- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
For many, Radiohead’s finest hour, for others just the start of the Radiohead phenomenon. Either way, most music fans agree that The Bends is one of the finest albums of its kind in the last ten years. Another thing that is certain is that it is music produced during the period where Radiohead could still be deemed to ‘rock’ and the electronic experiments of Kid A and Amnesiac were unimaginable. The opening song on the album, Planet Telex, is fairly similar to the material that had been released on debut album, Pablo Honey. However, it is already apparent even from even the first few seconds that the music on The Bends has a far more rounded feel, with much deeper roots to the music than on its fairly orthodox and low-budget predecessor. On most albums a song of the quality of Planet Telex would have been one of the highlights. On The Bends however, it serves simply as a good introduction into an even better album. Although it was released, as a double A-Side with High And Dry, there is no doubt that unreleased songs such as The Bends, Nice Dream and Black Star are superior songs. However, the song is still good and, as I stated before, leads nicely into the second track The Bends. Recently reinstated as the set closer during gigs, The Bends is as fine a song as The Bends is an album (if you get me…). Opening with the memorable ‘where do we go from here, the words are coming out all weird, where are you now’, the song simply rocks. Many old Radiohead fans will feel disillusioned nowadays that Thom Yorke and company no longer make songs like this. Even though it doesn’t contain the power of My Iron Lung or Just, it is still pretty awesome and is still enough to blow away audiences at gigs – or, to quote the song, ‘blow the place sky-high’. And, like all good songs, it sticks in your head so that you will find yourself humming it and playing air guitar to it all the time… or is that just me? The third track sees the tempo slowed with many peoples favourite from the album, High And Dry. Don’t get me wrong, I like this song and think it is good. However, I don’t think it is in the same league as Fake Plastic Trees as it seems a little out of touch with much of the album. Whereas Fake Plastic Trees has a good, rock ending, High And Dry does seem to dry up a bit. In saying that, Thom Yorke produces one of his best vocals on the track and if it were on a lesser album I would probably like it a lot more. Sandwiched between The Bends and Fake Plastic Trees overshadows it somewhat. Still, for the majority (myself included) it continues the feeling of the album well and could in no way be described as being a filler. The best live performance, actually probably the only live performance I’ve seen of this, was by some buskers in Newquay and it was brilliant so who knows how good it would be if Radiohead still played it live. For me, Fake Plastic Trees is probably second only to Street Spirit on The Bends. Without a doubt one of the finest Radiohead moments of all time, it’s beautiful and passionate. Like High And Dry, the vocals are superb, but whereas that seemed to just dwindle out, Fake Plastic Trees builds and builds until the fantastic ending. Yorke almost snarls ‘she looks like the real thing, she tastes like the real thing’ and then it does sound as though what he is saying is true when he states ‘I can’t help the feeling, I could blow through the ceiling’. Great song from a great album from a great band. Bones, track five, is, along with Sulk, probably the least memorable song on the album. Like Planet Telex however, this is not because it is a poor quality song but rather that the rest of the album is so spectacular that it somewhat gets lost. Again like Planet Telex, it is fairly similar to much of the material on Pablo Honey but without the rawness. Bones was one of the songs premier ed on the video Live At The Astoria and it grows into a much stronger song when played live. Following Bones comes Nice Dream and this is, without a doubt, a classic song. Lyrically superb and totally fitting the mood of the rest of the album, Nice Dream is like a slower Fake Plastic Trees and a lyrically, if not musically, superior Motion Picture Soundtrack from Kid A. Although it is a class song it still doesn’t reach the level of Fake Plastic Trees, Street Spirit or some of the songs on Ok Computer as it drifts away for a while in the middle – even though this gives a good chance to witness the bands ability with guitars. The next two songs are the best examples of Radiohead being an old-fashioned rock band. Just and My Iron Lung are two superb songs. If you have only heard recent Radiohead songs then you might believe the idea of jumping around and going mental to them is a bit strange. You may also insist that Radiohead are depressing. Well there is nothing depressing about Just or My Iron Lung musically. Lyrically it isn’t exactly happy but it is clever meaningful words put to brilliant music. Hopefully everyone has seen the video for Just as that is one of the best music videos I have seen, and the ending to both the song and video are particularly outstanding. My Iron Lung is quite interesting as the music was taken straight from their live performance at the Astoria with the vocals dubbed on over the top. The song never used to be a great favourite of mine but having seen it played live a few times recently it is now one of the highlights of the album for me. Whereas before I deemed it to be a bit ordinary, after hearing it live I now respect the monster that My Iron Lung is. If anyone is interested in some of Radiohead’s none-album work then they should buy the My Iron Lung EP which has some excellent songs – particularly You Never Wash Up After Yourself. The song itself contains one of the best Thom Yorke lines to d ate ‘suck, suck your teenage thumb, toilet trained and dumb’ – brilliant. After the heavy interlude of Just and My Iron Lung comes Bulletproof…I Wish I Was which reduces the noise level to one lower than even Nice Dream had set. This song is one of the highlights for me now, even though it took a while to grow on me. When played live it is usually just Thom Yorke with his acoustic, on the album there is more depth with producer of the song, John Leckie, providing an excellent backdrop to the song. If you believe Radiohead are depressing and that music can depress you, then this track will. Listen to it when you are feeling down and you will cry. But hey, what’s wrong with crying. Bulletproof… is an excellent song and wouldn’t have been out of place on any of the Radiohead albums. When compiling my ‘best of’ compilation this beat The Bends and My Iron Lung to a place – it is a quality tune. WOW! I’m listening to this song at the moment and it usually f**ks up as it is scratched, but for some reason it has worked fine. And then sun is out. Woohoo, God loves me. Ah but then does God exist? Hmmm different opinion I think. Following Bulletproof… comes Black Star, a personal favourite, and the first song to be produced solely by Nigel Godrich (producer on Ok Computer, Kid A and Amnesiac). The start is so forlorn and vulnerable that is seems as though the album is slowly running down, yet the chorus is rousing like many of the earlier songs (check Planet Telex and The Bends) and this is why so much this album is above the average indie offering. It also features another of the highlight lyrics from the album – ‘I keep falling over, I keep passing out, when I see a face like you’. Simple yet brilliant. The introduction of penultimate track Sulk sounds familiar to many of the songs from The Bends successor, Ok Computer. It is only when listening to the song, similarly to Bones, that you remember it is actually a really good song and that it is simply overshadowed by other songs (sandwiched between Black Star and Street Spirit it is easy to see how this is possible). It again goes to show why The Bends is such a good album – it is probably the only Radiohead album that doesn’t have a weak or below par song. It isn’t my favourite Radiohead album (that honour goes to Ok Computer) but none of the other albums can boast that. Pablo Honey had one or two weaker moments, Ok Computer had one or two not so good moments, and the same for Kid A and Amnesiac. Sulk, like Bones, doesn’t drop the pace at all and leaves the listener wondering how on Earth Radiohead will manage to provide a fitting climax. Street Spirit, like Paranoid Android, is a modern classic. The guitar riff is amazingly simple yet still stupefying – there cannot be many sounds as touching as the whole of Street Spirit. Lyrically it is absolutely stunning with the line ‘cracked eggs, dead birds, scream as they fight for life, I can feel death, can see its beady eyes’ standing out in particular. Street Spirit also showed how far Radiohead had come in such a small amount of time. It makes the whole of Pablo Honey sound like Westlife in terms of musical splendour and, although downbeat, leaves the album on the highest note possible. It was the end of The Bends but, in hindsight, just the beginning of the sort of music that would eventually lead to Ok Computer. A classic album, The Bends will for many always be Radiohead’s finest album. For me it was the start of something much bigger than a single album. It paved the way for Ok Computer and its influence is still far reaching – every new band in the indie scene of recent years have a huge debt to pay to this album (ie. Coldplay, Travis, JJ72 and Muse on their first album). All have used elements of The Bends, but none have bettered it yet and they probably never will.
For anyone that was there it was the greatest gig of all time, not only of the ones they themselves had been present at, but also of any gig, ever, anywhere in the world. You may say that I exaggerate and/or that I’m of bias viewpoint but believe me, even with this taken into consideration, this was THE greatest gig of all time. In fact it wasn’t really a gig, or a one-day festival as it was billed to be, it was a life changing experience. Every person I spoke to afterwards agreed it was the finest musical experience of their lives, and not all of these people were as big a Radiohead fan as myself. Some owned only Kid A, others were unfamiliar with any of the bands work except for the singles. Anyway, I’ll quit beating around the bush and start to describe the events that happened in South Park, Oxford on the 7th June 2001. The weekend of the Radiohead gig was the start of a two week jaunt for some friends and I to Newquay and back. Arriving in Oxford on the Friday with my friend John we were being kindly put up by another friend Fiona. On arrival we discovered we had little to no pot to smoke so our moods were not exactly ‘woohoo there’s a strawberry cream at the bottom of the box that no one has discovered!’. However, the night was passed reasonably enough… well it was until 5.00am when I was rudely awakened, not by the pigeons or the bin-man but rather from the frolicking occurring next to me. Trying to pretend I was asleep while my two friends made hay wasn’t a new experience but it was unpleasant as I was desperately in need of sleep. The people involved probably wouldn’t have wanted this information to be available for all to read. I have one response – haha. Anyways, after failing to get back to sleep, the dawn came and we all stumbled up after a good night’s ‘rest’. I decided it was time to be an extrovert and so went for the full heterosexual look of red and purple hair a nd red sarong… oh did I say heterosexual, woops I meant homosexual. So looking absolutely stunning we walked into Oxford to meet two other friends who were going to the gig. We decided in our wisdom to buy a ticket from someone who couldn’t go anymore, thinking that we could sell it on and make a huge amount of money. An hour later we were frantically trying to sell the ticket on for face value. In the process I nearly became involved in a scrap with a tout who took offence at me asking how much he would sell his ticket for and then running off without a further word. All’s well that ends well however, and we sold the ticket for face value and the tout got arrested – Jurassic Park! So after years of waiting (quote – Pakt Like Sardines) we finally got into South Park. It was strange at first – animation world isn’t what it’s cracked up to be… ah bugger, wrong review… The first two bands came and went without anyone really paying attention – it was very festival like and everyone just sat around. In all honesty there wasn’t much to do but sit and wait, as the queues for food and drink were bigger than… well very big. After a brief session from jazzman Humphrey Lyttleton, the first ‘real’ band to appear was Sigur Ros. Although a majority of the audience began to laugh at the singer’s high pitch squawk, they laughter soon ceased and people began to understand why so many have hailed this young Icelandic band. However, it wasn’t until Supergrass came on that people began to stand up and watch properly. Even though I don’t actually own any Supergrass albums, I still have a passing interest in the band, and they seemed on good form, announcing the festival was a local one ‘for local people’. If anyone was unaware, all the proceeds from ticket sales etc, went to local charities. The only disappointment was that they didn’t play Alr ight, but songs such as Moving and Richard III ensured everyone was now beginning to get into the right mood. By this time it was about 7.00pm and the atmosphere was building, so that by the time Beck came on stage the place was buzzing. Not being familiar with his work, it was interesting to see how Beck would shape up, and it was clear that he is an excellent musician. My friend Richard (Hazz) and I had got separated from our other friends but were now in an excellent spot in terms of viewing. Beck came and went, and it was approaching the time everyone had waited for. The next two hours in South Park saw the best gig of all time. As is now customary, Radiohead opened with The National Anthem – the perfect start to the perfect gig. The loud bassline and tortured vocals are a Radiohead trademark and as per usual this song was performed brilliantly. Whereas nobody was familiar with the new songs when I had seen the band play in Warrington eight months previously, the crowd were now familiar to The National Anthem and this greatly improved the enjoyment of the performance. The second song on the set-list further lit the fuse for the audience. The first of the six from 1997’s Ok Computer, Airbag is probably my least favourite of the live regulars taken from this album. Although I would have quite happily exchanged Airbag for say Just, Life In A Glasshouse, Like Spinning Plates or True Love Waits, it was still a good performance of the song, even though it was aborted and restarted after a few notes as Jonny had picked up the wrong guitar. The third track, Morning Bell, was not one of the standout tracks