Radiohead consistently innovates
The band’s latest LP, “A Moon Shaped Pool,” is both evolutionary and familiar. | rollingstone.com
“A Moon Shaped Pool” is Radiohead’s ninth studio album and their first in five years. Despite, or rather, because of the band’s 21-year run, the LP does not lack creativity or originality. Over the years, Radiohead has delivered songs such as “Creep” that have resonated with fans and continue to do so with this album.
“Burn the Witch” is the first song and its immediacy in music alongside its drawn-out lyrics instantly captivates. Lead singer Thom Yorke’s distinctive vocal styling is displayed as he sings “Abandon all reason/ Avoid all eye contact/ Do not react/ Shoot the messengers/ This is a low flying panic attack” alluding to a deeper issue at hand — arguably the racial and religious tension seen throughout the news as of late. This song notably lack the experimental and electronica rock feel prevalent in previous albums.
Beginning with “Daydreaming,” Radiohead introduces strings and an eerie dream-like tone that sounds as if their music is being played in reverse. “Decks Dark” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief” best exemplify the perfect balance between old and new sound that Radiohead brings in “A Moon Shaped Pool.” With “Decks Dark,” the heavy and entrancing music causes the listener to truly pay attention and notice what words are being sung. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief” has more of a classical Radiohead vibe, but like the rest of the songs on the LP, it points to a larger issue — cracks in the strength of the government.
The most distinct song on the LP is “Glass Eyes.” The words sung by Yorke are reminiscent of Radiohead’s 1993 hit “Creep” as it deals with anxiety over the narrator’s position in relation to society. Even though the lyrics are familiar, the musicality is entirely different. The song is a piano ballad accompanied by strings with a lightness to it best described as having an air or water-like quality.
The final song on the LP, “True Love Waits” is a poignant testimony to the emotions a person goes through as they fight for a struggling relationship, begging the other person, “Just don’t leave.” When it is taken into account that Yorke recently separated from his partner of 23 years, the song becomes even more distressing.
When listened to from front to back, “A Moon Shaped Pool” is engaging and shows a new side to Radiohead yet to be fully explored. Even so, while they introduce new characteristics to their music, the band still maintains their trademark sound that has created and sustained fans for over two decades.