An avalanche of thoughts about A Moon Shaped Pool has been expressed since the day Radiohead’s ninth LP has been released. Some of them were so precocious, they were online even before the album was out. Many words were spent to describe and (in the majority of cases) to praise AMSP: “Radiohead’s best album since…”, “Cool and Original Marketing Campaign…”, “This album represent art’s resistance…”
And indeed, even though you may not love at first listen, this album is a good one. Among touching moments such as “Daydreaming” and long awaited studio-version of “True Love Waits”, reflective breaks as “Desert Island Disk” or “Decks Dark”, In Rainbows’ echoes such as “Ful Stop”, AMSP it’s once again full of mutations compared to Radiohead’s previous albums. As they leave King of Limbs’ rhythmic experimentation, which was also cornerstone of Yorke’s side project Atoms For Peace, Radiohead develop orchestral-oriented tracks, often heading toward a soundtracking style.
Masterpiece? We’ll leave this judgement to those who meticolously described A Moon Shaped Pool’s songs and creative path.
More importantly, throughout social networks, radios and among friends, it seems a profound debate has spread about Radiohead’s new work; something very widespread nowadays, but not in such a lively and, thank god, often productive way.
Among detractors somebody ask Oxford based band to “take back their guitars”, or consider Yorke’s voice got worse through time. Among ‘sycophants’ there’s who thinks we already reached 2016 musical quality peak with AMSP and who extoll Radiohead’s unaltered capability to reinvent their music through the years.
Even if it may sound weird, in some sense this is maybe one of Radiohead’s greatest quality: the inability to have an agreement in between who consider them too far from their original sounds and who adore Radiohead (sometimes even too) unconditionally. This is because Yorke’s band is and has always been able to head towards unexplored sound landscapes. Take for instance the deep difference in between “True Love Waits” double version: the historical one with the last, previously unreleased, one. Such deep changes (and actually, AMSP was definitely less shocking than, for example, KID A was in 2000) are lifeblood for a musical planet that risks to mold due to monotony and lacking of experimentation; but changes can’t reconcile everyone. That’s why after a thirty years long career, Radiohead prove themselves one of the best, if not the best, artistic phenomenon to survive the nineties, able to lure a noteworthy attention also because it splits the audience.
This ability to disorient listeners, it’s owned only by those artists who deserve the title of Pioneers.