for me from the recent material but the version played that day was without a doubt the best I have heard. Lyrically about divorce, I understood the song a whole lot better that day and it was one of the songs that night that made the hairs on my neck stand. To complete the opening four-song introduction was the classic Ok Computer song, L ucky. It was clear at this moment that there were to be many of the old songs played and as per-usual Lucky was one of the first to be played. Lucky is one of those songs that simply grow when played live, the hairs on the neck stand and it feels as though the whole world should begin to cry. It is an absolutely amazing song live, one of the best from any of the gigs I’ve been to. Thom sings he is ‘your superhero’ and to everyone in the park they were just that. Pakt Like Sardines, like Everything In It’s Right Place, is a song meant to be played live. Whereas on record it could be argued to be a bit stale, played live it is far catchier and allows the new Radiohead techno-monster to appear fully. Although it isn’t the best song of their collection it was still impressive enough for Hazz and I to turn to each other and murmur that this was the best gig we had ever been to, and probably the best gig of all time. If we had known what was to come I think we would have fainted and missed it, so it is just as well we were still unprepared. For many, 1995 album, The Bends, remains the bands finest moment. The sixth song on the set-list was to be the first taken from this album. Although many peoples favourite, My Iron Lung had never really appealed to me as much as songs such as Just and Black Star. However, like Morning Bell, the version played at Oxford was simply incredible with Radiohead proving that when they rock they rock harder and louder than anyone else does. People may think that I exaggerate and that I’m saying these versions were amazing to try and make it sound better. Believe me, I’m not. Whether it was the atmosphere that had built or the bands desire to play well for their home crowd that ensured the songs were special is unclear. Either way, there was no doubt that something special was happening. The next song to be played was a bit of a filler, something to just run by the fans in case they r emembered it. Or maybe not. When I had seen them at Warrington, the band hadn’t played Exit Music or Street Spirit, much to my disappointment. Exit Music was the first to be played of the two that night and to see arguably their finest ‘live’ moment myself was incredible. The lights faded to blue, Thom stood alone with his guitar, the organs and church-like sounds built, and the whole sound moved from the quiet resentment of the start to the chilling, bitter ‘we hope that you choke’ line at the end. It is an absolutely stunning song, made even better when performed live, and it will be a long time before I forget the memory of watching that. Following Exit Music came new single Knives Out. Like Optimistic on the Kid A tour, this song was well known by the fans but doesn’t improve when played live from the LP version. It’s a good song but not one of the truly special moments. The next song however, is without a doubt a classic – the best lullaby in the world. Eight songs in and the band struck up their fourth Ok Computer song, No Suprises. Along with Street Spirit, No Suprises arguably features Radiohead’s finest intro to a song. Dedicated to Tony Blair (the line ‘bring down the government, they don’t speak for us’) it was one of so many highlights of the night. The range of music that the band have made had already been made apparent – The National Anthem, My Iron Lung, Pakt Like Sardines and No Suprises all completely different types of song. Ninth song, Dollars And Cents, was probably the only song on the set-list that I would have definitely taken out. It isn’t bad, it just isn’t as good as the rest of the material for me, although many disagree and believe to be the finest moment on Amnesiac. However, I will forgive the band as any feeling that the tempo was being lost was soon quashed. Thom Yorke picked up his red and yellow guitar ( Mr. technical over he re, oh yes) and Hazz asked me what song I thought would be next. Having seen Jools Holland I had a vague recollection of a red and yellow guitar being used for Street Spirit. Amazingly I predicted correctly and like the intro of No Suprises, the classic guitar riff of Street Spirit kicked in. Songs such as that, Exit Music, Lucky, You And Whose Army and How To Disappear Completely demonstrate why so many feel touched by Radiohead. The feeling of watching Street Spirit being played live in front of you was almost surreal and, although there were 40’000 other people present, I felt completely detached from the rest of civilisation. I Might Be Wrong marked the midway stage of the set and even if Radiohead had packed up then I don’t think too many would have complained due to the high quality of the first hour. The song that has grown on me most from Amnesiac, I Might Be Wrong is fast developing into a classic for fans, along the lines of songs such as My Iron Lung and The National Anthem. It becomes darker yet more morose live, with the slow ending that is so good on the album, being quickened slightly yet not losing it’s power. Pyramid Song, first single to be lifted from Amnesiac, marked the beginning of the four-song ending to the official main part of the set. How people can accuse the band of being pretentious or having lost sight of how to make a decent tune, after hearing this song, staggers me. The weather had started to fit the atmosphere perfectly, with the first drops of what was to become a storm later in the evening beginning to fall. One classic replaced another, with arguably the best song in Radiohead’s collection following on from Pyramid Song. Paranoid Android is a beast of a song. Suprisingly, it doesn’t sound too much different played live than it does on CD – credit to the production team – yet the song is still amazing to see being performed in front of you. The slow, morose ‘rain down’ ; section followed by Jonny Greenwood’s incredible guitar playing were the highlight of the song, with the only complaint being that it didn’t rain enough during that period. So obviously Radiohead aren’t perfect – they don’t control the weather like Travis do. The closing two songs of the main set-list have firmly become a double-combo move by Radiohead of electronic insanity. First up, comes Idioteque, now firmly a fans favourite, with its dance like beat and forlorn, popular-phrases lyrics such as ‘women and children first, ice age coming’. This song and the following one, Everything In It’s Right Place, provided Thom Yorke with the best moments of the night to test out his funky dancing. During Everything In It’s Right Place, he acted as a conductor to the audience and it is clear now that Yorke in particular is now far more comfortable in coping with the pressure of leading the band. It was clear during the whole night that the band were now firmly relaxed and content to play songs for both themselves and the fans. Whereas for a period they were probably discontent with all of their old music, they now seem to appreciate it as much as the new stuff. Everyone new the band would come back for the first encore, so as the rain began to build there was an increased sense of expectancy. So far the gig had been as good as it possibly could have been. The best I had been to, fifty times better than the previous time I had seen them play. Although the main section had been good, the last seven songs arguably made up the best 40 minutes of my life. When they came back out I had a fair idea what they would probably play. I knew Karma Police, How To Disappear Completely, Talk Show Host and The Bends would feature as they had in all the other gigs they had been playing. The first song to be played however, was a complete surprise. After they had played Exit Music and Street Spirit, I firmly believed that Fake Pl astic Trees would no be getting an airing. For some reason I had this absolutely certain in my mind as I had never seen a set-list containing all three. My foresight proved to be wrong and the first song of the first encore was the classic from The Bends. One of the most popular moments of the night with most of the crowd, the ending in particular was fitting – ‘I can’t help the feeling, gonna blow through the ceiling’. One crowd favourite turned into another, as the introduction to Karma Police (one of the most recognisable to any Radiohead fan) started up. Although I would never rate it as my favourite Radiohead song, there is something about it that ensures every nerve in your body is touched when it is played live. Looking at the sky, that was beginning to throw all of the water in the world down, singing along to ‘for a minute there I lost myself’ seemed so apt. Everyone in the park was losing themselves for a few hours and having the trip of a lifetime doing it – who needs drugs? The third song of the first encore was one of the moments I had anticipated the most. You And Whose Army is probably my favourite song on Amnesiac and although I had heard it at Warrington I was not familiar with it then. In Oxford, it was as superb as it is on record and even Hazz decided it was amazing, whereas he had previously accused the song of being boring! Some people. The best encore I’ve ever witnessed continued getting better when Yorke started up How To Disappear Completely. The rain by this time was absolutely lashing down, much to the disgust of Hazz who was now effectively blinded by it, and the amusement of me. How To Disappear Completely is a song that reminds me of many things, especially the line ‘I’m not here, this isn’t happening’ and looking up at the rain falling down it did feel as if I wasn’t there – the feeling was surreal and unlike any other moment at another gig. A lthough people may disbelieve it, there is no doubt that the 7th of June 2001 in South Park was more a life changing, or life defining moment, than simply a musical experience. As is their custom, Radiohead came back out for their second encore, and by this time the rain was absolutely pissing it down. My hair dye might not have been amused and Hazz was most displeased but I had one of the most enjoyable ten minutes I have ever had. First song to be played was Talk Show Host. This is where the hardcore Radiohead fans got separated out from the average fan. Half the crowd went ballistic, in recognition of the bands finest B-Side and song from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, whilst half were like ‘oooh this is quite good, what is it?’. The range of people attending was quite weird. One of my other mates at the gig said he heard someone ask what My Iron Lung was. Fool. So Talk Show Host came and went before The Bends closed the second, and what I thought would be the final encore of the night. For those two songs I simply stared into the rain, laughing manically as Hazz stood unamused by the side of me. ‘Where do we go from here, the words are coming out all weird’ indeed. By the end of the gig we were talking gibberish and walking in a dazed manner so the opening line of the song seemed quite fitting. The band left and I thought they wouldn’t return as Thom had spent a good minute or so thanking everyone. So somewhat prematurely we headed to the side, but as we gradually moved, a big cheer came up and they returned. Obviously we were ‘well chuffed’ and I like many expected Motion Picture Soundtrack to see us off – we were to be correct as Thom said ‘here’s a song for you to all go home to’ and he and Colin started the song. The next five minutes were as unpredictable as they were jaw dropping and life changing. The keyboard broke prompting Yorke to declare ‘ah bugger, ist kaput yes?’ before announcing he had a better idea and called for the rest of the band. I was expecting something like Just, which had been notably absent from the set-list, and Yorke’s statement that this was ‘an old one’ further fuelled this. The next moment was completely surreal. I hadn’t expected Creep as Radiohead hadn’t played it for four years and seemed unlikely to ever do so again. When the opening chords started up I still didn’t click, until Hazz looked at me and screamed in his high pitch camp manner – ‘It’s creep!!!’. We then both proceeded to have a massive bear hug amidst going absolutely mental, as the whole crowd surged about ten feet forward and the whole crowd began to mosh. It was pissing it down, it was mental, and it was beautiful, brilliant, amazing and more. Something special had happened and we had witnessed it. When we later found our friends at the end of the gig we were all gibbering wrecks. My friend Johnny picked me up and ran away somewhere in the quicksand mud, and all we could say was ‘f**k me!’. Although I’ve tried to stress how incredible the night was, I don’t think anyone could understand or appreciate its significance unless they were there themselves. Thank you Radiohead for existing and thank you very much for 7th June 2001. SETLIST (courtesy of www.ateaseweb.com) 01 national anthem 02 airbag 03 morning bell 04 lucky 05 packt like sardines in a crushd tin box 05 my iron lung 06 exit music (for a film) 07 knives out 08 no surprises 09 dollars and cents 10 street spirit 11 i might be wrong 12 pyramid song 13 paranoid android 14 idioteque 15 everything in it's right place 16 fake plastic trees 17 karma police 18 you and whose army 19 how to disappear 20 talk show host 21 the bends 22 creep [the intro of 'motion picture soundtrack ' was played, but then they played creep instead]
