It’s a Grower, Not a Shower
by Christopher Stoppiello (English), published May 30th 2011
My ‘Newspaper Album’ of the The King of Limbs recently arrived, and it has me thinking. It has been about two months since the digital release of Radiohead’s recent album and I realize, in that time, I have been listening to In Rainbows more than The King of Limbs. Now, personally, I think that In Rainbows is by far Radiohead’s finest work. Yes, that’s right, I said that In Rainbows, not OK Computer or Kid A. But what about The King of Limbs? No one seems to think it is as good as those other three heavy hitters, but almost all reviews of it were made pretty early. Can you really understand a complex album after so few listens? Some albums you have to spend weeks with before finally appreciating.
Which brings me to my point. I am not just praising Radiohead because they are Radiohead. This year has seen a trend of rich albums that require a great deal of time and patience to enjoy. I’m looking at the recent releases from TV on the Radio, The Gorillaz, and Fleet Foxes. I propose that this is not the year of catchy hooks; it is not ‘Time to Pretend’. As we look forward to releases like Bon Iver (buy it even if you got the leak) I think music fans need to invest themselves in their music.
Music with true personality and spirit requires work from the listener, as well as the artist, to form a connection. So my advice for 2011: don’t make snap judgments this year. If you are going to commit to buying an album you should also commit to listening. Give it some time before you decide it’s not good.