Ah, bringing out the oldies. We can’t discuss great Radiohead songs without mentioning “Creep.” Thom Yorke may be embarrassed by it, but “Creep,” twenty years later, still sounds distinctly Radiohead. Today, you’ll find the familiar guitar interplay of the Greenwood and O’Brien, the consistent simplicity of Selway’s metronome-like drumming, and Yorke crooning his heart out in the same way he always has. The lyrics might kind of suck, but who doesn’t know every word of it?
Man, this video is so ’90s.
Sure, it’s Radihead’s oldest single, but if the infamous teaser trailer for The Social Network is a good cultural indicator (which featured a choral cover of “Creep”), it might be the most resonant.
A mention of Thom Yorke’s dancing demands this GIF:
Yorke’s on-stage moves have never been better, and maybe on the songwriting front, Radiohead is doing their best work right now. People seemed generally underwhelmed by The King of Limbs, but hey, it took fans a while to come around on In Rainbows too. Look at “Lotus Flower”:
This song is cooler and sexier than anything Thom and co. have ever written (and those are two words I wouldn’t have used to describe the Radiohead of five years ago). There’s a steady drum beat and some sparse electronics, but it’s really Yorke’s vocals on display here, as he drifts beautifully in and out of his falsetto. The video also highlights something that Radiohead hasn’t traditionally been known for: a sense of humor.
After watching that clip you posted from Jools Holland, I’m surprised we haven’t yet discussed Radiohead as THE WORLD’S GREATEST LIVE BAND. “I Might Be Wrong” is perhaps the best representation of how the band can transform a song from the record to the stage, and the flexibility of the band’s songwriting. On Amnesiac, “Wrong” is a haunting tonal experience designed to leave the listener feeling distant and isolated; in concert, it’s a belligerent rock song driven by the meanest riff Johnny Greenwood has ever concocted.
Behold another live clip from Jools Holland:
The I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings EP might seem like a throwaway release, but I think it’s an essential piece of Radiohead’s discography.
The best Radiohead song? This might be the most difficult decision I’ve ever made (granted, I am fairly sheltered and fairly privileged).
While I could probably name two dozen songs, my gut says “Idioteque.” It’s amazing that more than a decade later, Kid A doesn’t sound the least bit dated (maybe it never will). But “Idioteque” is the only song that still sounds like it’s from the future. I love the tension between the the twitchy electronics and Yorke’s primal, panicked chanting. I can’t think of a song with a better vocal performance from him.
But buried beneath the textured glitches and scratches, “Idioteque” beckons to be danced to — and urgently. Every time it comes on, I want to start shaking aggressively (in a fun way). It’s the apocalypse, and we’re going down in style.
I mean, look at this:
(FYI: the music videos off Kid A feature slightly different recordings from the album.)
Your suggestion about finding a girlfriend who subscribes to a lot food blogs was a good one, but I ran an ad in the personals and didn’t get any responses. (Adventurous male looking to expand his horizons with female and her RSS reader.)
I thought about the food blogs I check—the aforementioned Smitten Kitchen, 101 Cookbooks, and Homesick Texan—and realized that they all have big, bright photos. If I’m honest about it, I basically judge a food blog by its photography. I don’t think the appeal is too hard to grasp: Great photos of food get us excited about cooking (even if I will never take the effort to plate a meal in any sort of presentable way). They remind us why we bother cooking when take-out is an easier, sometimes cheaper option. Photos inspire our culinary curiosity. They make us hungry.
But is a food blog’s emphasis on its photos “deceptive and shallow” in the way that fast food ads are? Well, when Arby’s misrepresents their sandwiches as edible food, I would say that’s pretty deceptive. But I can’t find much fault in advertising that attempts to show the appeal of its product. That sounds obvious, but look at how many car ads and smartphone ads use obnoxious gimmicks instead of, y’know, showing us why we should buy the product.
So I’m all for food blogs with nice photography. Sure, it’s a little backwards that skills with a DSLR are more important than actual cooking or writing ability if you want to author a popular food blog, but there are plenty of people out there who are skilled at both.
That leads me to another question, though. If clear instructions and bright photos are all we need to pay attention, how important is any writing or narrative that accompanies a recipe?
What should I make for dinner?
Let me be more specific: how do you pick a recipe? I know you’re an adventurous cook. I’d like to be more like that.
I’ve become comfortable with two or three food blogs. They’re reliable, the recipes are easy-to-follow, and most importantly, they have nice photos. But checking three sites doesn’t give you a whole lot of options, and when you make enough recipes from the same few blogs, it starts to feel like you’re making the same dishes over and over. If I’m going to spend the time and effort to cook, I might as well try something new. But more than one time I’ve ventured outside my comfort zone (aka not Smitten Kitchen) I’ve prepared something that turned out disastrously—and I’m talking season two of Friday Night Lights disastrous. Like, Landry murdered the consistency of my falafel disastrous.
