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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Radiohead is Jawbreaker and Jawbreaker is Radiohead and… What the Fuck Does Indiana Jones Have to Do With It?

posted by on June 7 at 14:58 PM

I never realized it until yesterday, but I have the same thing going for Radiohead that I do with Jawbreaker; I can’t decide if Kid A or The Bends is my favorite record, just like I can never really choose between Dear You and 24-Hour Revenge Therapy.


The Bends, ultimately, has some of my favorite Radiohead songs on it. (But every time I say that, I have to wonder if “Just” and “The Bends” are only my favorites because of nostalgia. Either way, why’s not the point right now. For argument’s sake, this very moment, we’ll say they’re my favorite Radiohead songs because they’re the best Radiohead songs [even if they aren’t the best because admittedly my favorite anything is rarely the “best” anything because I also like Temple of Doom more than Raiders of the Lost Ark. I will not apologize for that.])


Kid A, as a record, is much more cohesive than The Bends. I mean, duh. It’s also more innovative and interesting, but the band was in an entirely different point of their career, so there’s a lot of experience behind it, unlike its sophomoric predecessor. But if you want to catalog Radiohead’s discography from best to worst, it’s the better record, right? So why, then, do I always jump to The Bends’ defense whenever someone claims that Kid A, OK Computer, or even Amnesiac is the best Radiohead record?

I tried to make sense of it by turning Radiohead into Jawbreaker despite the fact the two bands have absolutely nothing to do with one another. That’s where the “Megan thinks about things too much” curse comes into play. I have to make it make sense, I do what I do to make it make sense. So as it stands right now, my blueprint goes something like this:

Kid A is 24-Hour Revenge Therapy. It's, ultimately, the best record. The record with fewer stand alone favorites, but the record that is the most successful at being a full and complete record.

Amnesiac is Bivouac. A solid record, but it's in the middle. It's the Jan Brady; It's not the worst, it's not the best, and rarely would anyone ever argue for it to be best or worst. (OK Computer falls is this category as well. So does Hail to the Thief, for that matter.. why the fuck didn't Jawbreaker release more "awesome but mediocre in comparison to their best work" records so this stupid theory I'm working up in my head would work out better?)

The Bends is Dear You. My favorite songs exist on this album, but there are also some bombs. I mean, no song is as bad as "Oyster" but some songs always get the skip button. Like "(Nice Dream)." I want to like "(Nice Dream)," but "(Nice Dream)" ultimately bores me. (Unless it's 3 am and I'm sorta bummed and I can't sleep and the Tylenol PM has kicked in enough to put me in this weird foggy state that's actually quite comforting because I'm too relaxed to be stressed and happy about the promised sleep that lies ahead).

Pablo Honey is obviously Unfun. Obviously.

So I guess if I think of Radiohead in terms of Jawbreaker, I can admit that Kid A is the best Radiohead record, but The Bends is my favorite. Just like I can admit that Lost Ark is the best Indiana Jones movie, but Temple is retardedly my favorite. I can't say why. I like the whole beating-heart-getting-ripped-out-of-the-chest sequence, I suppose. Just like I love "Just" and that guitar that kicks in in the intro and the crazy shriek that Tom Yorke does at the 2:57 mark more than I can love any other sounds that Radiohead ever makes ever.

It's so hard being me.

RSS icon Comments


It's post like these that make me have a secret crush on you Megan Seling.

Posted by Ryan | June 7, 2007 3:18 PM

dear you is crap ... find yourself a copy of the "chesterfield king" ep please.

btw, radiohead is boring brit-papp at its worst.

sorry megan. love ya buddy.

Posted by kevin jones | June 7, 2007 3:53 PM

*I* would argue that Bivouac is the best.

Posted by kid icarus | June 7, 2007 4:21 PM

I've been intrigued by your continued references to Jawbreaker.
Dear You got me and my best friends through high school and (in conjunction with the Pixies) inspired us to start playing music together. I'm sorry but I think Jawbreaker's older stuff is kind of shitty and they simply just GOT BETTER and made Dear You. By the way, "Oyster" IS a really good song. The two-note-riff in the chorus is awesome and I can't think of any reason why a jawbreaker fan like you would hate it but still like all the other stuff - please explain. Out of curiousity, how do you feel about Jets to Brazil? I like'em. What ever happened to Blake Schwartzenbach anyways?
The Bends is the best radiohead album, followed closely by Pablo Honey.

Posted by Eric | June 7, 2007 4:52 PM

Uh, "Oyster" sucks because of its god-awful lyrics. I mean there are some bad cliche'd couplets that Mr. Schwartzenbach gets away with in various songs but none are as egregiously bad as that song.

I mean, the first few lines are all I need to convince me to turn off my stereo.

"The world is an oyster / trapped in a shell / love the taste of it / but hate the smell"

Posted by christopher hong | June 7, 2007 6:40 PM

Whatever "Christopher Hong" - that's a decent song with some good lyrics. That song isn't bad, it's just weak compared to the rest of the album (and just a small cut above "Lurker II").

PS, I just realized that Megan is definitively what was once known as an "Alterna-Teen."