Not only do Radiohead produce the best music of their generation – they produce the best videos, documentaries and live gig footage of the last decade as well. Those Oxford swines want it all. They’ll want to be popes next. Having recently bought the ‘Live at the Astoria’ video I now feel I am in a position to judge all three, starting with the aforementioned ‘Live at the Astoria’. Live at the Astoria ---------------------------- Recorded in 1994, shortly before the release of The Bends, Radiohead’s only live-gig video release to date features the majority of debut album Pablo Honey as well as several from their follow up LP. Watching it now seems strange – people moshing to Radiohead just doesn’t seem right following the last three albums. However, there is no doubt that the songs from Pablo Honey were worthy of moshing, as they grew into snarling beasts live. Whereas on Pablo Honey songs such as Prove Yourself were fairly gentle and similar to the quieter moments on The Bends, such as Nice Dream, played live they grow and become frenzied fits of guitar solos, especially from Jonny Greenwood. Songs such as You, Ripcord and, of course, Creep and Anyone Can Play Guitar do not seem out of place amidst Bends’ classics such as My Iron Lung and Black Star. The audience that night may seem amusing to a watcher now – they go mad for the Pablo Honey songs whilst Thom Yorke has to apologise for playing the new songs such as My Iron Lung, Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit. Bizarre. The recording is really well done, with good timing of camera changes and a good re-production of the atmosphere of the place. The strobe lighting at the end of the gig in particular is absolutely amazing – if you are epileptic then this video is not for you. The band themselves seem more relaxed than they did during any other point until recently. Thom Yorke was still playing rockstar and was prep ared to play songs such as the now oft-slated Pop Is Dead. For anyone who liked the early Radiohead days, where the band were simply rock at its best, then this video is for them. I like all the Radiohead music from Pablo Honey to Amnesiac and this video probably contains the best versions I’ve got of the Pablo Honey songs. 7 Television Commercials ------------------------- Without a doubt, those who own The Bends and Ok Computer should also own 7 Television Commercials. Made up of the seven videos that accompanied the singles lifted from both albums, this video features some of the finest music videos of the last ten years – from the beauty of Street Spirit to the insanity of Paranoid Android and the cleverness of Just. Paranoid Android – The entire film is animation, following the day of one small boy. There are moments where a woman comes from a tree and flashes to the boy and his friend who in turn go to their waiting cab. She calls them back and they begrudgingly give her some cash. At other moments the boy is pointed at and laughed at in a bar before the bar-woman pours a drink over his head. Coincidentally, the line ‘kicking squealing Gucci little piggy’ was a reference to a woman who knocked a drink on Yorke in a bar in America. The director of the video would have had no idea about this when making it as he only had access to the lyrics and music and had no background information. At the end of the video the boy is sitting on a lamppost with a fat man attempting to chop him down from there. An angel comes in a helicopter and rescues the boy and while they go and play table tennis, the man chops his limbs off and falls in a river. Is really strange yet really good. Street Spirit – Absolutely stunning piece, filmed in black and white with lots of speeding up and slowing down of movements. Yorke falls in slow motion from the top of a caravan and smashes mirrors, Phil and Jonny jump ar ound a lot. It goes with the song perfectly and helps complete one of the finest releases of all time – great song, great b-sides (Bishops Robes and Talkshow Host) and a great video. Great stuff. No Suprises – Featuring Thom Yorke’s head in a tank gradually filling with water, the video again goes extremely well with the song. Although it looks as though he keeps his breath for about a minute, the music was in fact speeded up during the part where he was fully underwater. Karma Police – This time Thom Yorke is in the back of a car that’s being self-driven in pursuit of a man running down the road. After catching the man, the car comes to a sticky end as he lights a match and drops it. However, fast and far the car goes it is now doomed to blow up. Interesting fact of this video is that the producers pumped carbon monoxide into the back of the car where Thom was, without his knowledge, so it isn’t him wallowing in self-pity – he is actually drugged in the video! Just – One of the cleverest videos, and most conventional, on the collection. Tells the story of a man lying in the middle of the road, with members of the public all around him trying to get him to say what is wrong. At the climax of the song, he finally decides that he will tell them, and as the band look down from a room above, all the other people spread themselves out on the ground. Supposedly lip-readers have said the man revealed ‘I like banana yogurt’, but in reality there isn’t actually a ‘thing’ that is said. High And Dry (US Version) – Probably my least favourite of the Radiohead videos I have seen, it features the band in a café in middle America with different people singing along to the song. Bit low budget, bit low quality. Fake Plastic Trees – Similar video to that of Pulp’s Common People, released in the same year, in that the band members are being pus hed around in shopping trolleys. This video is one of the more amusing Radiohead moments (along with Paranoid Android and Knives Out). Meeting People Is Easy --------------------------- The documentary of Radiohead’s Ok Computer tour is probably the most talked about video in their collection. Although the band now say that it depicts a scene worse than it actually was, Meeting People Is Easy shows the problems the band had in dealing with success, particularly frontman Thom Yorke. The video is appealing for two main reasons for fans. Firstly it has an incredible amount of quality live footage of the tour, including many new songs for it’s time and a few that are still unreleased. Songs such as How To Disappear Completely, Life In A Glasshouse and the as-yet unreleased Big Ideas (Neut) and Big Boots (Man-O-War) are all present along with B-sides such as Palo Alto and album tracks such as Lucky, Creep and Climbing Up The Walls. Secondly, it gives a valuable insight into the mental state of the band during the years running into Kid A and Amnesiac and it shows how it would have been impossible for the band to have simply reproduced another Ok Computer-like album. If they had done then the result would have been stale instead of the fresh music in songs such as Idioteque, The National Anthem, Like Spinning Plates and I Might Be Wrong. At one point in the video you hear Thom Yorke telling Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien that he feels they might be better ‘getting out when the going’s good’. The feeling of the documentary is similar to that of the latest two albums – claustrophobic, nauseous, paranoid and a general feeling that Yorke in particular wants to make his music but not have success.
It’s become as fashionable to dislike Travis as it has to like them. The catchier one of their songs is, the more it will be dismissed as pop rubbish. If people actually listened to the music without assuming prejudice against the band because of their general appeal, then they would realise Travis are popular because they make excellent music. The Invisible Band is arguably their finest record to date, with more warmth and musical depth than their previous two albums, Good Feeling and their breakthrough lp The Man Who. First single Sing is the first song on this collection of songs (hey, I’ve just created a new tongue twister!) and just like Writing To Reach You from The Man Who, it is their ‘poppiest’ moment. It’s a good song; catchy from the start but like the aforementioned Writing To Reach You on The Man Who it isn’t one that will grow on you and after time is simply a good intro to an excellent album. Dear Diary, track number two, is a far better indication of Travis’ musical ability and Fran Healey’s songwriting abilities. Just under three minutes long it reminds me of the music from the film To Kill A Mockingbird. It is one of the few songs on the album that sounds like Radiohead musically and is definitely one for the shoe-gazers. Like The Man Who, The Invisible Band is perfectly structured and just as The Fear brought the listener down on The Man Who, Dear Diary tones down the mood on The Invisible Band. Track 3 is arguably Travis’ finest yet. Instantly catchy but one that will not bore after a while it is close in style to much of the bands’ material from the first album – almost a combination of say U16 Girls and Driftwood. Side will be the next single from the band and should be their first number one – a good guitar rhythm reminiscent of REM mixed with soaring vocals from Healy in the chorus make this one of the standout tracks. When the band perfom it live, it grows even more – being quicker and more passionate – but the album version is still a fine piece. Pipe Dreams, track 4, was nearly left off the album as producer Nigel Godrich didn’t like it but in my opinion it is one of the finest songs on the album. Similar in style to The Last Laugh Of The Laughter from The Man Who and many of the bands B-Sides, it is a good jangly folk song. Some bands (not naming names Stereophonics and Oasis… oooh bugger) now sound boring and uninventive due to the boring three/four chord structure of a song. Somehow Travis avoid this – the songs are simple but yet are amazingly brilliant; the verse-chorus-verse structure working as well as it did before without becoming tedious. A lot of the credit for this must go to Nigel Godrich (the finest producer around – Radiohead and Travis are Britain’s leading bands currently) for ensuring the same old sound, sounds, well, different. Flowers In The Window will probably be most peoples highlight off the album. Written for his girlfriend, it is basically about having children. It’s one of the Travis ‘everything’s all right, smile’ moments – very akin to driftwood in style and sound. Nearly didn’t make it on to the album because it sounded almost too ‘poppy’ I’m glad it has – The Beatles made a hell of a lot of pop music and this has a lot of the Beatles’ sound to it without sounding like a complete rip off of them. This is likely to be a single and will probably be the most played song of October/November if it is released. The track that follows is one of my favourites on the album and one that saved the process of The Invisible Band’s making (the band thought they were crap and everything was going wrong until Fran played this during a soundcheck and recordings were kickstarted). The Cage is similar to early B-Side ‘20’ in that it is Fran Healey and an acoustic gu itar. At times it feels he could destroy anything with just his guitar - even an army of squirrels with flutes. Ok the lyrics are a bit corny – ‘And then this bird just flew away, she was never meant to stay’, but Healey’s voice is perfectly suited to the song and it is one of the emotional highpoints of the album. What makes this song standout however is again the backdrop music created by Nigel Godrich. The little chimes and sounds add so much depth to the music that it doesn’t grate like much of Travis’ contemporaries music does (the phonics, oas…). The seventh song on the album is one of the bands oldest songs, written around 1996. This is good evidence to put forward to one of the ‘old’ Travis fans who accuse them of selling out – much of the material on The Man Who and The Invisible Band is older than that on Good Feeling. Safe is basically a safe song – a good album track, good lyrics, good music but not a song that stands out as much as say The Cage. However, it is better than many tracks on The Man Who such as The Fear and The Last Laugh Of The Laughter, and that is probably the key as to why The Invisible Band is better than The Man Who. It has more songs that could be released as singles (on The Man Who there were no songs unreleased that you felt should’ve been) for example Side, Pipe Dreams, Flowers In The Window, The Cage and Safe would all be good singles. The second half of the album is not as commercially appealing as the first. Follow The Light sees Healey reaching particularly high notes and proves he is one of the best vocalists around at the moment. This is probably the last in the line of songs which would probably do well if released to the general public as the second half of the album is not as commercially appealing as the first. The Last Train is probably the darkest moment on the album – the intro sounds very similar to much of Coldplay̵ 7;s music on their album Parachutes. It’s only when listening to it that you actually realise it is a really good song. Most people wont recall it as a highlight but it is one of the bands natural moments – similar to She’s So Strange off The Man Who. Lyrically Healey is at his darkest – ‘I’m gonna buy a gun, gonna shoot everything, everyone’. It does have a bit too much Scooby Doo wails towards the ends but nearly every band resorts to this. Another bonus of this song is that it name-checks Che Guevara – shoot the capitalist scum, oh yes. Afterglow and Indefinitely have seldom been played live during the gigs before The Invisible Band was released but both are really good songs (there is no weak song on the album). Afterglow reminds me somewhat of a slow Britpop song – I can’t place what it reminds me of but it does have a sound that seems familiar. Unfortunately you can picture it being played by two yuppies as they sit over a candle-lit meal. This is why a lot of people don’t like Travis but it’s not their fault that such inbreeds like them so don’t be prejudice against it! Indefinitely is again a hallmark of some of Travis’ early b-sides and again demonstrates that Fran Healey is one of the finest songwriters of his generation. Like Afterglow it has a soft, gradual build up before blooming into layers of musical depth (similar to The Man Who’s Slide Show) and then slowing down before fading out. It is another sign that even Travis fillers are class songs and that Fran Healey is now incapable of writing a bad song. Indefinitely would have been the perfect album closer if it hadn’t have been for The Humpty Dumpty Lovesong – the most musically layered song yet in the Travis catalogue. One of Healey’s best vocals yet, it again starts off slowly before building into a full orchestral piece. This is as good a take on a nursery rhyme as there can be. It is probably also the highlight for the Travis fans who would actually go and see them because of their musical ability and not because they are ‘cool’ or because Travis is ‘fit’ (btw if any of you still don’t know – there isn’t a bloke called Tra… ah feck it). Humpty Dumpty is Travis at their most beautiful and is the perfect ending to another fine album from the Scottish lads. Without a doubt the album will sell millions and make the band a fortune. For this they will be lambasted for selling out and being popular. Strange how their music is similar to the Beatles without being a rip off and yet one band is hailed as the best ever with every person in the world owning their records and paying homage to them, whilst the other is criticised for being pop. Strange indeed…
