Sunday, 19 April 2009

Pitcharse v Radiohead

You know Pitchfork really gets on my nerves sometimes. Occasionally it seems that I can’t pinpoint the reason precisely, but I think it has something to do with them battering records that I personally do not think are that bad at all. It seems that often they take a scapel to an artists work without reasoned or logical approach.

Take for instance their latest review of the first three Radiohead albums – the collectors editions. They rightly give The Bends and OK Computer perfect 10s (no argument there – these are perfect works of art), but proceed to give Pablo Honey a 5.4.

Keep in mind that they don’t really say why it was bad, simply using adjectives like ‘loose’ and ‘dreadful’ to describe some individual songs on the album without further qualification. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t require a bar by bar breakdown of each song, but a bit more information on how these songs are bad might not go astray.

Pablo Honey seems to be the ritual kicking dog of the Radiohead back catalogue. In my own (humble, honest etc.) opinion, it really isn’t as bad as Pitcharse make it out to be. Look, I admit, it may not be as good as the Bends, but then, few albums are. In terms of the context of Pablo Honey in Radiohead’s career, it was their first record, it had some catchy songs on it, a darn sight better than many other debut albums. To be completely honest, I prefer ‘Pablo Honey’ to ‘Amnesiac’ or ‘Hail to the Thief’.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is not really connected to how good Pablo Honey is or not, and whether it should deserve more than a 5 out of 10 on some purely subjective scale developed in the mind of some stranger who writes for some website in a different country (the irony of writing that last bit hasn’t escaped me either), it is if you enjoy a particular song or record, you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so. Music, like all art, is a purely subjective experience. Those who try to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like are simply trying to disrupt this experience. And that can’t be a good thing.

Oh and yeah, Pitchfork, I really like that song ‘I Can’t’ of Pablo Honey. Shame on you for calling it ‘run of the mill, ya bastards.


Chris L. said...

I agree, I sometimes feel like I am the only one who loves Pablo Honey. Where else would they have Radiohead start? Not every band makes their best record in the beginning of their career.

Darragh said...

Hi Chris.

Well, some bands have great first records! Your own band for instance.

Sure, Pablo Honey ain't going to win any grammy awards any time soon or be consider the magnum opus of the Radiohead back catalog, but it is still an enjoyable enough album...and in the end, thats all that counts for me!