.

Radiohead Swagger on 'Thief'

Band marries old and new sounds on sixth album

May 9, 2003 12:00 AM ET

"We wanted to relearn the art of putting out shorter songs," says Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien. "Keeping it succinct instead of taking the listener on a journey."

On their sixth album, Hail to the Thief (due June 10th), Radiohead return to the masterful songwriting of their early work but flavor it with the experimentation of their last two CDs, 2000's Kid A and 2001's Amnesiac. Songs pulsate, skitter electronically and turn into distorted gospel numbers -- but they also rock.

"On tour in 2001 in America, I think we learned to swagger as a band," O'Brien explains. "We wanted to capture that on record. We also didn't want to spend too long in the studio."

The group recorded Thief primarily over a marathon two-week session in Los Angeles with their customary producer, Nigel Godrich. The results are stunning, such as on the opener, "2 + 2 = 5," which builds from droning blips into passionate rock. Its lyrics include the title phrase "Hail to the thief," which O'Brien says is not intended simply as a reference to George W. Bush.

Other highlights include the fuzzed-out "Myxomatosis," which takes its name from a disease that killed British rabbits, and the yearning ballad "I Will," on which singer Thom Yorke is accompanied by just a keyboard.

While Thief is gloomy, the recording had one bright spot, according to O'Brien: "This is the first album where, at the end of making it, we haven't wanted to kill each other."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com