Amnesiac was created during the same sessions as its slightly older sibling, Kid A. Again, many have dismissed it before listening to it. Again, many have hailed it as a masterpiece from the most innovative rock band around. Again, many have accused the band of being pretentious. Again, many have stated they are geniuses. I am one of those who believe the work to be fantastic and would like to dismiss the notion that the band are pretentious – the band could have made another version of The Bends or Ok Computer and sold millions. Instead they made the music they wanted to despite knowing that they wouldn’t sell as many LP’s. For some reason they are then regarded as arrogant and pretentious. Ok there are some poor quality moments in their experiments (ie Treefingers on Kid A) but generally there has been some outstanding work. Opening track on Amnesiac is Pakt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box (yes that’s the correct spelling). Similar in style to Kid A opener, Everything In Its Right Place, it has a steady drum and guitar loop with repeated lyrics from Thom Yorke telling us he is ‘a reasonable man, get off my case’. Similarily to Everything In Its Right Place, this is a song that grows when performed live but it is still a quality introduction to the album – arguably their best opening song for an album; in my opinion better then either Airbag from Ok Computer and Planet Telex from The Bends. It is one of the new Radiohead songs that sticks in your mind (like Idioteque, I Might Be Wrong and The National Anthem) so that you often find yourself humming it even though it wouldn’t be classed as a standout track. Track 2 should be familiar to most people as it was the first single taken from the album. Without a doubt it is one of the highlights of the album and has the unearthly feel of some of Ok Computers highpoints. Pyramid Song is a song about suicide and contains some of the bands most haunting lyrics – ; ‘I jumped in a river and what did I see, black-eyed angels swam with me, a moon full of stars and astral cars’. It is moments like this that propel Radiohead above any other band of their generation. If you saw this performed on Top Of The Pops you would have seen how the crowd were mesmerised. It is a stunning song and one of the best in their catalogue. Like REM’s Everybody Hurts, you only appreciate how good it is when you listen to it. The third installment on Amnesiac, Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors, is one of the bands most experimental moments on the album and sandwiched between the more conventional Pyramid Song and You And Whose Army, it works well. It has a strange percussion loop with Thom Yorke’s distorted, computerised voice talking about ‘doors that open, and doors that close’ before saying there are trapdoors, at which moment the floor of the song seems to open up and the listener can easily imagine falling through the aforementioned trapdoor. It isn’t a classic song but it isn’t just a filler – the band could easily have put on a song like Cuttooth (Knives Out B-side) that is a more conventional song, but instead chose to promote their more experimental work to a wider audience. Instead of being criticised, I think that the band should be applauded for taking these risks – give me Pull/Pulk above U2’s Beautiful Day every time. You And Whose Army is a classic – one of the finest Radiohead songs of all time and one of Yorke’s most inspired vocals. A satirical outburst at, supposedly, Tony Blair, I believe it is more a reaction to the general public and media’s reaction to the band – you can have a go at us but we will still be here etc. A slow gradual start to the song builds up into a full band piece by the end and although the song was meant to be tongue in cheek, it does sound threatening and haunting. You And Whose Army is another of the songs that sound amazing live and was one of the highlights in the recent South Park gig where it was in the encore, sandwiched between Karma Police and Fake Plastic Trees. It was arguably the strongest of the three songs and easily dismisses the notion that the bands best days are behind them. I Might Be Wrong was the first single to be released in America and probably contains Radiohead’s most catchy guitar riff, sounding as if it should belong in the late sixties. This is probably the song that grows on the listener most – on first and second listen it sounds fairly ordinary but, especially after seeing it live, it grows into a dark monster akin to say The National Anthem yet not as paranoid. For most people this, along with Knives Out will be the highlight of the album. The added bonus of the song is the last section where it suddenly mellows (akin to recent B-side, Trans-Atlantic Drawl) into a slower guitar solo before building up again, sounding similar to some of the Chili Peppers’ chilled out material. Knives Out, the current single, is one of the most conventional tracks (along with Kid A’s Optimistic) of Radiohead’s recent work. Supposedly about cannabilism it again sounds like a message to the music media that the old Radiohead are not coming back – ‘look into my eyes, it’s the only way you know I’m telling you the truth’. Like Optimistic it is a good song but one that the band is likely to tire from in the future – it is good but not up there for me with songs such as Fake Plastic Trees, Exit Music, How To Disappear Completely or You And Whose Army. Track 7 is the much discussed reworking of Kid A’s Morning Bell. I think I’m the only person who prefers this version from its predecessor, as I really like the organ/piano haunting feel of the Amnesiac version. It was one of the few songs I never really got into on Kid A but now I think it is a really good piece and one of the highlights of the recent material. The subject matter is divorce and I think both the music and vocals on Amnesiac-Morning Bell are more fitting than the Kid A-Morning Bell – it has an almost lullaby feel to it, similar to that in No Suprises. Dollars And Cents is probably my least favourite song on the album, sounding to me like a poor mans National Anthem. I do prefer the album version to the live one, which is slightly faster, but it sounds too similar to I Might Be Wrong without the dark nature of the latter. However, most of the people I know feel this is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Listening to it now, it is a good song, but it is not one that stands out and grabs my attention. Still, unlike In Limbo on Kid A, I do feel it is worthy of being on the album and finishes the four-song middle core of the album (of I Might Be Wrong, Knives Out, Morning Bell and Dollars And Cents) quite well. Hunting Bears is the instrumental on the album and will be dismissed as many as a bit of a waste of space. It is true that it may have been better being reserved as a B-Side with say Fog (aka Alligators In New York Sewers – B-side to Knives Out and a superb song akin to Motion Picture Soundtrack crossed with Like Spinning Plates) replacing it on Amnesiac, but it is a better instrumental than Kid A’s Treefingers. Simply Thom Yorke playing Spanish guitar it is a nice barrier between the middle section of the LP and the final two songs. Personally, I feel that Like Spinning Plates and Life In A Glasshouse are the strongest pair of songs at the end of a Radiohead LP to date. Like Spinning Plates sees Radiohead at their experimental best. Thom Yorke sang the line ‘this just feels like spinning plates’ and then it was reversed before being cut up so basically read ‘siht tsuj sleef ekil gninnips setalp’, if you get me. Thom Yorke then learnt to sing these backwards before singing it forwards. The sound is absol utely incredible and suprisingly touching considering the lyrics are simply saying the music sounds like spinning plates, which it does. The final track sees Radiohead doing jazz, with the aid of Humphrey Lyttleton. It is one of the few Radiohead lovesongs of recent times, and for me is one of the highlights of the album. Many hate it and its jazz elements but which other rock band have a member, like Radiohead do in Jonny Greenwood, that can write jazz arrangements such as this. The ending of this song in particular stands out for me, and it is the perfect ending to a classic album. Just as Motion Picture Soundtrack left the listener on a hopeful note, Life In A Glasshouse suggests to the listener that the old Radiohead song style may return in conjuction with their experimental side. Just as the playing of Creep in Oxford and Yorkes admission that he misses guitar suggest an olive branch may well be held out to the old fans, I think Life In A Glasshouse does too. Amnesiac completes the twin album release of Radiohead’s material following the success of Ok Computer that led to a breakdown for Thom Yorke and for me has firmly placed them far above any band of their kind in the world. It is a stunning LP and will be appreciated by those who aren’t short-sighted enough to believe Whats The Story Morning Glory was the greatest album of the nineties.
Unlike many, I thought that R.E.M.'s last album, 1998's 'Up', was generally a success. Perhaps it had a few tracks too many but it had classic moments such as 'At My Most Beautiful'. However, commercially it wasn't a success and Warner Brothers must have been wondering if their $80 million 5 album deal was going to be worth it. 'Reveal' will surely reassure them, mixing more traditional R.E.M. moments, such as Imitation Of Life, with experimental but still commercially acceptable moments such as Saturn Return. After continuous listening for 2 days I can recognise why this will be seen as the best R.E.M. offering since 'Automatic For The People' - there are no obviously weak songs, and many classics. In essence it is like a mix of 'Up' and 'Automatic For The People' and they finally seem settled with the fact that Bill Berry is absent. THE LIFTING A possible future single, The Lifting has been described by Michael Stipe as being a 'prequel to 'Up's' Daysleeper. Typically R.E.M. it is a good album track which grows on the listener but wont standout as anything special. A good song to start the album as it highlights the general 'spring-like' feeling of the album. Similar to... 'Up' Key lyrics... 'Good morning and how are you? The weather's fine, the sky is blue - It's perfect for our seminar...' Best moment... Double repetition of chorus near the end of the song - natural sounding and a rousing end to the first track. I'VE BEEN HIGH One of the best moments on the album particulary in regards to Stipe's vocals. Stipe sounds like a person who is reflecting back on events that havent gone right and the music follows his voice perfectly. Similar to... A cross between 'Up's' At My Most Beautiful and 'New Adventures' Be Mine. Key lyrics... 'Close my eyes so I can see, Ma ke my make-believe believe in me'. Best Moment... mid song, Stipe's vocals soar even higher during the mini verse of 'so I dive into a pool so cool and deep that if I sink I sink and when I swim I climb so high'. ALL THE WAY TO RENO A good track but one that could have been even better but for two things. Firstly, the start is almost identical to The Lifting. Secondly, their is one amazing chorus but this isnt repeated at the end and it leaves the song on somewhat of a damp squib. Still a good, typical R.E.M. song and a future single. Similar to... A slower Man On The Moon Key lyrics... hmmm has to be 'you know who you are, you're gonna be a star' Best moment... Again Stipe goes higher in the best chorus of the song. SHE JUST WANTS TO BE Traditional, slower R.E.M. song more akin to tracks from 'Green', 'Out Of Time' and 'Automatic For The People'. Starts off with just acoustic and bass it very much harks back to their folk days. One of their best traditional songs for a while. Similar to... World Leader Pretend from 'Green', Half A World Away from 'Out Of Time' and Monty... from 'Automatic...' Key Lyrics... last verse starting 'it's not like if angels could truly look down...' Best Moment... the introduction DISAPPEAR Hmmm have forgotten how this song goes at the moment which is a bit of a bugger. Strange as well, as I prefer this to some of the other tracks that dont immediately standout. No real point in doing the 'sounds like' thing but it is quite effects laden and is most similar to work on 'Up'. SATURN RETURN Probably the most experimental track on the album, it is like a mature Perfect Circle from 'Murmur'. Stipe again provides an excellent vocal and the lyrics are some of the best on the album - referring, I believe, to an attempted suic ide attempt and how it is easy to try but hard to succeed. Some people wont like this song, others will love it and I think I fall into the latter category. Similar to... Perfect Circle Key Lyrics... 'you found the ladder in the pattern of your wrist' - scars perhaps? Best Moment... the ending - one of the best moments on the album. BEAT A DRUM A track that possibly suffers from over production. Having heard the demo it may have been better to have left it bare in a similar fashion to At My Most Beautiful. Still, one of the highlights of the album and completes a good pair of piano-led songs after Saturn Return. Similar to... At My Most Beautiful Key Lyrics... 'This is all I want it's all I need'. Best Moment... The instrumental break near the end of the song. IMITATION OF LIFE The typical R.E.M. song on the album and the obvious first single. Catchy and not out of place It's like Shiny Happy People on 'Out Of Time' but better. Definately the happiest song on the track - one that is possible to dance to. Similar to... The Great Beyond Key Lyrics... 'this lightening storm, this tidal wave, this avalanche, I'm not afraid, c'mon, c'mon, no on can see me cry'. Best Moment... the chorus SUMMER TURNS TO HIGH Along with Beachball it is R.E.M.'s 'let's be the Beach Boys' time. A good album song but nothing more, it doesnt rate as highly as their other Beach Boy moments. Similar to... The Beach Boys Key Lyrics... 'someone put a pox on me, I'll spit in their eye'. what???? Best Moment... can't really define a particular moment. CHORUS AND THE RING Like She Just Wants To Be, R.E.M. are still capable of good folk music and this sounds like an Irish jaunt. Probably the song that would have fitted best on 'Out Of Time' and a definate grower. Similar to... Half A World Away, I Remember California ('Green') Key Lyrics... 'Thats when the insults start to sting, you can't remember anything'. Best Moment... Probably doesn't have one. Consistent throughout. I'LL TAKE THE RAIN Possibly their finest moment. Has been described as a classic Country Feedback and it doesn't disappoint. From the first notes it is clear this will be the epic and it is arguably the finest lyrics penned by the group since Nightswimming. Truly stunning moment and without doubt the highlight of the album. Similar to... Country Feedback/Everybody Hurts/Strange Currencies ('Monster') Key Lyrics... The chorus Best Moment... Everything BEACHBALL Suprisingly the last song considering the piece that preceded it and not one of the highlights of the album. However, it is still a good closure to the album, and just as The Lifitng welcomed the listener into the album, so Beachball sends them on their way telling them they'll 'do fine'. Similar to... Summer Turns To High Key Lyrics... 'You'll do fine...' Best Moment... Can't think of one Hopefully I've given you some idea of what the album is like and after I've heard it more I will probably change my opinion. Still it is the best album of the year so far and has set the mark for Radiohead, Travis and any other pretenders who will challenge for the years best album.
