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Message 191: Stones

A reviewer on Amazon.com wrote (in part) about the book:

Perhaps the most disappointing feature of the book is that, in its densely worded 200 pages, it doesn’t even begin to touch on a lot of questions I’ve thought about on my own and discussed over the years with other Radiohead fans in the less wordy context of message boards: the cyclical nature of OK Computer (car crash in tracks 1 and 12); whether the chorus of “Optimistic” (or “Creep” for that matter) is intended as ironic, which is a much harder question than it at first seems; possible Yeats allusions in Go to Sleep; different narrators on OK Computer and the frequent switch of narrator within a single song, and what meaning if any is to be drawn from it; disparate uses of child imagery throughout the album Kid A (title track versus coda to “Idioteque”) and in b-sides like “Fog.” These are not meant to be representative of all the territory this book doesn’t cover, they are just a few of countless small but meaningful areas left unexplored.

The critique, overall, is useful. The car crashes bookending OK Computer, the irony of “Optimistic,” Yeats allusions in “Go To Sleep” (I’d love to know which Yeats poems), and narrator switches (something that’s always interested me as well and that I addressed in the lecture “Radiohead’s America” concerning “2+2=5”). I did want to point out that “child imagery” is discussed in the book’s introduction, pages 2-3 including an endnote. It’s odd the reader mentions “Fog” as that’s a song I quote and discuss. Admittedly, it’s hardly an extensive or intensive discussion.

The book does leave countless small but meaningful areas unexplored, as the reader says—every book does, and any book on Radiohead cannot help but leave stones unturned; the stones are too numerous.

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