Friday, June 7, 2013

hail to the thief

Radiohead plugged in their guitars and recorded live in the studio to express their fear and frustration with this dark and twisted reflection of our terrifying times.  After two albums ('Kid A' and 'Amnesia') of electronic experimentation, 'Hail to the Thief' finds the band returning to the celebrated sound of 'OK Computer'

Thom York considers:  "The last two studio records were a real headache. We had spent so much time looking at computers and grids, we were like, that's enough, we can't do that any more. This time, we used computers, but they had to actually be in the room with all the gear...part of the band, rather than one person with a computer and four people watching, as tended to happen with previous records...We were very much into getting the sound of people in a room on this record, and the sounds of things off-mic and all that kind of stuff...We had massive arguments about how it was put together and mixed. Making it was a piece of piss, for the first time it was really good fun to make a record... but we finished it and nobody could let go of it. 'Cause there was a long sustained period during which we lived with it but it wasn't completely finished, so you get attached to versions and we had big rows about it."

'Hail to the Thief' was recorded at at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood and Canned Applause in Oxfordshire with Colin Greenwood on bass guitar, string synth, and sampler; Jonny Greenwood on guitar, analogue systems, ondes Martenot, laptop, toy piano, and glockenspiel; Ed O'Brien on guitar, effects, and vocals; Phil Selway on drums and percussion; and Thom Yorke – vocals, guitar, piano, and laptop.  As with every one of their albums since 'The Bends', it was produced by Nigel Godrich and featured collaboration with artist Stanley Donwood. 

Jonny Greenwood reveals: "We didn't really have time to be stressed about what we did. We got to the end of the second week before we even heard what we did on the first two days, and didn't even remember recording it or who was playing things. Which is a magical way of doing things...All our album titles have been an attempt to sum up the mood of the time within which the songs were written, like 'OK Computer' and 'Kid A', and this was another attempt to do the same. It's about whether you choose to, you know, confront and complain and deal with what's upsetting you around you, or just kind of go home with your family and hide and wait for it to change and wait for everything to be all right."

York was influenced by the war on terror:  "When I started writing these new songs, I was listening to a lot of political programs on BBC Radio 4. I found myself – during that mad caffeine rush in the morning, as I was in the kitchen giving my son his breakfast – writing down little nonsense phrases, those Orwellian euphemisms that [the British and American governments] are so fond of. They became the background of the record. The emotional context of those words had been taken away. What I was doing was stealing it back...I desperately tried not to write anything political, anything expressing the deep, profound terror I'm living with day to day. But it's just fucking there, and eventually you have to give it up and let it happen...frustration and powerlessness and anger, and the huge gap between the people that put themselves in control and the people that allegedly voted for them...I was just overcome with all this fear and darkness. And that fear is the 'thief'." 

Ten weeks before the release of 'Hail to the Thief', early unmixed versions of the songs were leaked on the internet.  When it did come out, it made its debut at number one in the UK and number three in the US.   It also charted at number six in Austria, Poland, and Sweden; four in the Netherlands; three in Germany, New Zealand, and Switzerland; two in Australia, Finland, Norway, and Portugal; and number one in France.

 'Hail to the Thief'
full album:

Hail to the Thief Full album High Quality by AceVideos

1. 2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm.) - 0:00
2. Sit Down. Stand Up. (Snakes and Ladders.) - 3:19
3. Sail to the Moon. (Brush The Cobwebs Out Of The Sky.) - 7:38
4. Backdrifts. (Honeymoon Is Over.) - 11:58
5. Go To Sleep. (Little Man Being Erased.) - 17:20
6. Where I End And You Begin. (The Sky Is Falling In.) - 20:41
7. We Suck Young Blood. (Your Time Is Up.) - 25:11
8. The Gloaming. (Softly Open Our Mouths In The Cold.) - 30:02
9. There There. (The Boney King Of Nowhere.) - 33:36
10. I Will. (No Man's Land.) - 38:53
11. A Punchup At A Wedding. (No No No No No No No No.) -40:55
12. Myxomatosis. (Judge, Jury And Executioner.) - 46:00
13. Scatterbrain. (As Dead As Leaves.) - 49:52
14. A Wolf At The Door. (It Girl. Rag Doll.) - 53:05

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