Not every rock album ever made is necessarily a walk in the park. Time and time again, some of the greatest songs ever made were absolute torture for bands to create in the studio. While it sometimes pays to suffer for your art, that doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same way about it.
That being said, each of these hit albums has moments that deserve to be among the best in the band’s discography. Just like a bad track can kill the momentum of an album, these are the kinds of songs that lift you out of your seat and start to pull you into the record. Whether it’s a departure from what they usually do or just a reminder of simpler times, these are at least a breath of fresh air compared to the duller tracks you have to wade through on these albums.
However, they weren’t enough to save the project, with most of them either being dim lights in artists’ discographies or (in some cases) some of the worst albums the genre has to offer. Although these records disappointed us overall, it was the tracks that gave us hope for the future. No matter how bad it may seem now, the band we know is still out there somewhere.
There’s a good contingency of Radiohead fans who would be happy to burn someone like me at the stake for daring to say something bad about the King of Limbs. After years of hindsight, it’s fair to say that the loop-based approach to this record was a bit hit and miss, right? No matter how amazing Thom’s dance moves were in the video for songs like Lotusflower, we didn’t need memes to figure out why Codex was so good.
Of all the songs on the record, it’s the kind of stripped-down piano ballad we’ve come to know Radiohead for, almost as if it continues the melancholic theme we’ve already heard an album ago on Videotape. Thom is also on his A-game here too, with the performance coming to life when they did their live takes from the basement shortly after recording the album.
The only problem is that it comes towards the end of the album, with songs like Separator and Give Up the Ghost bringing you back to the more mesmerizing vibe we were used to. Since most of this album was about creating a vibe with loops, you can’t argue that Radiohead made the album they wanted to make. It’s just a shame we didn’t have more songs with that kind of spark.