From "The Bends" to "Hail to the Thief"
Nowadays, it is almost impossible to define a music style
because of the numerous combinations of others that combine to form new ones. I
think this is what happens to Radiohead, who is considered by the critics as one
of the best bands in the world of modern music. They have released several
studio albums, singles, and live recordings. In this essay I am going to compare
and contrast “The Bends (1995)” and “Hail to the Thief (2003)” in regard to the
instruments used, the accomplishments with each album, and the lyrics’ content.
“The Bends” was Radiohead’s second studio album. The instruments used in it
are electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, drums, and vocals. You could
say that the traditional rock instruments were used as opposed to the newer
resources available today. In their sixth studio album “Hail to the Thief,”
besides the instruments used in “The Bends,” they used some other sources, such
as electronic devices and new sounds programmed in computers.
The accomplishments they succeeded with these two albums are different. In
their beginnings, if someone had the idea that they were a one hit wonder band,
with “The Bends” this idea was quickly dismissed. Furthermore, the recording of
this album was full of expectations that were successfully completed. For
example, their recording company was expecting a way too better album than the
first one (“Pablo Honey”). While they were in tour with “The Bends,” they were
the ideal opening band. What they got from their last album was their
consolidation as an important band and a turn of 360º in their music. If the
past studio album (“Amnesiac”) was very good, with “Hail to the Thief” they
excelled, and the sound they have now is not that experimental but more mature.
In “Hail to the Thief,” the lyrics express a feeling of nonconformity and
repulsion towards George Bush, global violence, wars, and terrorism. In their
second album they express the problems of human existence, emotions, and
contradictions. It is concerned more in the interior of the self rather than the
world in which we live.
Radiohead is a clear example of the maturity a band can reach through the
years. There is an enormous difference between the sound of their second album
compared to their sixth album in many aspects, including the lyrics’ content.
They have achieved different goals with each of them, and now they belong to the
icons of modern music.