Thom Yorke’s new solo album is getting a lot of attention, which probably shouldn’t be surprising. I don’t know how good the album is. I haven’t heard it yet, because I’m waiting for its release on Monday.
But I want to know, why has Jonny Greenwood’s solo material never even received a fraction of the attention? His film soundtrack, ‘Bodysongâ€™, is much better than Radiohead’s last album, ‘Hail to the Thiefâ€™, which was worryingly mediocre.
A lot of critics of Radiohead’s post-OK Computer direction mistakenly laid the blame squarely at Thom Yorke’s door. But Greenwood was surely every bit as instrumental in determining Radiohead’s more mature new sound.
On ‘Bodysongâ€™, Jonny Greenwood sounds more than comfortable in the many musical directions he takes. The album is eclectic, but it’s all very cleverly held together. You can still hear a good interview about the making of the album here (you have to scroll down a bit). I can’t imagine ‘The Eraserâ€™ quite achieving the same thing.
Greenwood’s work as a pseudo-classical composer (he is Radio 3’s ‘composer in residence’) is also brilliant. ‘Smear’, a piece for the Ondes Martenot, is simply brilliant. ‘Piano for Children’ was a slow burner — it reveals real beauty over repeated listens. Download them via your favourite highly legal method.