Do you like bread? I've got a french loaf! *boof* *runs off* byeeeeee, i love you!!! Well if that isn't familiar to you then it should be. Taken from Izzard's 'Definite Article' video, it is one of many (and i mean many) highlights. This being the only Izzard area on Dooyoo i thought it was right that i should pay homage to the king of comedy here. He has written mine and my friends bible and made James Mason our god. I first got into, pardon the unintended pun, Eddie Izzard when I saw the video 'Glorious - still my favourite of his stand up shows. It is a classic stand up show and demonstrates a talent that no other stand up I have seen posesses. Although it is difficult to recount in words as a lot of his comedy is through mime (for example, the punch drunk baboon that is caught in a mime of a man sawing a plank of wood, but is, in fact, punching a baboon - :D) there is still plenty that can be conveyed in this review from this video. His general them for this live performance was, firstly, the old testament (one with long beards, 'ooh burning bush....ah shit, beard on fire!!! oooh a goatee!!) and then the new testament (a short beard testament. However, somehow he manages to extend the monologue into areas such as beekeepers (im covered in beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!!!! hellllllllllllllllllllllp! im covered in beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! arghhhhhhhhhh!) and the makers of toasters and showers - 'there are two positions in the shower. one position is this (acts like a safebreaker) and the other position is this (quickly steps back as though scalded) argggggghhhhhhh!!!! stop using taps! everyone in west london stop using taps! (then looks 'around the shower curtain' at someone who seems to be washing their hands) hey! stop using taps im in the shower!' - the other person responds - 'im not using taps. im letting a mouse run over my hands. we need a motor for the arc and the mouse is going to act as a generator.' You have to see it to truly appreciate. Go out and buy it you should do! But there are so many more classic moments. Some serious moments are juxtasuposed amongst the humour - references to the death of his mother, grandmother and other events such as him getting involved in a fight. By fight he meant he was beaten up for wearing make up. However, even this is made amusing as he describes how the fight happened - 'They were coming up to me and going "ooh tracey!" for some reason i started doing michael caine impressions; "my name is not tracey" and "look your a big lad but you got no brain so keep you f*cking mouth shut". Maybe no one else is finding this funny but I am so I will continue. The classic scenes in Glorious have to be moments such as when Achilles discovers he has an achilles heel - 'what an irony!' - 'So I'm called Achilles and I have an achilles heel too! Oh mum I'll be a laughing stock!' Another fine example is the birthday of the baby jeez when the three wise men arrived with their gifts and jesus responds, 'thankyou. and for my birhtday?' the kings - 'oh its christmas and your birthday?!!? argh your the first one! (turning to mary and joseph) are there any late night shops here?' mary and joseph tell them of a late night petrol station and they return with a diet coke, 20 cigarettes and a sack of charcoal. Quite possibly the finest moment is the last scene, when he tells the audience of his experiences with computers. lines such as 'cannot access printer?!!? what do you mean!!? i can access printer! why cant you!?!? *points the imaginery screen at the imaginery printer* its here!' I wont reveal anymore of that scene as it may ruin it. Dont think Ive ruined the video though as every line is a classic. I even managed to get a quote of his in my history essay today - 'all archaeologists find is a series of small walls' :) Although I am less familiar with his other works there are still amazingly funny and interesting. 'Dressed To Kill', live on Alcatraz, has two of the funniest scenes ever - one being the scene of a teenage Izzard chatting up girls (see my introduction) by saying how he has legs and the other with a scene about squirrels. With the squirrels he explains how they sometimes stop when eating nuts and have the expression which says 'did i leave the gas on?'. He then considers this, looks bemused, laughs and goes 'no! im a f*cking squirrel!' Pure, unadulterated sex in comedy - if only orgasms, money and everything was that good. it is truly unbelievably funny when you see it. As for the teenage chat up line - it's become funnier for me as I used it when pished one night as a joke. It worked. Sad really but still immensly funny :D The last of his three live shows I've seen is 'Definite Article' with the highlight being the explanation of Pavlov's cat theory. He starts by explaining Pavlov's dog theory and we are told how Pavlov's first name is Gareth and that he is Welsh. Pavlov we hear won the nobel cats prize for dogs with his experiment. However, no one published Pavlovs cat theory. All in a welsh accent this is how it goes - day 1 - ring bell...cat f*cks off. very disappointing. day 2 - ring bell...cat says he's eaten earlier. very disappointing day 3 - ring bell...cat answers door! very disappointing day 4 - go to ring bell but cat has removed batteries! very disappointing. final day, day 5 - replace batteries and go to ring bell. cat puts paw on bell. cat rings own bell! I eat food. ABSOLUTELY FU*CKING HILARIOUS! if you havent laughed once then either you havent seen it (in which case buy it) or have no sense of humour. As well as these three shows Izzard was fantastic a few years ago as a fill in on Have I Got News For You and has taken over Channel 4 for an entire evening before. Without a doubt our best stand up, I hope you will go buy his stuff and conform to the jam bible with gods 'simon the god of hairdo's' and 'jeff the god of biscuits'. Well done if you got this far down :) I have tried in this review to give an example of his humour so as to try and make you buy this stuff (in a way the point of dooyoo). Hope it makes you laugh as much as it did me recalling it. (on one point - I have edited out swear words but to an extent i feel this shouldnt be neccessary. kids know what f*ck stands for and it is only a word - far less dangerous than writing an anti-european or pro-sun article im sure)
Kid A was the first of Radiohead’s unorthodox, often guitar-free, albums to be released. It was hailed as either brilliant or pretentious. There is no doubting that it takes longer for the best of Kid A, such as The National Anthem and Idioteque, to capture the listeners mind as songs such as Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit from The Bends did. However, if the listener does play it more than 3 times then the quality of the music will suppress any doubts held. Adventurous and enthralling, Kid A is probably the most important album of the bands catalogue, not that this necessarily makes it the best. Opening track is one of the new Radiohead songs that is far better performed live than it is on the record. Like the opening track on Amnesiac, it is a catchy and fairly upbeat track, with Yorkes vocals slightly warped and the main line being that taken for the title – ‘everything in its right place’. Like a lot of the new Radiohead material I find some of the lyrics amusing and far away from the presumption that the band are depressing. Lines such as ‘yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon’ are amusing. It is a good song to introduce the new material with and after a while becomes as important to Kid A as songs such as Climbing Up The Walls, High And Dry and I Might Be Wrong are on the other LP’s. Although it isn’t one of the jaw-dropping moments (like Paranoid Android or Life In A Glasshouse) it is an extremely useful album song. Track 2, Kid A, is one of the clearest experimental moments off the recent LP’s. Featuring a nursery rhyme style loop (similar to No Suprises in many aspects) it has heavily distorted vocals from Yorke and would, just like Fitter Happier on Ok Computer, be a fine piece to a soundtrack for a film of George Orwell’s 1984. It isn’t a great track but is worthy of a place on the LP and keeps the early electronic feel of this record going. However, it is no where near the le vel of brilliance demonstrated in track 3. The National Anthem is a beast of a song – the perfect representation of paranoia and depression. It was only whilst listening to this on a come down one occasion that I realised how good it was. The now traditional opener for the band during gigs, the song is now one of the most popular in their catalogue. A heavy, repetitive bass-line with swirling electronic noises in the background, build up for the first few minutes before Yorke’s snarling, frightened vocals come in with the lines ‘everyone, everyone around here’. At the time this would have been written, Yorke was struggling to come to terms with the success of Ok Computer and the song perfectly reflects a nervous breakdown. The horns, according to Yorke are amusing, but to me they perfectly re-create the sound of pandemonium, a feeling Yorke would probably have held during the months after Ok Computer’s release. The song that succeeds The National Anthem couldn’t be more different. Gone is the paranoia and loud, frightened confusion, and in its place arrive tranquility, a sense of rejection and a feeling of hopelessness. How To Disappear Completely is the perfect tranquiliser to The National Anthem. Simply Yorke on acoustic guitar, with Jonny playing an instrument that sounds like, but isn’t, an organ, the song features some of Yorke’s best vocals of all time. It is depressing for those who feel music can depress you, but likewise I also feel it is reassuring and calming. One of the standout tracks on the album, I will never forget them playing it at Oxford, with me looking up at the rain falling down and laughing insanely at my friend because he couldn’t see a thing due to the weather. It also reminds me of walking the walls in Chester last winter in the dark, miserable cold and it was the perfect song to accompany my mood. A classic. Track 5 is the least impressive recording from the sessions t hat yielded Kid A and Amnesiac. Treefingers is not a great instrumental and only fuelled suggestions that the band were pretentious. Songs such as Fog or Cuttooth would have been better selections for the album but one mistake in 22 songs isn’t too bad – and they make the music for themselves not others, which is why the quality is so high. However, following that is probably the most conventional song on the album. Similar to Knives Out, Optimistic will be many peoples favourite off the LP. It features guitars, that sound like guitars and not beached whales, and could arguably even have passed during the bands Pablo Honey days. Audible lyrics, a more conventional rock song and no electric fuzz meant it was a surefire hit with the old Radiohead fans (aka those who only liked The Bends and thought Paranoid Android was too experimental) but already the band have removed it from their set-lists. It’s a good song but, like Knives Out, it isn’t one of the standout tracks in a style such as The National Anthem or How To Disappear Completely. In Limbo is another song, like Kid A, which doesn’t really remain memorable. It isn’t bad, on other artist albums you would probably rate it a standout track, it just isn’t as good as the other tracks present on the album. Featuring a pretty average loop and for Radiohead pretty average lyrics, I would accuse it of being a filler but know how good the B-Sides and unreleased songs are which could have been on the albums, and realise they don’t need to use fillers. Then comes, along with Like Spinning Plates on Amnesiac, Radiohead at their experimental best. Radiohead do funky dance! Idioteque will definitely take most Radiohead fans a few listens to like this song but when it does it becomes one of their greatest moments ever. Played live it grows into another Kid A beast. Lyrically it is one of their finest efforts – repeated sayings like ‘laugh until my head comes off’ and ‘women and children first’ with Yorke sounding like he’s trying to warn the world. Indeed the lines ‘we’re not scaremongering, this is really happening’ are extremely haunting. Beauty often comes from the most suprising sources, and this is a case in point. One of the few songs that may be familiar to people from the album (it was played regularly on MTV) it is one of the standout tracks not only from this LP, but also from their entire collection. Morning Bell, track 9, was never a song I had much time for before the release of Amnesiac and the Amnesiac-Morning Bell, which is my favourite version of the song. The Amnesiac-Morning Bell made me more receptive to the song and at Oxford it was an outstanding performance of it, even though it was the Kid A-Morning Bell. Along with Everything In Its Right Place, this is one of the songs that makes Kid A succeed not only as an experiment but also as an album. It has the outstanding moments such as The National Anthem and Idioteque yet it has enough decent album tracks to propel it higher than your average album. Many have criticised last track, Motion Picture Soundtrack, as being a weak ending to the album, but I think it is the perfect way to close it – leaving a sense of hope with the line ‘and I’ll see you in the next life’. It is one of their most beautiful moments, Yorke singing at his best. How anyone can brand this band pretentious when listening to the simplicity, beauty, honesty and normality of a song like this (lyrics include ‘I think your crazy, baby’ – hardly pretentious and exaggerated) is short sighted to me. It is the last in the four (after National Anthem, How To Disappear Completely and Idioteque) that can be regarded as truly great. Generally this album is a fantastic piece of work. It has areas that aren’t as good as others but there are seven or eight fantastic songs, of which four re ach the highest quality. People shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. It isn’t safe, like Oasis, but it sounds fantastic, unlike Oasis, and long may that continue.
