Arts, Music

Thom Yorke Packs Too Much Into ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’

Thom Yorke’s familiar falsetto rings through his new album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, which was released unannounced. The lead singer of Radiohead previously released an album on his own called Eraser, and Yorke has significantly improved his tracks in his latest release.

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes has been released on vinyl record for a hefty price of $30, but the album can be purchased on BitTorrent for $6, which comes with all mp3’s and a music video of the first song. It is strange and remains a mystery, though, why Yorke has released his new album through BitTorrent—mainly since the website has been known for illegal downloading and sharing of files. The album features eight songs which all have the type of music that Yorke has been known to produce.

Yorke is infamous for his eight-bit bass lines, reverberating tunes, repeating sounds, and ethereal lyrics, but it seems to work better in this album as Yorke has seemed to slowly master more of his own style.

The first song featured on the album is “A Brain in a Bottle,” which seems to be the most prominent song on the album since it has a music video as well, yet still does not appeal the most. The song is filled with discords of sound, wobbly sounding effects, and jerky and uneven rhythms—the sounds are basically try to play in tune with the main beat of the song. The song features Yorke’s haunting and anxious voice, but does nothing to hide the fact that the song seems to be many samples of sounds put together. Along with the sixth track on the album, “There is no ice (for my drink),” the sounds that Yorke seems to throw in do not do much, since it is basically a bunch of sounds mashed up together. Both seem to have a wavering “alien-spaceship” like quality sound, but alas, with only Yorke’s voice in the back, there are no words to add meaning to the song. “Mother Lode” is another song on the track that unfortunately falls into this category as well.

The downfall of the album seems to lie in “Pink Section” which is Yorke’s attempt at creating a soundscape that wants to draw in listeners, but it only pushes them away instead. The track has no words to it, consisting only of unpleasant sounds created by the chords and pieces that Yorke has chosen to put into this song. This song unfortunately does not portray the ever-wondrous soundscapes that Radiohead as a whole is able to produce.

There are a few songs that save the album from coming apart, which would be “Guess Again,” “Interference,” “Truth Ray,” and arguably the best song on the album, “Nose Grows Some.” These few songs really show York’s potential for creative and harmonious melodies, in contrast to the clashing sounds that he put into the other songs on the album. These songs all have an uplifting tone as well compared to the other songs that were placed on the album. Both “Interference” and “Guess Again” have more audible lyrics, filled with metaphors and similes. “Interference” features lyrics such like, “We stare into each other’s eyes, like jackals, ravens,” which can be interpreted with both a somber and uplifting tone. In “Guess Again,” one can find relations to “The King of Limbs,” a previously released soundtrack. All of these sounds have more smoothly flowing tunes that the listener can actually enjoy.

Coming to an end, the album does not seem to stand very well on its own. Although the album has come some distance since Yorke’s last album, there is too much discord in the tracks for the album to be considered impressive. If Yorke can find his balance as he has approached in some of his songs, the album could be greatly improved.

Featured Image Courtesy of XL

October 1, 2014