Still Lazy After All These Years

Amusingly endless Twitter thread from last week (is “Twitter thread” even what they’re called?) about a review I wrote in….1995! People get so defensive about that Radiohead band, jeez.

3 comments

  1. For the record: (1) “The Bends” is a good record; (2) “Fake Plastic Trees” is my favorite Radiohead song, and (3) “OK Computer” is wildly overrated.
    That said, even if you accept the premise that “OK Computer” is some kind of early-millennial masterpiece it doesn’t follow that you need to be on the record as liking the band’s output beforehand. What nonsense. I don’t think Lester Bangs had to put up with this shit because people didn’t take pictures of his columns and post them to an international computer network FOREVER. (OK Computer indeed.) He was allowed to change his mind about “Exile on Main Street” of all things.
    And finally — a twitter embed in a blog? Now I’ve seen everything!

    Like

  2. via facebook:

    Jaz Jacobi
    “Here’s Chuck Eddy’s review of THE BENDS in SPIN May 1995 which is spot-on and incredibly prescient”

    Chuck Eddy
    I love how so many assume I’d want to “take this one back” because history has so obviously proved me wrong. Guess I’ll be eating those words for dinner forever.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I’ve been thinking a bunch lately about consensus, and how people seem to feel good if they can latch onto an opinion that is indisputably true because everyone they know holds it dear. I have people roll their eyes and call me a “troll” or an “edgelor… See More

    Scott Seward
    I remember Matthew Perpetua! that name is a blast from the past. That review rules. Everybody know they peaked with “Creep”. It was all downhill into their arse after that.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Scott Seward I remember during MTV’s “Buzz Bin” phase, they kept trying to push the same few bands [post-“Creep” Radiohead and Blind Melon in particular] over and over, until finally a new single caught on. I felt like, “the people have spoken, choose something new!” 🙂

    Scott Seward

    Scott Seward
    best spring break clip ever.

    Jaz Jacobi
    My fondest MTV spring break “what do the frat dudes in attendance makes of THIS?” memory was when Ween performed on air.

    Chuck Eddy
    Ha, I still don’t get Ween either though. (Haven’t got high in decades, fwiw…)

    Jaz Jacobi
    I don’t like Ween, either, I just thought the sight of them playing their dorky college-novelty hit in front of two thousand muscular tanned bros was kind of a surreal moment

    Jaz Jacobi
    Wow, the guy flashing the crowd in that spring break video at 3:27 is such a goofy contrast with this band’s future deity-like reputation as gloomy geniuses

    Nicole Kessler
    Well, Matthew is a creep who already peaked, no wonder he relates.

    Chuck Eddy
    Pretty sure he got upset about an Animal Collective review I wrote once, too. Nice to know he’s still around. In fairness, I doubt he’s kept up with my life, either.

    Jazz Jacobi

    Jaz Jacobi
    Wow, that is far from the funniest angry comment, even

    Jaz Jacobi
    Chuck, maybe you should put out an annotated collection of your writings, with voluminous footnotes to explain away all the in-jokes and asides, for readers with no sense of humor. [Or Radiohead fans, which is pretty much the same thing.]

    Jaz Jacobi
    I just realized that Radiohead very likely is the most revered band that I can’t name three members of.

    Chuck Eddy
    Okay, quick, name 3 Foo Fighters. (Less revered maybe, but still.)

    Jaz Jacobi
    Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, um, that guy who was in Sunny Day Real Estate, William something?

    Chuck Eddy
    Wow, you’re better than me. I don’t know shit about band members.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I envy the brain space you clearly are able to devote to actual important matters, instead

    Jaz Jacobi
    Someday I will win thou$ands on ROCK ‘N’ ROLL JEOPARDY, maybe.

    ———————

    Sara Sherr
    I like this album more than you do and I started reading Perpetua again but the reverence for this band confounds me. Or any band. I don’t care if people like what I like. Or if they get bad reviews. Also Twitter is weird.

    Chuck Eddy
    Yeah, I still don’t get Twitter at all, and pretty sure I never will.

