Album: Kid A
Critic: Brent DiCrescenzo
Publication: Pitchfork, 2000
Writing Disorders: Idea Fever, Purple Hemorrhage
Length of Review: 1,238 words
Most Emo Phrase: “The butterscotch lamps along the walls of the tight city square bled upward into the cobalt sky, which seemed as strikingly artificial and perfect as a wizard’s cap.”
Hyphen Violations: womb-like, string-laden, whale-chant
This may be the goofiest music review ever written. And Brent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time. While I’m sure you’re in your 40s by now and probably don’t even remember your writing, the stink of it’s still fresh in my mind. Maybe if I waft some of it your way, you’ll feel a tiny pang of shame for subjecting the world to it all those years ago. Here’s to hoping. Let’s begin, shall we?
As is usually the case with your reviews, this 1,200-word monstrosity begins with a lengthy personal anecdote that you wrote like a man going into space for the first time:
“The metal skeleton of the stage ate one end of Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce, on the steps of the Santa Croce Cathedral. Michelangelo’s bones and cobblestone laid beneath. I stared entranced…”
Ugh. Is this a travelogue or a music review, Anthony Bourdain? I’m wondering if you wrote this to add substance to the review or simply to say, “Hey ladies, I been to Italy!” In either case, you really don’t need it. It’s a weird waste of a lot of space. We get it. You like the band.
After rambling about Italy for a good four paragraphs, you finally get to the album review itself. At that point, it’s a parade of some of the clunkiest metaphors ever to smudge the pages of music opinion. Behold!
“Kid A sounds like a clouded brain trying to recall an alien abduction”
“Everything in Its Right Place” opens like Close Encounters spaceships communicating with pipe organs.”
“Brash brass bursts from above like Terry Gilliam’s animated foot.”
“The primal, brooding guitar attack of “Optimistic” stomps like mating Tyrannosaurs.”
“Words accumulate and stick in his mouth like eye crust.”
Call me crazy, but I think it takes a certain kind of introvert to write this stuff and then a few months later write that Tool’s defining element was “wanking sludge.” And how do you know that Tyrannosaurs stomped while mating? Maybe the whole thing was a very subdued affair based on mutual respect and affection. I’m also pretty sure that eye crust would dissolve in the mouth…not that I really want to think about it any more than you already made me. Gross.
Then there’s stuff like this gem:
“The experience and emotions tied to listening to Kid A are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax.”
Brent, help me out here. Were you trying to solidify your legend as the world’s worst by exaggerating your own notorious tendencies, or did you really blow a load this wet and cloying over an album without a shred of irony? I’m inclined to believe the latter, because against the backdrop of your ridiculously stingy “reviews,” you obviously have a soft spot for Radiohead:
“it’s clear that Radiohead must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who.”
No, it’s not clear. It’s clear to you because you liked the album a lot. I’m pretty sure most die-hard fans of Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Mars Volta, Smashing Pumpkins, or any other band you savaged would say the same thing about their favorites. And what’s funny to me is that for all your disdain, those fans would probably write something less self-gratifying if given the chance than you did in this review. But hey, they’re just regular people who couldn’t muster this level of overwhelming insight even if they tried, right?
“A teardrop of fire shot from space and disappeared behind the church where the syrupy River Arno crawled”
This isn’t our last meeting, Brent. Not by a longshot.