So how do you decide what you’re making for dinner?
First off, Aaron Rodgers is fucking great. I have a friend who has “Aaron Rodgers shaped cheese” in her fridge, which seems weird but completely appropriat
But the bandwagon question is a good one. Is it fair to the diehard fans if I root for a team only when it succeeds? Isn’t part of loyalty being dedicated through good seasons and bad?
A friend I grew up with, Conor, always gave me a hard time for being a bandwagon Red Sox fan. And he wasn’t wrong. I only watched the Sox seriously once they made it into the playoffs; Conor caught as many games as he could, starting with preseason. But let me tell you: that’s a lot of fucking games, especially for a sport where the early season matters very little. I just can’t commit to that much baseball.
Naturally, a lot of folks in Boston take the Red Sox too seriously. Or at least I think so. While I was studying abroad, I took a couple weeks to travel around Western Europe with my friend Joe, who was notorious for claiming that the only thing he cared about more than “pussy” was the Red Sox (his words!). The Sox were in the World Series while we were wandering around Florence, and all Joe could talk about was how he was having regrets about studying abroad in Europe when he could’ve been watching the Red Sox.
We couldn’t find a place to watch any of the games, but even if we had, we would just be watching alone. This sort of gets back to my original point. I like sports because I like the excuse to yell, to be passionate about something that carries very little weight in my life. That’s probably why I’m a bandwagon sports fan — who wants to cheer for a team when no one is cheering?
Maybe I’m missing something though. Is it more satisfying to follow a team through their entire season and see them take home a championship? More importantly, is that experience worth it?
I figured out why I enjoy watching sports: I really like yelling. We root for the same teams, mostly, so you can probably agree that yesterday was a disappointing day for football. The Seahawks were (predictably) stomped by the Bears, but the biggest shocker was the Patriots’ loss to the Jets. I was mad. MADDD!!!!
But being mad is part of the fun. I think sports are great because it lets you be completely invested in something that, in a lot of ways, doesn’t matter. Did I mention yelling? There’s drinking and yelling too. YELLLIINNNNGGG!!!!!
I’m originally from Boston — arguably the sports capital of the country (and less debatably the Dunkin Donuts capital). But as a Seattle transplant, I wondered which team I was supposed to care more about — the Patriots or the Seahawks? Which is my home team? WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO ROOT FOR?? WHOOOO?????????????????????
This is my cousin Marcus with his new French fry earmuffs. He also looks a lot like Russell from Up.
Anyway, good question! It’s remarkable that Instagram can attract a million users in three months — a number that took Twitter two years to hit. But what explains Instagram fever?
I’ll be honest: I’m not quite sure. It’s a simple idea, almost perfectly executed, but sharing iPhone photos is definitely not an original idea.
Path, which launched a month after Instagram, is nearly the same app. Both are photo-sharing social networks built exclusively for the iPhone (for now at least), but if I saw the two services side by side six months ago, I would’ve pegged Path as the winner. It’s founded by an early Facebook big wig Dave Morin and advised by Shawn Fanning (who you might remember as the Napster guy who isn’t Justin Timberlake), along with a team of 14 (as opposed to Instagram’s two) and a decent amount of startup capital. Add to that Path’s tech blog hype and heartstring-tugging promo video.
(Actually, a word on that video: Around the time Path was released, my girlfriend Megan pointed out that we had very few couple photos. I didn’t really see the significance of having pictures, but I’ll admit that Path’s “Nervous at Home” video convinced me otherwise.)
But there are some small but important differences between Path and Instagram, the biggest one being the relationship between users. Path, like Facebook, requires a mutual acknowledgement for friend requests. (In fact, the friend limit of 50 was based on the evolutionary theory that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships that a human can maintain.) On the other hand, Instagram uses the Twitter model of followers, where you can follow a user whereas they might not follow you back. It’s friend vs. follow; private vs. public.
I would’ve expected that something as personal as photos would do better in a private setting, but it certainly underestimates how badly people like to share things on Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. And that’s likely been a major stumbling block to Path’s growth.
There’s also one other major difference between Path and Instagram: the filters. Path doesn’t give you any way to edit your photos, so if you have an older iPhone with a mediocre camera, like I do, then you’re stuck sharing mediocre photos. The hyper-saturated colors Instagram and similar photo apps are a good way to make low-quality, smartphone photos look artsy.
I’d like to think the wild success of Instagram can be attributed to more than Hipstamatic-y photo effects, but am I underestimating just how much people like them? In all fairness, my favorite photo of me and Megan was taken in Hipstamatic.