    Sara Sherr
    Chuck Eddy the weird thing about Twitter is that people will trash everything but lose their minds if their thing gets trashed. I guess that’s just the internet. I only really use it for business purposes (and read a few friends and feeds I like) as I only really have time to meaningfully connect with one social media platform at a time.

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    I actually have a lot of love for 21st century Radiohead (particularly Kid A, In Rainbows & A Moon Shaped Pool) but this album always struck me as overlong and transitional. The review is definitely glib by today’s “if you don’t like it, why acknowledge it” standard, but I’m amazed people are *mad* about digging up an irreverent review of *Radiohead* rather than amused if not appreciative of it. But they’re definitely a band people get poe-faced about. saw at least two people refer to it in the replies as “unimpeachable.” No idea how that’s less absurd a descriptor than Suede.

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    I’ve gone back and forth with Matt over the years. We have similar tastes but he’s way more evangelical and earnest than me. I’m waaaay more interested in someone making snickery, specific observations about my favorite albums than the usual “oh it’s so human and universal and epic” word salad. But a dismissive first person review always gets some people’s back up.

    Stephen Thomas Erlewine
    Anthony Cohan-Miccio also…”Fake Plastic Trees” really DOES sound like Suede, a band who were much bigger in the UK than Radiohead were in 1995. Suede didn’t have an American hit but were certainly better regarded than Radiohead was at the time of The Bends, too. Signed, a Suede partisan who likes the transitional nature of The Bends and thinks modern Radiohead is worthy whenever he listens to them, which is invariably only the week they put out a new album.

    John Darnielle
    Sci-Fi Lullabies can still give Radiohead a run for their money, and I’m a Radiohead fan

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    yeah I think some people were like “suede and radiohead are nothing alike!” but they’re coming from 25 years distance and keyed in on iconography rather than dealing with both primarily as U.K. alt-radio power balladeers

    Jaz Jacobi
    I still don’t know why nobody asked the London Suede to do a commercial for English Leather

    Ned Raggett
    Huh. I mean, I ran the Suede online mailing list for years and have always enjoyed Radiohead (active listening in both cases is pretty well in the past, it’s inculcated), but this specific comparison point never occurred to me. Don’t have a problem with it at all, I should note! Just one of those “Hmm, hadn’t thought of it that way things.” But it is all bringing a slew of crazy memories haunting the open air mall across from UC Irvine in 1995 so there’s that I guess.

    Nicole Kessler
    Stephen Thomas Erlewine I think this is maybe why I enjoy The Bends so much?

    —————–

    Brian MacDonald
    I’ll never get people who hold grudges over differing music opinions published decades ago.

    Brian MacDonald
    it’s fine to look back and roll eyes. But to go to the trouble to post online about it? why?

    Michaelangelo Matos
    Brian MacDonald I had to block someone in a group because he WILL NOT GET OVER something I wrote in 1999 to a seriously creepy point. (His photo didn’t help–clearly psychotic.)

    Michaelangelo Matos
    lol then there’s the critic I had to block for not getting over something I wrote in 2003

    Nate Patrin
    I still don’t believe I got yelled at TEN YEARS LATER by a producer for not liking an early album of his while still noting his work held promise
    like, aren’t you supposed to be more angry at the “I liked his old stuff better” critics?

    ————-

    John Darnielle
    your “Bends” review is one of my favorite things you’ve written, and is a fair and generally favorable review. however, cards on the table, I reflexively agree with any piece of writing that asserts, rightly, that Billy Corgan sucks.

    Chris Molanphy
    What this reminded me of most, honestly, was the wave of reviews that greeted Weezer’s 𝘗𝘪𝘯𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘰𝘯 the next year, which WeezHeads (term I just made up) now revel in as evidence of Critics Who Just Didn’t Get It circa the early–mid ’00s. I actually love 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 (my second-favorite Radiohead after 𝘒𝘪𝘥 𝘈; the one I actually find overrated is 𝘖𝘒 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘳) but agree with those above that your ’95 review reflected a pretty fair line of criticism about RH—and all of those second-wave alt-rock bands trying to follow their early-’90s successes—at the time. In other words, I can hold more than one competing thought in my head at the same time.