No offense.

Posted by Benji | June 7, 2007 8:02 PM

You talkin' smack on "alterna-teens" now, Benji? Hold me back, "Christopher Hong."

Posted by Eric Grandy | June 7, 2007 8:12 PM

YEAH! Kid A! Way to admit the truth!

Posted by Carly D | June 7, 2007 9:01 PM

Wow, this is a really compelling post. Well done Megan, please post more. Your insight into contemporary pop music is what keeps me reading the Stranger.

Posted by I'm a Nuclear Bomb | June 7, 2007 9:58 PM

Anything you like the best is best.

Although I can't imagine anyone taking Radiohead seriously anymore.

Posted by Fawkes | June 7, 2007 10:29 PM

Happy just to find people with thesame obsession with Radiohead and Jawbreaker. Sooo good.
Dear You and Kid A certainly take the top positions, but 24 Revenge Therapy holds a different spot for me. Sort like how Pet Sounds ranks high, but you can't make direct comparisons.

Posted by christian | June 8, 2007 9:12 AM

"I'm sorry but I think Jawbreaker's older stuff is kind of shitty and they simply just GOT BETTER and made Dear You"

#4 - youre joking right?!?

dear you was a complete departure from what made jawbreaker such an interesting band to begin with. it was a really sorry attempt at garnering a mainstream audience, not that i have any of those "im punker than you because i was around back in the day" issues, but IMO Dear You is just simply a very bad pop record.

Bivouac is also a fantastic record and i would give it the # 2 spot.

Posted by kevin jones | June 8, 2007 11:16 AM

I think it's awesome that most of the comments are about Jawbreaker and not Radiohead. Kid A? The Bends? Who gives a shit?! Let's get back to the 24 Hour/Dear You debate!

I'm with Megan, Dear You is my favorite Jawbreaker record, but I will concede that 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is probably the best Jawbreaker record. I will say, however, that 24 Hour Revenge Therapy has it's stinkers too (Ache? In Sadding Around?).

I just like these posts because then I'm required to fire up Jawbreaker on iTunes and decide once again if Dear You or 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is better.

Posted by gillsans | June 8, 2007 11:58 AM

Oh yeah, I think The Last Crusade is the best Indiana Jones Movie! (Maybe just because it was so much better than Temple of Doom).

Posted by gillsans | June 8, 2007 12:04 PM

Long time, no see. I'm at a new job and really shouldn't be screwing around here...
but for my $0.02 (which is the same since the last time we had this conversation):
1) 24 Hour is the best album
2) Dear You has some great songs, some not so good. I don't think it was a grab at a mainstream audience, it just sounded different because Geffin was footing the bill.
3) Unfun is awesome because it sounds like no one was footing the bill (loud and raw).
4) Bivouac is fine, but I lose interest in some of the songs.
5) Kiss the Bottle is the best Jawbreaker (and possibly best song) ever.
6) Sorry to be this guy, but I fucking hate Radiohead. I've really tried to get into them, I've listened to every album. But I just don't get it.
7) Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best.

Posted by The_Pope_Of_Chili_Town | June 8, 2007 12:28 PM

btw, if i only knew then what i know now

Posted by kevin jones | June 8, 2007 1:20 PM

These comments are making me smile.

Eric @ 4: See what Chris says in 5. Same goes for me.

Benji @ 6: You just now realized that? I've known for years

Posted by Megan Seling | June 8, 2007 2:56 PM

I can't defend the lyrics on "oyster" but @5, if you're going to print some lyrics in order to diss them, make sure you get it right. It's actually "like the taste of it, but can't take the smell". I mean, hey, it rhymes and it does make sense, but yes, that song's lyrics aren't so strong (and i'm not trying to say it's their best song or anything) but it seems arbitrary that "oyster" sucks and the other ones don't. whatever though, not trying to dwell on this one small issue.
@12 - Mr. Jones, you probably are "punker than me" and that's fine if it makes you feel better to point that out. I found the songs on Dear You to be by far the most accessible and memorable of all their work.

So, any thoughts on Blake Schwartzenbach's next band Jets to Brazil?
What ever happened to him anyways?
I wonder if he reads the Stranger online...

Posted by Eric | June 8, 2007 3:34 PM

Orange Rhyming Dictionary=Best Album of all time. Four Cornered Night? meh. Not that great. Perfecting Loneliness? Pretty good, but not as good as Orange Rhyming Dictionary.

I've listened to Orange Rhyming Dictionary a couple hundred times and I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. Every time I listen to it, I have a new favorite song. Conrad is my favorite song though (I'm not suicidal, I swear!).

Haven't heard what ol' Blake is up to lately. I keep hearing scuttlebutt about a Jawbreaker documentary...

Posted by gillsans | June 8, 2007 4:12 PM

Blake teaches english at Hunter College in NY, if anyone is curious about his current happenings.

Posted by nerd | June 10, 2007 3:46 AM

Finally, someone mentioned Jets To Brazil. Four Cornered Night is gorgeous..

Posted by sjsj | June 12, 2007 10:30 PM

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