There’s an interesting exchange on Slate on one of my favorite bands, Radiohead. They have a new CD coming out next week. The two critics have very different takes on the new CD: Gerald Marzorati is pretty positive, while Sasha Frere-Jones is more critical, but it’s the kind of criticism in which you say things like
Their work reeks of that middlebrow embrace of Modernist gestures without any of Modernism’s heavy lifting…. They’re the Merchant Ivory of rock, reassuring people that nothing in that big bad world of popular culture has really happened in the last 30 years.
Rather than, “It doesn’t rock.” But for whatever reason, it’s hard to talk about Radiohead with sounding like a cross between Clement Greenberg, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Hunter S Thompson.