The Best of the “Best of” Series: Radiohead (2008)

And one more series to enhance this blog: The Best of The “Best of”(s)! And I’ll start with my favorite one: the 2008 release of the 2-Discs Best of Radiohead. A truly wonderful way to rediscover and enjoy Radiohead. A classic in the making?

Let me begin by a little quote from the booklet: “It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when Radiohead didn’t seem in the least bit destined for greatness. When it would have seemed laughable that, some day, people would argue and agonize over which tracks could be squeezed onto their first career retrospective. In fact, a time when the suggestion that the band might become the most ground-breaking, influential and downright brilliant act of their generation may well have ellicited a puzzled look and the response, sorry, Radio who?” (EMI Records Ltd, 2008).

I remember those days, the early grunge days, when “Creep” was released somewhere between Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Beck’s “Loser”, and others, while not necessarily attracting as much media attention, although no one at the time really realized the true angst conveyed in that song and the greatness that was to come (that part, I guess, could be said about all three above mentioned bands). But I started to get just how great Radiohead was when “The Bends” and “OK Computer” came out. When “Kid A” managed to top the charts in the early 2000s, when all we could ever hear was insipid generic boy/girl-bands, it became apparent that this band really had something special. With “Amnesiac” and “Hail to the theif” in 2001 and 2003, Radiohead proved that they would last and that their music would never lack quality (BTW I haven’t heard their latest CDs, so if you have, please share your opinion!).

One of the great things about the 2008 best of, is that, while enjoying classic radio hits like “Just”, “Karma Police”, “Street Spirits”, “The Bends”, and “No Surprises”, we can enjoy some relatively less-known smooth (or even acoustic) songs, which show Radiohead’s immense talent when it comes to both writing and performing. Like the extraordinary “How to Disappear Completely” and “True Love Waits”, the two last songs, which you can listen to below, along with “Paranoid Android” and “Idiotesque”. By the way, I saw their show in 2008 in Montréal’s Jean-Drapeau Park: we were all soaked from the incessant summer rain and couldn’t be happier to enjoy the insane performances, notably “Idiotesque”. So I was happy to find an almost-equally amazing live performance of that song in Glatonsbury. Thank you youtube!

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