14 October 2007

Now that you’ve found it it’s gone now that you feel it you don’t…

I’ll never get over the 1995 release The Bends. I know this. I accept it. I think it’s a brilliant album with one of my all time favourite songs ever – “High and Dry”. “….Drying up in conversation you will be the one who can not talk. All your insides fall to pieces, you just sit there wishing you could still make love…” The song gripped me the first time I heard it too many years ago on a Boston area radio station (probably WXRV) and it’s never let go of me. BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not open to new Radiohead material. It just means that The Bends is hard to top in my book.

It is with open arms and an open ear or two that I listen to their newest release, In Rainbows. I have to say I’m not in love with the first two tracks “15 Steps” and “Bodysnatchers” . I’m not sure why but I think I’m missing some melodic point. These two songs lack for me the thing I like most about Radiohead – their ability to create a mood and an atmosphere that few can ever achieve. Not that I’m against trying new sounds – but the reason I go back to them is for that rainy Sunday morning October feel. When I listen to them it’s as if I’m back on Willow Avenue in Porter Square wrapped up in a blanket reading my latest greatest favourite book.

Once the song “Nude” gets playing (today’s title quote - see video below)) – assuming you listen in order – which I always do the first few times so I can really understand what the artist is saying since order is so well thought out – I feel the guys from Oxfordshire are up to their old tricks. THIS is the stuff I like. THIS is the reason I go back to them. In Rainbows does not disappoint the long-time listener. The whole CD is rife with intelligent lyrics, Thom Yorke’s ethereal, sometimes sad voice, and if you stick it out until the last song, “Videotape” will leave you feeling as if you are in the studio with these guys witnessing the recording of the next great soundtrack for an English-made film. It’s the parting shot, the London Bridge is in the background and our heroine has just tossed her wedding ring into the River Thames.

In the interest of full disclosure I did not pay for In Rainbows. Abby paid for it – 5 pounds 45 I believe and she shared it with me as we often do. What Radiohead is doing – allowing their fans to choose the price they want to pay for the download – I think is very cool. The record industry is in a sad state of affairs these days and part of it I believe is that the few remaining places to actually BUY a CD charge too much for a piece of plastic that essentially costs under a dollar to mass produce (or with marketing/packaging etc maybe costs under $5.00 total) . No wonder no one wants to pay $18.99 for a new release.

Radiohead has been around a long time. They don’t really need the cash at this point – how many mansions does a guy need, afterall? But what they are doing is about freedom. Freedom from a record label, freedom from financial expectations, freedom to do whatever the hell they want, how they want and the freedom to know that their fans will follow. And pay. Many have paid from what I’ve seen. It’s the honour system they are relying on. They understand that for every person that pays a healthy rate there will be someone who pays less, or nothing and that’s ok with them. The point is to get their music out there – not make people feel that they’ve been raped by the band or the guys in suits who need to pay their child support off of a band’s successful CD. Good for them.

As for music sharing – well – that’s been around a LONG time – probably since our parents were kids and the ability to tape vinyl became mainstream. I’m all for it – to a point. However, sites like limewire go too far. Or the people on it do. There is a woman in Minnesota who just this week was ordered to pay $222,000 to six record companies for illegal music sharing. If you ask me she got what she deserved, or not enough.

I know I know – I may get some hate comments about this but I don’t care. You know – share a few songs here and there, or a CD now and again – but to give away over 1700 songs I think takes ‘sharing’ to a whole other level. She doesn’t own the music – the ARTIST owns the music. If an artist wants to give away their music – I think that’s awesome….and if the people who got the song for free give it away – great! But to take such egregious liberties with music you did not write, record, or otherwise have anything to do with making borders on some kind of moral thievery. Share and share alike but exercise some kind of restraint. Give a thought to the artist who slaved over writing a song, paid for studio time, and or otherwise whored themselves out to a record company to get their music made. You have a career that pays your bills – so do these folks. Think about it. Don’t over share.

Ok – time to get off this horse….y’all know how I feel and I hope to keep feeling it. Time to go watch some football and relax.

Thanks for tuning in…Until next Sunday…CHEERS!!


Abby said...

I think musicians, record companies and music lovers can all meet in the middle if we all take to heart the famous words of the Monkeys:

But how much, baby, do we really need?

Abby said...

just checked my bank statement . . . the 5 euros i chose to pay for the radiohead download turned out to be $11.04 when converted to US dollars. plus 11 cents "foreign currency transaction fee." since our dollar is worth nothing and all the currency calculators i used to decide what price to pay calculated the exchange much lower, radiohead will probably do OK because at least US customers, if they pay at all, will probably pay more than they thought they would. i'm cool with $11, though.