Why is is that novels with birds in the title are so good? I'm currently studying American Literature as part of my degree. With 'The Catcher In The Rye' on my reading list I decided to buy this as part of HMV's 2 for £10 deal. I had seen bits of the film a long time ago and remembered it was excellent. So too is the book and is surprisingly left off both my course reading list and dooyoo's own 'classics' section. The novel is set in a Combine Medical Hospital, under the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched - referred to as Big Nurse throughout the novel. She is very much like George Orwell's Big Brother and this is perhaps the inspiration for this 'Big Nurse' identity. The story is told by american indian, Chief Bromden, known as Chief Broom to the other patients and the staff in the hospital. The Chief is believed to be deaf and dumb but this is just his pretence and he can overhear all the harsh realities that take place in the institution. The ward that Nurse Ratched runs is harsh. Most patients are not committed and don't appear that insane. The ward is split between Acutes (who can talk and move around etc) and Chronics (those who have severe problems). All the patients are pretty scared of Big Nurse and live in fear until one day Randel McMurphy enters the hospital. McMurphy is obviously not mentally ill. He comes to the hospital because he had previously been on a work farm and believed the hospital would be an easy run. Indeed it is. As he tells the other patients - he gets bacon and eggs and orange juice for breakfast. However, as time goes on he realises that the situation is not ideal, as he loses the freedom and respect that so-called 'normal' people have. Kesey's novel is very much an exploration of the publics perception of the mentally ill. When McMurphy enters the hospital he cannot understand why nobody challenges Big Nurse. There is no laughter in the hospital and everyone acts li ke a frightened rabbit. McMurphy is a gambling man and could easily take all the patients money off them in the card games he sets up. However, in scenes that are quite touching, the Chief tells how McMurphy would always let the patients win back their money by the end of the game. McMurphy begins to bring back a sense of normality into the patients lives and this takes away from the iron like grip that Nurse Ratched had previously had. This sets the two at loggerheads and much of the novel is spent with the Chief describing often amusing and often disturbing conflicts that Big Nurse and McMurphy have. Although McMurphy often wins the small battles, Big Nurse always manages to stay in control of the war and it is only about halfway through the novel when we find out why she is so unnerved. Whereas most of the other patients had chosen to go into the hospital, McMurphy was committed and therefore had to wait until Big Nurse said he could leave. After turning most of the other patients against Nurse Ratched, McMurphy now faced the dilemna of having to behave so as to be eventually released. However, eventually McMurphy carries on the war with Big Nurse after he and the Chief are sent to Disturbed for a week after a fight with the aides. Interestingly, Kesey has the ward labelled Disturbed as a far more humane place where the patients want to stay. When someone is helpless then people want to help. When they can be helped then others want to make them helpless. Life sucks. Only McMurphy had known that the Chief wasn't deaf and dumb until they had returned after Disturbed. The scenes before this had been both funny, as McMurphy won small battles with the nurse, and yet created tension. The scene when they have a vote to switch TV times so they can watch the World Series is the clearest example of this. With the vote split at 20/20 (the acutes all voting and the chronics unable to), Nurse Ratched says this is not a majority and blatantly cheats to w in. McMurphy then appeals to the chronics for one of them to vote. As they are all actually ill none of them can, but the Chief, who everyone thought was deaf and dumb, raises his hand. Although the Big Nurse says the meeting was closed, it still gives both McMurphy and the reader a sense of victory. From then on, the patients stop working on the ward in the afternoon and sit in front of blank TV screens. Although I haven't gone into detail about the other characters, this is because each are so different, and there are so many, that the only way you can understand them is to actually read the book. It would also ruin many parts of the novel if i divulged information about them. The ending is tragic but also leaves the reader feeling fulfilled. It might be hollow fulfillment but by the end the reader belives there is hope even though it comes at a huge cost. I had seen the film so knew what happened at the end but there is still a great deal of forboding tension throughout the novel because, as the Chief says, Big Nurse would not give in till she won. By the end neither McMurphy or Big Nurse win. At one point the reader begins to think McMurphy has and will laugh at Big Nurse. Moments later laughter turns to sorrow and will make the reader think about what they've just read. Kesey's study into the attitude towards the mentally ill is one of the finest novels I have read. Almost as good as JD Salinger's 'The Catcher In The Rye' is as a study on American society in colleges, 'One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest' probably hasn't had the acclaim it deserves. Read the book, then watch the film (which actually does do the film justice with a magnificent performance from Jack Nicholson) and then go and sit in a corner and think. Then sleep. And dream. Then get up. Then eat. Then sleep. Then dream. Everyone's the same really aren't they?
The Great Gatsby is similar to much of American literature in the twentieth century. Commenting on the society that exists, The Great Gatsby offers a bleak outlook on the upper classes during the 1920's. Most of the characters are 'phonies' who love themselves more than they love anyone else. Gatsby is deemed great by our narrator, but is in reality a dreamer who trys to fulfill dreams that should have been forgotten. The plot centres around Gatsby's love for old flame Daisy, a cousin of Nick who narrates the story. However, his sole way of regaining her love for him is by spending vast amounts of money on a house and hosting parties so as to get attention. He is not a bad man but neither is he great. By the end of the novel you really dont care what happens to most of the characters as they all appear to be selfish, rich aristocrats who need to remove their heads from their bottoms. Maybe this is Fitzgerald's intention. Whereas in J.D. Salinger's, The Catcher In The Rye, Holden Caulfield attracts the readers sympathy because he detests the phony society that he lives in, characters such as Gatsby lose the readers empathy because their characters are non-descript. Gatsby always calls people 'old sport'. He is, in essence, an annoying person. Fitzgerald does successfully convey the fact that just because all the characters are rich they are not guaranteed happiness, and the affairs that each character has become intertwined at the end and result in tragedy. Nick, the narrator, is probably the most decent of the characters but he is simply there to describe what happens. Unlike Holden Caulfield it does not seem important to the reader to know what would happen to him in the future. Fitzgerald is successful in conveying his message about society but as a novel it is not as enjoyable to read as The Catcher In The Rye or To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. It doesnt make you laugh, and it doesnt make you think as much . It was written in the early twentieth century so has probably become more dated now and its influence cannot be as widely felt as if it had been read when first released. It is a good book to study but not really to read for enjoyment. Still, it is deemed a classic and does make valued comments on America's elite in the 1920's. It also probably helped to inspire many other writers, noteably Salinger, who refers to Gatsby in The Catcher In The Rye. If it is no good for anything else then at least it's mentioned in a true classic of the last one hundred years.
Doing english literature as part of my degree doesn't really feel like work. I go out, drink and try and escape all the phonies. When I have to do some work, I sit down and read a book. The other day I was browsing through HMV and saw the '2 for £10' deal on books. For some reason I had declined to purchase any more music, having spent far too much over the last 12 months, so instead bought myself some more classic novels to further my mind. Catch 22, Sophie's World and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (which is a fantastic film), are yet to be read. I'd been told before by a friend that The Catcher In The Rye was a book that I would like and so I started off with this. Unbeknown to me at the time it is actually on my reading list :o) Anyways, my 'work' for the last few days has constituted drinking vodka, smoking dope, sleeping, listening to music and reading this - I'm stayin at university as long as I can... The novel centres on Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old who recognises the plights of human nature. As others have commented in their reviews, it is not the content that grabs the readers attention primarily, but instead the style of the novel. Holden is a very compelling character and one that the reader feels they know. I personally felt as though Holden would be a real nice guy if i met him. I really did. He has one of the best senses of humour I've come across from characters in novels. He really does. He kills me. Salinger creates a whole identity for his character and unlike some 'frozen' characters in literature, Holden is given his own mannerisms that make him so appealing to the reader. The repetition of phrases such as 'It kills me. It really does', suggest that he is talking to and not at the reader. On the first page, Holden tells the reader that he wont bore them with all his past details of childhood etc etc, but the entire novel is simply his account of a few days in his l ife. Nothing really significant happens. No one dies. No one is born. No one falls in love. There is no villain. However, the novel is still intruiging, mixing humour and sensitivity in a way that few other contemporary novels have done so. The general theme is that of disillusion at the world during the 1950's/1960's. On my course I am also studying The Great Gatsby. This too is a novel commenting on the disillusion at American culture in an earlier period. However, whereas the characters in Gatsby do not attract sympathy as they are primarily selfish, Holden is very much a hero in the readers mind. It is intresting that there is a reference to Gatsby in The Catcher In The Rye when Holden says 'Old Gatsby. Old sport. It kills me'. It is clear that Salinger agrees with Fitzgerald that life is not all it is cracked up to be. Holden appears to hate everyone and everything in the novel at different times. The one character that he clearly loves is his sister Phoebe. When she gives him her christmas money he cries, and it is apparent that he is unstable within himself at times. At one point Phoebe asks him to name one thing that he really likes. Holden says he likes Allie, his younger brother who died. Throughout the novel Holden appears to be obsessed with death and there is a general feeling that he is destined for a fall, as his ex-teacher suggests. He often pretends he has been shot, or convinces himself that he has cancer. He constantly digresses from the main points of his story, often focusing on tragic events such as the death of a fellow student at one of his old colleges. He is in truth a manic depressive who is a dreamer of impossible dreams. He plans to run away and build a house with money earnt pretending to be deaf and mute so he doesnt have to have anymore boring conversations. He fails everything at school except english where his imagination can be fully explored and encouraged. Reading this novel was very much like looking in the mirror for me. It really was. Whereas Fitzgerald often loses the reader's attention in The Great Gatsby, Salinger creates such a powerful character that he easily carries your attention even though he is describing only a few days of mainly trivial events. The title is only explained near the end but is as good a title for a novel as any I've heard. Holdens sister asks him what he wants to do when he is older. He responds by quoting Robert Burns but mistakenly says 'catch' rather than 'meet'. His ideal job, he tells his sister, is to stand on a cliff above a field of rye where children are falling and open his arms to catch them. His character is like a sane version of Travis from the film Taxi Driver. He despairs of the conditions arround him and feels he must save people. Most people are phonies to him who cannot have an intelligent conversation. People often depress him even though they don't mean to. When he meets old friends it is clear that he is very much a unique character who is seen as slightly weird and insane. Again, i feel like he is my reflection. I really do. It kills me. It really does. Having read the novel, I then looked at the essay questions I have to answer. At first I wasn't impressed as it doesn't mention comedy at all and primarily this book made me laugh. However, it did raise another important issue in the novel. The questions were centerd on Holdens insecurity about girls and his apparent fear of sex. He pays for a prostitute and then doesnt go through with it. He admires, despite himself, those who act sexy with girls and genuinely get somewhere. He isn't a stud but he isn't unpopular and has many girlfriends he tries to contact. However, he does get nervous around girls and often ends up misunderstood or not taken seriously. That mirror thing and him being my reflection i keep going on about? Same again. I feel like him. I really do. As you may have guessed if yo u have read the bit above this, I would highly recommend this book. It's like Taxi Driver without the violence. Trainspotting without the drugs. Gatsby without the money. It may have been written about a previous generation but it still applies today. It really does. Im off to hide from the phonies. They kill me. They really do. ---------------------------------------------------------- below is my essay i've just written on this book for my course. if i dont get a crown for it i lose faith in dooyoo. not arrogance just the fact that it's an essay which further explores the novel. above is an outline of the novel so the review wont be too long as people can choose just to read that or too short as now there is more. there are no errors in spelling etc, and gives opinions of other critics, not just myself. anyways, cheerz for reading :) ‘Adolescent anxiety or sophisticated critique’? Discuss in relation to Holden Caulfield’s outlook in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Holden Caulfield’s dissolution with society in The Catcher in the Rye’ can be interpreted as either adolescent anxiety at the progression from childhood to adulthood, or a mature and sophisticated criticism of human behaviour in society. It is difficult to determine which category Holden falls into. On one hand he is physically mature for his age and his use of language suggests he is also intellectually mature. However, he appears to be scared of severing his ties with childhood to become an adult. One area that Holden appears to be dissatisfied with is his social position. He comes from a privileged background and attends expensive schools, receiving the best education available. This clearly has troubled Holden, as he hates the environment he finds himself in. On page 151 he explains to his sister Phoebe that he left his last school as ‘it was one of the worst schools I ever went to’ an d ‘full of phonies…and mean guys’. Whether these views are those of a confused adolescent or a mature individual, who believes it is unfair that they have such luxuries while others do not, is difficult to determine. Many teenagers do not enjoy school and criticise the education they receive and the environment in which they receive it. One reason why Holden dislikes the schools he goes to are because they are full of spoilt individuals who persecute those weaker than themselves. From the minor event of students shouting ‘Digression’ at Richard Kinsella (page 165) to the traumatic and serious incident that led to the death of James Castle, Holden demonstrates a deep unrest at the environment with which he finds himself in. In many ways this is a mature and reasoned criticism of society, as it has to be questioned whether the theory of the ‘survival of the fittest’ should be accepted. Holden’s dissatisfaction at society appears to be a moral one. As Mr Antolini tells him on page 170, ‘You’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now.’ It is therefore difficult to say that Holden is simply suffering from adolescent anxiety. It is not the fact that the boys at Pencey are rich that aggravates him, but more their attitude towards other people. Neither is Holden interested in material gain and spends money carelessly. However, at times, such as when he buys drinks for Laverne, Old Marty and Bernice, this could lead to Holden himself being seen as a ‘phony’ and demonstrates a level of immaturity. This immaturity is again exposed when Holden reveals dreams that are typical of adolescent s, most notably when he asks Sally Hayes to run away with him (page 119). This passage also shows how anxious Holden is to escape society, much like his creator Salinger, when he begs Sally to go with him and ends up screaming at her in a pleading fashion. Holden is not only discontented with his environment but also appears to be confused as to whether he is a child or an adult. Sometimes his criticisms of people are fair and correct but often he is childish in his manner. Throughout the novel it is apparent that Holden misses the guiding influence of his parents and, because of their absence, has ironically grown dependence on them. As Gerald Rosen states in his essay ‘A Retrospective Look at The Catcher in the Rye’, Holden ‘sorely misses being able to turn to his parents in his times of trouble’. Rosen goes on to highlight the passage (page 18) where Holden first pretends to be in the movies, ‘Holden shouts, “Mother darling, everything’s getting so dark in here”, and “Mother darling, give me your hand. Why wont you give me your hand?”. This seems like clowning, but in fact it is a revelation of his terrible anguished isolation from his family.’ Holden appears deeply troubled here and behind the humour lays a frightened and isolated adolescent. Although Holden is physically mature he is not aggressive and often allows other characters to treat him badly. However, this does not mean that he is immature but suggests that he is educated enough to realise that violence does not solve problems. As Holden states on page 41, ‘I’d only been in about two fights in my life, and I lost both of them. I’m not too tough. I’m a pacifist, if you want to know the truth’. Gerald Rosen reinforces this view of Holden being a pacifist by saying that what he especially liked about Jane Gallacher, Holden’s appa rent soul mate who is only mentioned but not seen in the novel, was that she used to keep all her kings in the back row in checkers. Rosen explains that, ‘This has intrigued the critics, but what it seems to me to represent is a holding back of one’s aggressive powers and an unwillingness to enter the competitive game and use them against other people’. Holden also mentions the ‘game’ that Rosen refers to, when he is talking to Mr Spencer, ‘ “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” “Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.” Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hotshots are then it’s a game, all right – I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot- shots, then what’s game about it? Nothing. No game.’ These comments cannot simply be dismissed as adolescent anxiety. It may well be Salinger’s own voice coming through in an effort to expose the shallowness of certain aspects of society. Just as James Castle, Richard Kinsella and Holden himself experience, life is only a game for the hotshots who make the rules. Much of Holden’s anxiety stems from the death of his brother, Allie. Holden seems deeply troubled and yet obsessed by death. On page 140 he explains how he doesn’t like visiting Allie’s grave. He tells us that, ‘It was awful. It rained on his lousy tombstone, and it rained on the grass on his stomach. It rained all over the place.’. The disillusion that Holden feels regarding his brothers death is not necessarily simply adolescent anxiety. Other comments surrounding death in The Catcher in the Rye suggest that Holden has rational and intelligent views. On page 100, Holden tells the nuns how upset he was when Mercutio died in Romeo and Juliet. He explains, R 16;The thing is, it drives me crazy if somebody gets killed – especially somebody very smart and entertaining and all – and it’s somebody else’s fault. Romeo and Juliet, at least it was their fault.’ Like the deaths of Allie and James Castle, Holden is unsettled by Mercutio’s death as it was not foreseeable. Holden struggles to accept his brother’s death but this does not mean that he is immature, it just suggests that he is grieving. However, at times Holden does appear to be immature when dealing with death and mortality. Throughout the novel he pretends to have been shot by the ‘mob’ and he dwells on his own mortality. Salinger creates a sense of foreboding around Holden during The Catcher in the Rye that suggests his hero may not survive the adjustment from childhood to adulthood. As Gerald Rosen points out, ‘Holden is identified with Castle by Castle’s having killed himself while wearing Holden’s sweater and by Castle’s appearing just before Holden on the roll call at school. This carries the implication that Holden may be next in line for Castle’s fate.’. However, although Holden seems to be ‘riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall’ (Mr Antolini, p.168), he is still there at the end and this suggests that he might finally have begun the progression from childhood to adulthood. Mr Antolini’s statement could well contain the undertone the undertone that Holden is about to take the terrible fall from being a child to being an adult. Although Holden sees himself as being the ‘catcher in the rye’, it may well be that he has yet to fall into the rye himself. It is Holden’s idealistic dream of being the ‘catcher in the rye’ that supports the theory that he is immature and a typical adolescent. When asked by Phoebe what he wants to do, he is unable to give a serious answer but instead tells her how he wants to save children from falling into fields of rye. This passage (p.156) is the focal point of the novel and underlines Holden’s fears of adulthood. He appears to see himself as a Peter Pan figure whose role is to save the lost boys. Although poignant, Holden’s ambition is childish and, rather than a mature adult, he comes across as a confused dreamer stuck in a limbo between childhood and adulthood. However, it is clear at other times that Holden is educated and intellectually creative. The only subject Holden excels at is English and throughout the novel there are references to other literary works, notably Shakespeare, Hardy’s The Return of the Native and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Although Holden fails his Egyptian course in school, and writes the childish footnote on his exam paper for Mr Spencer (p.10), he later assumes the role of teacher at the museum when he explains about mummification to two children he meets (p.183). His distaste at seeing ‘Fuck You’ scrawled on the wall of Phoebe’s school also suggests that Holden’s views lean more towards a particular, pure ideal rather than an immaturity. Holden also has the respect of the teachers that he has had, such as Mr Spencer and Mr Antolini, and this suggests he is intelligent, if not withdrawn and lazy. In general, it is too easy to dismiss Holden as being simply an anxious adolescent or a mature adult disillusioned with society. Holden lies between these two groups. He is intelligent but doesn’t always show it. He is neither a weakling (like Ackley), nor a hotshot (like Stradlater). The death of his brother and the isolation from his family contribute highly to the breakdown he suffers. He is obsessed by death and is yet scared by it, hating the idea of war. As he says on page 126, ‘I swear if there’s another war, they better just take me out and stick me in front of a firing squad…An yway, I’m sort of glad they’ve got the atomic bomb invented. If there’s ever another war, I’m going to sit right the hell on top of it. I’ll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.’ All these factors suggest that Holden is in limbo; neither a child nor an adult. However, by the end of the play Holden appears optimistic about the future when he watches Phoebe on the carrousel (p.190). It seems that finally everything’s in its right place for Holden to make the switch from childhood to adulthood. Unlike all of his previous paranoia where he believes all the ‘phonies’ have knives out for him, Holden seems as though he has learnt how to disappear completely into the field of rye.
I decided to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein because it is one of the most influential books ever written - creating, like Bram Stoker's Dracula, a horror figure that is known throughout the world. Interestingly, Frankenstein and Dracula also share the same style with the book told through characters journals and letters. Shelley wrote the book after her and husband Percy Shelly agreed with their friends (including Lord Byron) to each write a horror story. Wanting to impress, she waited until she had a good story to write and after dreaming one night came up with the general plot. Although Frankenstein has created a legend, I don't think it was actually that good a book. The film versions I have seen had a better plot and there were some gaping holes in the storyline. The best parts are when Frankenstein (who is the doctor not the monster) recounts what his monster told him happened to him when he encountered other humans. Unlike film versions the monster is the most eloquent character in the novel, and is only blighted by his severe appearance deformities. The general plot is quite well known - Dr Frankenstein is a scientist who makes a monster too hideous to contemplate. The monster then seeks revenge on his maker because he cannot be accepted in the world. The book is worth reading as it is an important text in literay history but in my opinion not as good a novel as either Bram Stoker's, Dracula nor Robert Louis Stevenson's, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide. It is more interesting as a piece on scientific and feminine issues than it is as a novel. It shows how science can produce something and then lose control on it and the monster is often believed to represent women, who at the time were not regarded as equal citizens to men. As a novel it has pit-falls due to the long-winded narrative and some characters and storylines are not needed and consequentially are left only half covered. It would have been a better novel had it been written in the style of journal entries from Frankenstein and other characters directly involved, rather than from letters by a lonely discoverer on a wayward ship.
Sung in the last song of the album, Bumble Bee, singing his sad songs is exactly what Mark Greany does for the duration of JJ72's first album. Produced so as to sound as 'live' as possible, the album was one of the best of 2000 and definately in my view the most encouraging from any new artist. Although the Brits are usually terrible in terms of nominees, they surpassed themselves by ommitting JJ72 from best band and best album. Amazingly they even failed to get a nomination for best newcomer. Good luck against Craig David, Toploader.... The album starts with probably the most impressive song on the album.... October Swimmer. The song probably contains THE most fitting line for the album - 'I want to be a happy boy'. It starts off quite gently but proceeds to get louder until the angst filled chorus where Greany, whose voice performs its first vocal somersault, expresses how he doesnt need anyone... Undercover angel is another song that instantly grabs the listeners attention. After that it just grows on you more. However, it does lose a bit of its power on record as Greany varies the vocals far more during live performances. The song is both gentle - the high pitch that Greany goes to for the line 'an angel is what you are' before the chorus - and aggressive - the same line in the chorus sang with real angst. Oxygen is a good song but I dont feel that it is the best on the album as it does not contain the dark side, which many of the other songs do. Surrender, Willow and Long Way South are again all good songs but it is with present signle Snow that I think the album refinds itself. Not many singers could credibly get away with sounding tortured because it wont snow, but Mark Greany pulls it off. After Broken Down, comes the best acoustic of the album, Improv. Lyrically one of the best songs on the album, it is clear that this is very much an insight into Greany's character with lyrics such as 'decay ing as i am, i need not some promised land, i know i have failings, acceptance was the plan'. A song that will definately grow on you. After Not Like You, another good yet not exceptional offering, comes the climax that is as good as the albums beginning. First up is Algeria, the song that most would mosh to. It has a steady beat and repetitive lyrics of spring it dies, summer arrives, summer dies, autumn arrives etc. A song that immediately appeals although leaves little room to grow. The final song will grow on you when it has been heard live (get a copy of October Swimmer single to hear it live). Bumble Bee is the set closer at gigs with the ending being drawn out for about 3 to 4 minutes before Greany smashes his guitar. He boldly screams that he will sing his sad song and the song is a general release of the angst expressed through the rest of the song. More influenced by the Smashing Pumpkins and Nick Drake than Radiohead, JJ72 are a class act and their self-titled debut album has set them a high standard when they return to the studio to record their second album. You might at first think Greany has a girls voice but this is not the case - it is just one of the best in music today and mixed with the lyrical and musical content of their songs, places them high in lists of promising newcomers of today.
