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  • Writer's pictureMatteo Pascale

Responding to The Onion regarding Thom Yorke and Radiohead

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Many years ago in October 2018, The Onion wrote what I consider their best-ever written article. The article is titled, “Thom Yorke Admits Vast Majority of Musical Output Fueled by Constant Fear of Being One-Upped by Coldplay” as shown above in a well-crafted screenshot. Nonetheless, the subtleness of this article is absolutely genius. Personally, being a huge fan of Britpop and especially Radiohead. Personal remarks and opinions aside The Onion article regarding Thom Yorke begin with,

"OXFORD, ENGLAND—In an uncharacteristically frank and revelatory discussion of his inspirations and creative process, Radiohead frontman and solo artist Thom Yorke admitted Thursday that the vast majority of music he makes is fueled solely by the constant fear of being one-upped by British rock band Coldplay.”

The construction of this article's opening statement is worded so accurately and mimics the sarcastic tone of Thom Yorke perfectly. Obviously, the wording was so crucial for this opening remark to fool people into biting the onion, by thinking it’s Thom Yorke himself. Regarding Thom Yorke's tone in interviews is something I know personally a lot about, from reading endless interviews of him on the NEMs website and binge-watching his interviews, commentaries, and music video on YouTube.Getting back to The Onion article,

” When I first heard ‘Yellow’ almost 20 years ago, I knew we were in trouble. I saw no way we could ever compete with them—Radiohead almost broke up completely,” said Yorke, revealing that the opening notes of Coldplay’s simple piano ballad ‘The Scientist’ frustrated him to tears when he realized that he would likely never create anything as sonically perfect. “Yes, we received some minor praise for Kid A and Amnesiac. But critics failed to realize that those albums were just vain attempts to compete with the gorgeously understated melodies and feather-light falsetto that made A Rush Of Blood To The Head so hauntingly beautiful. After that album came out, Jonny, our guitarist, called me in a panic and said we needed to get back in the studio immediately. Coldplay may not have put anything out recently, but I know that they’re just waiting, conserving their strength, preparing to release an incredible concept album and forever unseat us as the second coming of Pink Floyd. It might be enough if, just once, [undisputed genius singer-songwriter and spiritual heir to the musical and thematic legacies of Depeche Mode and Talking Heads] Chris [Martin] would say ‘good job, mate’ after I put out an album, but until then, I’ll try and take motivation from living in his incredibly long shadow.” Yorke added that, had it not been for Coldplay’s epic, genre-defining Super Bowl halftime show, he may never have considered bringing Radiohead’s music to large stadiums.”

Just to address my thoughts the wittiest line in the last paragraph of The Onion Article is.

“Albums were just vain attempts to compete with the gorgeously understated melodies and feather-light falsetto that made A Rush Of Blood To The Head so hauntingly beautiful”

If you listened to Radiohead's albums, Kid A and Amnesiac I do not need to explain the references. If you have listened to them, Kid A is something reminiscent as addressed earlier of sounds and Depeche Mode but more melodic. Using synthesizers, odd melodies, and atonal drumbeats of course all three elements combined make a masterpiece of an album. Amnesiac takes the same principles of Kid A and samples its tracks twisting and turning them beyond belief. Amnesiac out of Radiohead's whole discography would have to be the most niche album by their fans.

I very much do wish this article was longer. Like something you would find in The Pitchfork Review on the internet. The length of The Onion article is only one paragraph. The criticism I have of this article is how short it is, it's more of a post than an article. Secondly, the second half of the divided quote is nowhere near as well-worded or in tone as the first listed part. but the second part of the divided quote absolutely is great at spending a ridiculous narrative. Adding great vocabulary and additional bands that make sense in reference points to Radiohead. For years I’ve thought there was something so bizarre about Thom Yorke. I’ve on so many occasions I’ve tried sitting down to write jokes about him for my stand-up comedy set, but it was always just too challenging. I know for a fact eventually, that joke or set of jokes about Thom Yorke will come to me. As I say on my podcast I’m going to cut it.

The Source:

The Onion

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