The true star of Radiohead

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, ‘Bodysong’, is much better than Radiohead’s last album, ‘Hail to the Thief’, 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 ‘Bodysong’, 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 Eraser’ 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.

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