The End of the Long Form | Radiohead | Albums are a Drag


in ,


In an interview with The Believer magazine, which has yet to pop through my door annoyingly, Thom York has commented that Radiohead will probably not release another album. His reason? Making albums has ‘just become a real drag,’ and ‘none of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again.’

As The Guardian comments,

‘The problem isn’t the format – “obviously, there’s still something great about the album,” Yorke said – but with the scale and consistency of vision that is required.’

Instead, they’ll be going for shorter forms – like the EP of orchestral works they are planning – which allow them to ‘get stuck into it for a bit and see how it feels.’

I don’t blame them, or want to mourn their lack of vision or fake some Radiohead selling-out grief. But I do find this worrying in the broader vista of the arts. Scale and consistency of vision does require a huge investment of time and energy. But if people are simply not willing to invest this sort of energy then I think we will become a poorer society for it. OK Computer, Sergeant Pepper, 100 Years of Solitude… All of these are long form pieces that required huge time and effort from their creators, and unless people are prepared to make the sort of commitment to spend time creating, honing and editing them, then we simply won’t see the long form any more.

Short stories and blogs, but no novels.

EPs, but no albums.

Single canvases, but no series of works.

When the long form becomes a real drag, we are a culture in trouble. If we are only prepared to risk enough to ‘get stuck in for a bit and see how it feels’ I worry that we are going to lose the determined artistic vision that is the way ahead to newness. You know what Thom,

You ask me where the hell I’m going at thousand feet per second?
Hey man, slow down, slow down, idiot slow down, slow down…

Slow down, don’t worry about iTunes and the way the rest of music is going at crazy speeds. Take time create something of substance.


6 responses to “The End of the Long Form | Radiohead | Albums are a Drag”

  1. Good points.

    Thing is, EP’s are still a lot of work. I know. It’s a bit of a relief to be able to just release a few songs. A lot of the time, more would just muck up the thing anyway.

    Just because Radiohead says they might mess about with orchestral EP’s instead of long-plays doesn’t mean culture is over.

    Blogs and Twitter. Those have killed culture. 😉

  2. ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!! I realllly hope this is just Thom running off at the mouth. No more Radiohead albums???? Can’t… cope…

    But really, the thought of a band as insanely talented as Radiohead dismissing the full-length album as essentially not being worth the effort is a bad sign… if it really is the case that they’ve given up on this form.

  3. hmmmm
    cut them a little slack maybe,
    after 7 albums including some of the most outstanding contribution’s to popular music discography surely the innovators are allowed a change and a change of pace, I really don’t think this is Radiohead resting on their laurels simply changing pace and reopening new avenues for the flow of their creativity.
    Music and the long player are an art form but before that it was simply song, one is not necessarily better than the other; Motown’s record of singles is testament to the majesty of the short form being as valid in music as the long.
    Once again Radiohead are simply just doing what they want to (which has always been the key to their greatness) a long play that is half assed is in no way grand and a EP sharp and precise with its direction and passion can be outstanding. Leave em alone, better them keep producing than feel like giving up because they don’t have the excitement about albums that they used to

  4. Radiohead’s albums have got progressively worse since their only good one, namely ‘The Bends’.

    OK Computer is overrated in the extreme.

    Thohm Yhorkhe can knob off.

  5. Got to love hardcore Radiohead fans. Surely they were better as On a Friday? Only liked their very very early stuff.