Have just read Going To Californias top ten and was inspired to write my own. The title for the op is of course a manics album but surprisingly, considering that, it probably wont get in. Like G to C, I will constrict myself to the albums of 1990 onwards so as to keep it to my generation. Maybe I should have been in The Who. 10)Muse - Showbiz A great debut album which has already assured a good following. They have the fast, passionate, heavy songs such as Fillip and Muscle Museum as well as contrasting this with songs such as Unintended - probably a better 'tender' song than the more acclaimed Yellow by Coldplay. They are on tour this year and I would recommend to anyone that they go along as Showbiz is definately an album to be heard live - especially with Mark Bellamy being an aggressive little psycho. Lyrically and musically strong, there are touches of Radiohead there but that is purely because of Bellamy's vocals. The music is nothing like anything Radiohead have produced on any of their albums. best moment - halfway through track three, Fillip, when the drums, bass and guitar all build up for what seems like an eternity. 9) JJ72 - JJ72 In my opinion the best of the new bands around in the last few years and a debut album which offers a lot of promise. Mark Greany is surely set to become one of, if not the best, vocalist in the world with his sopranoesque tirades. The album is both gentle (look at lyrics for Undercover Angel) and aggressive (look at Bumble Bee and Algeria). The major advantage the album has is that they try and recreate a 'live' sound, something that improves the record considerably. October Swimmer is one of the best underated and brilliant songs of the last few years and accompanied with songs such as Snow, and the acoustic ' Improv', the album is one of, if not the best debut albums that I own. JJ72 are headlining the NME tour now, I will see them this time next week - WOOHOO! - and have plans to release their second album at the end of december / beginning of january. What direction they take will be interesting - Greany has said it will be more atmospheric but not to the extent of Kid A. best moment - has to be the 'i want to be a happy boy, this means that you must employ my lies' line in October Swimmer - brilliant. 8) Whats The Story... - Oasis Oasis' best offering with some fantastic songs and a time when Liam could still hit a note without sounding as though he had been up all night on drugs. Wonderwall and Don't Look Back In Anger were great when released even though now they are perhaps a bit stale. The real highlights on the album are Champagne Supernova, She's Electric and Some Might Say and it was the best album released during Britpop. Unfortunately it all went downhill from there. best moment - dont think there really is one. it hasnt got a difinitive moment really. 7) Kid A - Radiohead Radiohead's third album and one that is universally hated by all but a few. Difficult to get into and again contrasting from previous efforts, after a while this record grows on you and comes through as another turning point of British music. It only has three convential songs on it (How To Disappear Completely, Optimistic and Motion Picture Soundtrack) but it isnt supposed to be an album of songs. It is difficult to liste to and songs such as The National Anthem are extremely claustrophobic but in the same time they are brilliant. How To Disappear Completely and Motion Picture Soundtrack are two of their finest efforts. However, it is Idioteque which is the ground-breaking track that really makes the album. At first a track I skipped past because of its strangeness, Idioteque grows on you until it makes itself one of the true great Radiohead tracks. Disturbed lyrics with almost a dance track mood but underneath Radiohead and specifi cally Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwoods darkness. best moment - at the moment for me it is at the end. after what is hard listening at times, the climax to Motion Picture Soundtrack (often slated for some reason) is stunning and was brilliant when seen live. 6) Dog Man Star - Suede Suede are a good band and were Britain's big hopes before Radiohead came along. They produced this and afterwards lost the darkness which made them so good. Songs such as New Generation, The 2 Of Us and Still Life are brilliant pieces which both lift the listener and yet make them feel a sense of lonliness. The follow up, Coming Up, was good but this is Suede at their best, with a lot of piano based music in some songs (The 2 Of Us/Still Life) and electric moments such as New Generation. best moment - 3/4 through The 2 Of Us. Brett Anderson sounding distraught and the albums emotional pivot. 5) The Bends - Radiohead The album that finally propelled Radiohead from a small band into Britains best and tour supports (and friends) with REM. It has the powerful, rock songs of My Iron Lung and Just mixed with the amazingly tender and soaring Fake Plastic Trees and High And Dry. It ends with the classic Street Spirit - possibly the most depressing start to a song ever. Pablo Honey had been good but The Bends saw Radiohead re-emerge with a maturity that had not previously been there. Mixing the powerful music, mainly created by Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke, with Yorke's personal and troubled lyrics elevated the band to new status. However, personally I dont think it is anywhere near as great a record as Ok Computer and it is prefered now by fans of Radiohead before Ok Computer was released. Still, a classic in its own right. best moment - has to be the start of Street Spirit - amazing. 4) The Man Who - Travis I'll probably be slated for putting this in at number four (especially above both The B ends and WTSMG) but I think this is a truly great record. Most people only like the singles but if the record is listened to properly, after a few times it is the other songs that emerge as the best. The music is simple but it is still very effective and this in many ways is a folk album. Certainly more Joni Mitchell than Radiohead. The best two tracks for me are As You Are and Slide Show, two fantastic tracks that display the raw emotion of Fran Healy's lyrics and also his voice. He isn't a great singer like say Thom Yorke or Mark Greany, but he still shows amazing passion in his singing. Following on from Good Feeling, this was not the album expected but it propelled Travis into the limelight and onto centre stage at Glastonbury. A new album is due in may or june and hopefully will be followed by a tour. best moment - halfway through As You Are. listen to it and tell me Travis are boring and not emotional... 3) Out Of Time - REM Only just losing out to REM's other masterpiece Automatic For The People, this is a truly great album. Stand out tracks such as Losing My Religion and Country Feedback are accompanied by other good songs like Half A World Away, Low, Endgame and Near Wild Heaven. The album finally thrust REM into the spotlight as one of the worlds truly great bands and justifiably earnt them commercial success. I have written before about this album in numerous reviews of mine so havent really anything to add. best moment - the 'like a hurt, lost and blinded fool' line in Losing My Religion. class. 2) Automatic For The People - REM REM at their best: Drive Try Not To Breathe Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite Everybody Hurts New York (or Orleans??) Instrumental Number 1 Sweetness Follows Monty Got A Raw Deal Ignoreland **** Me Kitten Man On The Moon Nightswimming Find The River 'Nuff said. A classic album from a classi c group. Again I have reviewed this in other places. best moment - the start of Everybody Hurts. Dont listen to it for a bit and then it becomes truly great. 1) Ok Computer - Radiohead It had to be this album. Without doubt my album of the decade, it is simply stunning. The adventurous, original and brilliant Paranoid Android. The Romeo and Juliet song Exit Music (For A Film). Karma Police - Orwellian and brilliant. Fitter Happier - Orwellian, strange and disturbing. No Surprises - truly stunning, tender and comforting. Lucky - personal favourite and as good as music gets. The album hasnt got a weak track on it and will be difficult for the group to surpass (although material off new album Amnesiac - June release - sounds capable), it is a pure masterpiece. After its release, Thome Yorke listened to it after a few weeks and was scared that they could make something so sick and disturbing. Often described as uncongestibale, it is a brilliant compilation of music with a new level of lyrics being attained. Paranoid Android saw new levels of contrasting styles of music in one song and the songs are some of the few that often raise the hair on the backs of your neck. I have reviewed this before and need only to remind people who have this record of how great it is, and those who havent that they should go and buy it because when i am king you will be first against the wall, with your opinions which are of no cosequence at all. best moment - the start of lucky runs it close but the ending of Paranoid Android is probably the best minute of music I have heard. Brilliant. ------------------------------------------- well they are my ten of the nineties. others that would be considered are Good Feeling (travis), Up, Monster and New Adventures In Hi Fi (rem), and albums by artists such as The Cranberries (the one with Zombie and No Need To Argue on - dont know the name but its class), Nirvana Unplugged, Word Ge ts Around by the Stereophonics (had forgotten that one!) etc etc. well done if you read down to here :o)
A few days ago I finally completed my REM collection with the aquisition of 1985 album, 'Fables Of The Reconstruction'. As many do, I decided that a compilation tape would be appropriate. However, I had a problem - how do you fit the best of 150+ songs, spanning 18 years, on to a 90 minute tape. Well, the answer is, you don't - you cheat and make a 3 tape compilation featuring 64 songs. Anyway this isn't an opinion on my ability, or non-ability, to compile a 'best of' tape. It does, however, demonstrate the wealth of quality songs that have come from this band. In my opinion, with I think justifiable reason, REM have had the best career of any band in popular music history - including the Beatles, U2 and, although it's a close thing, The Spice Girls. REM formed in Athens, Georgia in March 1980. At that time Peter Buck was yet to have mastered the guitar beyond a basic level and for the majority of the first two years the band toured locally, picking up practice and forming what would eventually become their unique sound. It was the release of Radio Free Europe (first single lifted from debut album 'Murmur') that first led success for the band, becoming a cult favourite on the college radio stations in the USA. Following this, 'Chronic Town' was released as an EP in 1982, followed by the afore-mentioned LP 'Murmur' in 1983. It is arguable that I am one of their youngest fans, who was alive both then and now, who today owns all of their released albums - I was nine months old when 'Murmur' was released and am writing this, one month on after the release of latest album 'Reveal', at the age of 18. 'Murmur' was a strong start to REM's career, for many it remains their finest album. It certainly features the group at their rawest with the majority of lyrics intelligable to the listener. The standout tracks for me are Talk About The Passion, Perfect Circle (penned by drummer Bill Berry), Shaking Through and We Walk (one of the REM tracks that wouldn't seem out of place in a 60's disco). In the following year REM toured - with their major dates being a slot supporting The Police (who had a number one single and album in the US charts) which the band insist was a pointless tour - Berry has often stated they may as well have 'stayed home and got drunk' for all the good it did them. Following this, they set about recording album number two - 'Reckoning'. 'Reckoning' is short (just under 38 minutes) but definately sweet. Michael Stipe once professed Losing My Religion (from 1991 album 'Out Of Time') was the first lovesong that he wrote. So(uth) Central Rain, Time After Time and (Don't Go Back To) Rockville (although written by bassist Mike Mills) suggest that this isn't the case. Reckoning does not sound as muffled as its predecessor; Stipe's vocals in particular sound stronger and clearer. It also features more outstanding moments in my opinion than their debut album did. So Central Rain is still often present in their setlists and Peter Buck's jangling guitar dominates musically. Stipe was already proving to be one of the best lyricists of his generation - the opening lines of Time After Time are 'Ask the girl of the hour/By the water tower's watch'. Many interpret this as 'ask the girl what time it is by the water tower's clock' but to me it reads as Stipe-speak for 'ask the girl out under the view of the water tower' bt the clever juxtaposition of time, and the titles song, means that both readings could be true. At this stage REM were producing an album a year, and 12 months after the release of 'Reckoning', third album 'Fables Of The Reconstruction' (or 'Reconstruction Of The Fables' as the sleeve could be read as) was released. As I said in my introduction, this album is relatively new to me. At this stage the songs Driver 8, Maps And Legends and Wendell Gee stand out. Wendell Gee was named after a real person who was a used car dealer in a small town in the southern states where, supposedly, everyone's surname was Gee. In many respects this trivial fact epitomises this album - it is REM doing southern folk for arguably the last time and the running themes of trains (Driver 8 and Auctioneer) and local stories confirm what the heart of this record is. Wendell Gee could be described as their Cumbayah (ok it's mis-spelt but fuck it I'm dyslexic and it's taken me 26 hours to get this far) - hmmm I've probably offended some people now; not for taking the piss out of dyslexics but for swearing, so to amend I'll throw in a random REM quote: 'we've been through fake-a-breakdown, self hurt, plastics, collections, self help, self pain, EST, pyscics, fuck all' - OK I am digressing whilst simultaneously creating the longest sentence ever on Dooyoo (I could be Virginia Woolf!) but my point is that people should not be outraged at the word 'fuck'. REM are an adult band and anyway no one over the age of 13 will have read down this far. Another year heralded another album, and in 1986 it was 'Lifes Rich Pagaent' that hit the music stores (notice the lack of apostrophe isn't my spelling error but was deliberately left out as the band didnt believe that a good rock album had ever been made that featured one of the little buggers). At this stage REM's sound was becoming clearer and 'Lifes Rich Pagaent' was very much a clear progression from 'Fables Of The Reconstruction'. Songs such as Fall On Me really suggested that the band were about to break the commercial scene with a very catchy tune and identifiable lyrics in the spirit of Driver 8 from the previous record. Like 7 Chinese Brothers from 'Reckoning', Fall On Me centres on a childrens story - this time Chicken Licken and his fear that the sky will fall in. The song features arguably the best Mike Mills back-up vocals that the band are famed for and at this date was probably their finest moment. The rest of the album was equally as strong - particularly Swan Swan H (which has been described as their last 'southern folk song'), Cuyahoga (which was played on their recent MTV Unplugged show to be broadcast next month) and I Believe. Another point of interest concerning 'Lifes Rich Pagaent' is that the track listing on the back does not corrospond with the actually one on the cd. Begin The Begin is the first track but afterwards the order becomes jumbled. REM being different... again. It was subsequent to the release of the 1987 album 'Document' that REM finally broke into the mainstream, largely because of two songs that formed the pivot of the album and are still present in most of their set-lists today. Firstly, It's The End Of The World As We Know It is arguably the best 'happy' song that the band have done and ideally made to be a closing song for a live performance. It also features the strangest Stipe lyrics and although there are lyrics (unlike much of 'Murmur') I would give a goldfish to anyone who can identify them all simply by listening to the song. The One I Love was an even bigger commercial hit with many couples mistakenly adopting it as 'their song' because they thought it was so beautiful. In truth, Stipe didn't want to record the song as he felt it was too brutal with lines such as 'this one goes out to the one I love / this one goes out to the one I left behind / a simple prop to occupy my time / this one goes out to the one I love / fire.....'. The rest of the album featured some of the bands heaviest stuff to date and subsequently the album was nearly entitled 'File Under Fire' due to the constant references to fire (The One I Love and Oddfellows Local 151 being prime examples). Other standout songs for me on the LP are the aforementioned Oddfellows Local 151 and King Of Byrds (perhaps a tongue in cheek comeback to the constant 'byrds influence' often cited by critics of the band) - which also interestingly made reference to 'standing on the shoulders of giants' (13 years later Oasis would make an album of the same name that held no more beauty in 45 minutes than REM did in this one line). ----------------------------- To Be Continued -----------------------------