    Chuck Eddy
    Oddly, I gave Pinkerton a rather glowing review! In L.A. Weekly. Though that I paired it with the ’96 album by the Presidents of the United States of America still might offend some WeezeHeads in retrospect, who knows.

    Mara Kuge
    Chris Molanphy I always try to tell younger people that it’s not like the critics all banded together in a coalition to write bad reviews of “Pinkerton.” They listened to it and correctly determined it sucked.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Chris Molanphy I always think of the pre-2000s rejection of Weezer as haplessly unhip when I see these latter-day complaints about Radiohead denials of that time, too. ALTERNATIVE PRESS gave Weezer a cover story when PINKERTON came out–which made it sound like an interesting record, as I recall, and made me curious about hearing it–but the subsequent letters page was full of holier-than-thou types sending in nasty screeds–most likely taking the trouble to write it on paper and put a stamp on it back then, rather than the few-clicks-away reflexivity of the Internet-era crank, even–about how they dared to sully their publication by granting coverage to such a lameass poseur alterna-cash-in novelty act like Weezer. Which is funny in retrospect since not only A] Weezer somehow became the coin of the realm of the future emo audience, but also B] I’m sure you could cherrypick any random issue of that same mag and find a dozen less credible acts being covered at any given point.

    Jaz Jacobi
    This complaint about THE BENDS not being praised as manna from the heavens at the time [notice that even Radiohead purists can’t seem to defend PABLO HONEY?] is just revisionist history by people who act like their future canonical status should have been predictable from the outset–people really have forgotten that Beck, Weezer and Radiohead were considered the very face of commercial cash-in one-hit-wonder alterna-schtick in 1995.

    Chuck Eddy
    Beck hit with what seemed like a novelty song! (A la Eminem, earlier.)

    Jaz Jacobi
    I believe the only mention of Weezer in the SPIN ALTERNATIVE RECORD GUIDE was a snarky putdown blaming Cheap Trick for making them possible.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I first heard Eminem on MTV’s 120 MINUTES, maybe a month or two before he broke pop–I guess at that Beasties-besotten point in time, “white rapper” equaled “alternative rock.” This seems kind of weird now, but I guess MTV thought he had the best shot at selling to the Fun Lovin’ Criminals audience?

    Chris Molanphy
    I interviewed Guided by Voices for a 1996 cover story in CMJ, and a band member went off on Weezer and then begged me not to put their name in the story. He called them “nerd rock” and all but spat when he said it. I put the “nerd rock” reference in the story, left the band’s name out but gave so many clues I’m not sure how anybody couldn’t have guessed (miraculously it’s on Google Books—here you go):
    https://books.google.com/books?id=OS0EAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA1973&lr&rview=1&pg=PA1993&fbclid=IwAR3eLOzwVmpS4-6MRnGyHyKPhz6zAyhHIoZ8TmM8tYGkFSrPcWJIma5LKpw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Mara Kuge
    As an Angeleno, it can not be overstated enough that Beck was a pretty big local live act with a massive radio hit when he got signed, while Weezer were “first of third on Tuesday night at Raji’s” and got lucky there was a major label signing frenzy.

    Mara Kuge
    Chris Molanphy Possum Dixon were the superior nerd-rock act from LA

    Michaelangelo Matos
    Mara Kuge lol even though I know “Watch That Girl Destroy Me,” when I saw the band name I defaulted to this.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Chris Molanphy “Nerd rock,” huh? The same Guided By Voices that do all the songs about robot boys and cut-out witches? 🙂

    Chris Molanphy
    @Jaz: Right, read the article I linked to—I make that exact point.

    Jaz Jacobi
    Oops, I do that all the dang time, sorry!

    Jaz Jacobi
    “I like to hear shit that just kicks ass, rocks, and is real”–wow, that sounds just like one of GBV’s fans after the sixth beer

    Jaz Jacobi
    [is six beers a lot of beers? I’ve never had alcohol in my life, which I guess would make me a “nerd rocker” in the eyes of GBV]

    Chris Molanphy
    Six beers is enough to start acting like Robert Pollard onstage, let’s put it that way.

    ———————–

    Dan DeLuca
    Some people said nice things about you on that thread too though

    Chuck Eddy
    Yeah, I noticed a couple. Glad they chimed in.

