Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gagging Order

Song: Gagging Order
Artist: Radiohead
Album: Com Lag

While the world waits for the next Radiohead album, which is rumored to come out sometime this year, the band has decided to release “Com Lag” an EP that was released only in Japan and Australia in 2004. “Com Lag” came on the heels of their last studio album “Hail to the Thief” containing a live version of “Thief’s” “2 + 2 = 5” as well as remixes and a handful of b-sides. It’s as long as the official album, and a true surprise it wasn’t released anywhere else until this month.

I consider myself a huge Radiohead fan, though while I thought that virtually every album they had released was THE record of that year, “Hail to the Thief” unfortunately left me cold. While “Kid A” and “Amnesiac” continued Radiohead along the “strange” path that they began on “O.K. Computer,” those records were filled with killer songs that got better with repeated listens. “Thief” continued the weird, but I really felt like the songwriting had suffered, and the experimentation was nothing they hadn’t done before.

What many Radiohead fans have really wanted was the straightforward rock songwriting they perfected by their sophomore album “The Bends.” The only thing that came close was the live favorite “True Love Waits” that still has never been released in studio form. In that vein, “Gagging Order” is a pretty straightforward acoustic ballad about, well it seems finding a dead body at a crime scene. (Still happy!) I really dig this song and am happy they are releasing the EP so more people can hear it.

“Com Lag” is a must for Radiohead fans but it also shows the interesting choices the band made while compiling “Thief.” The “Los Angeles” version of “I Will” streamlines the song and leaves out the vocal effect from the “Thief” version. I think I like it better. While Thom Yorke’s solo record was well received critically, it just reminded me how much I missed old exciting Radiohead. I eagerly await the next record and hope they can get some of their edge back.


“2 + 2 = 5” Live:

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