiohead too. “yeah, In Rainbows is really underrated” and “I feel like the new album is a great progression to Thom York’s narrative”, I would say.
I went home over winter break and bought a few CDs. The Bends and OK Computer. I listened to them while I drove around in my Toyota Corolla. At first I had the same general feelings about Radiohead. Yeah, they were good, but the songs were nothing all too special to me. Sure, they influenced various artists and bands after their creation, but I didn’t get all torn up about it.
I did cry in my corolla while listening to The Bends after my boss hit on me. He was respectful, but also said I was “so innocent” and “sweet” because I wouldn’t sleep with him just because he “knew people at Sub Pop.” Later, my good friend from home told me it was my fault, and that I “should have known there was an expectation if you were hanging out alone” and that I “shouldn’t have put myself in that situation if I didn’t want to sleep with him.” I stormed out and cried while listening to Ok Computer after that too.
Months later and I am about to see Radiohead. So why do I like Radiohead? Is it because I actually like Radiohead? Or is it a product of me trying to impress the musicbois I’m friends with? Or perhaps I only like Radiohead because the band is tied up with feelings of empowerment after disappointment and anger associated with shitty dudes from home? Was my love for Radiohead mine or a product of something else? And does it matter?
They opened with Daydreaming
They closed with Fake Plastic Trees.
Was I closer to the foundation of my love for Radiohead? No. However, I was sure that I liked Radiohead. And after getting way too stoned after the show told my Lyft driver all the convoluted feelings I had about the band. And I’m listening to The Bends now and I am thinking about why I like most of the music I like. Although it sucks that Radiohead is tied up with all of these things in my mind, I guess that doesn’t make my love for them less pure. So what if The Bends makes me think of some shitty dude, and so what if my foundation of liking Radiohead was based on a lie. I like Radiohead now, so that’s that.