Album Review: Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

13 Oct

Guess what?  We welcome back a prior contributor, Jamil Larkins, who has blessed us with a new piece.  Radiohead frontman and human strobelight Thom Yorke released a new album and if you were to listen to NME and Pitchfork (probably, didn’t look it up) it’s better than fornication with egret.  Pitchfork definitely refers to sex as that right?  Or coital continuum.  Fuck that site.

Anyway, before we continue let’s solicit your views and make you follow all of the accounts associated with this so you get to be incited and earn insight.  To follow Jamil on Twitter, click on this hyperlink and his social media imprint of StraightFreshNet.  To follow Satirical Thoughts, hit us up on Twitter (almost at TEN followers now, watch out Oran Juice Jones) and Facebook.  Take it away Jamil.

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Snap Judgments:

For a long time, Radiohead stood as one of the few enigmas left in the overall spectrum of modern music. They were to be felt and to be heard, by those only who could grasp what their messages were (those people being Computer Science & Engineering majors at your school who get no play outside of their PSN).

Radiohead’s cult following of fans have carried them into a seemingly canonical place in electronic music history. (“Electronic music history” is a phrase I hope I never have to ever type or say out loud ever again.) To Radiohead fans, Thom Yorke is the messiah, sent to Earth to save mortals from listening to the radio or selling-out. To the casual music fan, ask them what their favorite Radiohead song is and they’ll say “Creep” and ask them what their second favorite song is and they’ll reply “oh I like them all”. It would be easy to simply minimize Radiohead as boring emo-nerd computer rock for people who don’t like fun, but who said I was above taking the easy way out?

Anyway, Thom Yorke just released a brand new album out of the (computer) blue. I really want to make immature nerd jokes about how much of a wing ding he is for releasing an album through BitTorrent, but at least Thom Yorke has enough self awareness to realize that the only people who still care about his music are the people smart enough to navigate and purchase an album through BitTorrent.

My unedited first impressions of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes:

I listened to 10 seconds before I shut it off because I just saw this on Twitter and I know it will make me happy before I enter a melancholic matrix of emotions.

K, here goes.

A BRAIN IN A BOTTLE

Very non-threatening house track, safe for kids of all ages. This is what’s playing in your car radio in “Midnight Club” when you’re in-between missions and just exploring the city. Would be a decent intro if Yorke didn’t sing on it.

This wasn’t special but I didn’t hate it and probably would prefer an instrumental version so I can dance to it while I’m cleaning the house.

 

GUESS AGAIN!

Eh, this isn’t bad. Yorke really is not caring about whether you can understand him clearly or not, so don’t expect to hum along to any of these joints. You might hear this in a Scion commercial in 2015.

 

INTERFERENCE

This feels more like an interlude, which is probably the last thing this album needs right now considering I’m close to kicking my feet up and snoozing. Coffee break is looming.

 

THE MOTHER LODE

Why sing at all? Remove the vocals, and you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for the new Tekken 8 game on Xbox One. More synth and more drum loops. Beginning to think Yorke recorded this whole album’s vocals through a collect call like Hell Rell’s old Diplomat skits.

If not for anything so far, atmospheric is probably the best word I can single out to describe the sounds.

 

TRUTH RAY

Every song so far has been ruined by Yorke jumping on and singing at a horrible moment.

*Taps foot, nods head*

“Oh hey this beat is nice, I think I might like thi…”

*Yorke sings*

“Ugh”

-scene-

THERE IS NO ICE (FOR MY DRINK)

This is cool. Actually, this would be cool if it was only like, say, a minute long. 7 minutes of ~vibes~ can become a bit overwhelming, and I had to fight the urge to skip ahead through this song. Throughout, there are some nicely chopped Swizz Beatz-esque vocals that appear in the background that I thought someone was going to start rapping over. I was wrong.

I think this was the song playing in that Japanese strip club Bill Murray was at in Lost In Translation. Iono tho.

 

PINK SECTION

Just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out what this was because I thought I missed it after first listen. I’m listening to a YouTube rip and it’s all one track because you got me confused if you thought I was buying this off BitTorrent. This is another faux-interlude, setting an actually very fitting natural feel for hopefully a strong final track. Wind whistles and heavy piano chords always mean business.

NOSE GROWS SOME

This was my favorite song because I knew it was close to the end, so I listened a little more carefully and put Ree Drummond on the Food Network on mute to hear more clearly.

 

It makes me want to dance like this:

 

The completely unconventional method of this album’s release overshadowed the actual content, which has led to a very solid amount of hype. Yorke, along with Radiohead, have been at the forefront of artists’ rights and distribution tactics in the digital age. I don’t think Yorke fumbled the opportunity to put out a classic album through this method, as this was the first sample test for maybe something bigger (a new Radiohead album?) to come.

 

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes was, at times, a luxurious and emotional roller-coaster ride through synths and drums. This was like a really beautifully plated dish of food, but every bite tasted like college-ruled notebook paper. The surprise BitTorrent release and the novelty of presentation took away from the underwhelming and very typically boring and digitally depressing content.

 

I need more coffee. I’m going to go listen to Migos.

 

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