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    I’m glad Zach lipez noted how you can love an album AND love a dismissive review of it, if the review picks up on details and describes them entertainingly. Black Sabbath deserves their hallowed place in the rock canon AND Christgau feared this ever since he saw an astrology column in a leftie newspaper! Both can be true! But some people value affirmation more than distinct perspectives. It’s ok if you go to reviews saying “why do I love this album?” rather than “what do you think, writer?” But the latter has value.

    Graham Ashmore
    Yes, there are some sharp, funny comments in your defence.

    ———————

    Charles Aaron
    iirc, I think the reason ok computer wasn’t the SPIN lead review that month (oh, the disrespect!) was down to those precious promo cassettes locked in the walkmans. we couldn’t get one to barry until late in the cycle & i had to assign an illustration, so we went w/wyclef instead. i liked the album & barry wrote a great, rave review. the fact that there are still extended aggrieved threads by radiohead obsessives about old reviews makes me very glad i left twitter.

    John Dougan
    A few years ago I had a student at a college in New Jersey send me an angry email about a slightly negative review of a Saccharine Trust album I’d written for All Music Guide in 1990! My response was not diplomatic.

    Michaelangelo Matos
    Mariah Carey fans emailed me for years because I didn’t put any of her songs on my top 100 1990s singles list I made one night because I was stuck inside in NYC without any money and needed to entertain myself. It was on my blog. It had and has no institutional gravitas, but you couldn’t tell those fans.

    Sara Sherr
    Michaelangelo Matos they don’t know or care. They prob just Googled her and found it that way. It’s not like she’s some obscure artist who is consistently underrated! It’s never enough for
    ·
    Chris Molanphy
    I have been especially leery of the “Lambs” ever since I started writing a column about pop music a decade and a half ago. It’s a good thing I came around (of my own accord) on “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” because given all the writing I’ve had to do about that song for the last two years, they might’ve strung me up if I weren’t complimentary. They are relentless.

    Jaz Jacobi
    I’m awaiting the revelation that, all this time, poptimism was just a method for music writers to preserve their safety by avoiding the vicious, bloody wrath of Mariah Carey fans.

    —————

    Tom Ewing
    It seemed an astonishingly petty thing to post tbh – like, so fucking what?

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    i thiiiink Matt was more interested in showing what an unsacred calf Radiohead was initially (maybe kids don’t believe it), but couldn’t resist grumbling and then you get the mix of newly and forever offended.

    Chuck Eddy
    So: They weren’t sacred calves yet, but they really SHOULD have been.

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    The album contains no impeachable offense!

    Raymond Cummings
    I agree with Tom.

    Sara Quell
    “A little reminder of how American” anglophiles have damaged the UK’s reputation worse than Washington and George III combined

    Nicole Kessler
    I would have never seen this otherwise because he has me blocked on twitter for making fun of his dumb and bad takes.

    Raymond Cummings
    This tweet feels very “I’ve just opened and read my first ever issue of SPIN Magazine.”

    Like

  3. via facebook:

    Anthony Cohan-Miccio
    So I put this album on for the first time in forever, and I’d say you may underrated by…a point. Maybe two if you were feeling nice. But *in* 1995? Just one. Ironically, Suede is a FANTASTIC reference point for its value. While I don’t like it as much as Suede’s Coming Up the following year (same as you), it does do that thing they lost with Butler, where the band is playing solidly and then the guitar YANKS the song to the right, forcing the band has to pull it back while Yorke wails his head off. And there’s a few ballads that manage drama even without that trick! Compared to Anderson (or esp “Creep”), it’s not always clear what’s got Yorke so down, which can be as annoyingly alt autopilot as the lingering bonosity. Feels long even at 12 songs, but in hindsight Radiohead having the goal of ROCKING you has gained novelty so I can see why the 90s die-hards who don’t question why Yorke is upset see its dramatic competency as “unimpeachable.” I’d just say it wasn’t as *merely* MOR as a 5 suggests. But wait til they find out you gave Morning Glory and Great Escape 6s in a joint review! Personally, I think it’s great that SPIN had you on the Britpop beat.

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s