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The Eraser

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iTunes Review

This solo release from Radiohead singer Thom Yorke finds him temporarily stepping away from his band, but without venturing too far off stylistically, as if he stole away with his laptop but stayed within earshot of rehearsal. The precisely layered music is almost entirely electronic—twitchy beats, stark samples, synthesizers, and assorted blips—with Yorke’s distinctive voice always upfront, clear, and intimate, the lyrics throughout provocative and imaginative. With few tempos changes, each song builds to a steady groove and then stays there for the duration, and though this leaves the album short on surprises, The Eraser achieves a continuity and stark beauty that allows it to work well as either a headphone album or as background music for a low-key party. Yorke is not attempting to make a great departure from his work with the band (the album was created with help from Nigel Godrich, who produced much of Radiohead’s output) so the overall sound will be familiar to loyal fans. But this is no mere filler until the next Radiohead release. The Eraser is strong enough to stand on its own and offers a fascinating, if dark, look into both Yorke’s world and ours.

Customer Reviews

Extremely interesting, but why on iTunes?

So far this album has recieved 71 reviews and only a handful ask why this album is on iTunes at all. Radiohead, and particularly Thom, have traditionally been anti-iTunes and against the big music industry. It's also significant because Stanley Donwood's album art and the music within are so intentionally interwoven. As art, The Eraser is almost incomplete without its visual component. (The digital version doesn't do Donwood's work total justice) Perhaps it was XL's decision, or perhaps Thom sees it as inevitable, or an attack on giants like Capitol, but I think some explanation should be in order about the decision to go on iTunes. That said, Thom's voice sounds beautiful, and the album is among the most creative and bold I've heard recently. At times it sounds derivative of Kid A and Amnesiac, but not entirely-the absence of Jonny's 'fleshing out' role in the songwriting certainly has an impact. The Eraser is one man's vision-undiluted, but also unassisted by the other members of the band. The highlights for me were The Eraser, Analyse, Black Swan, and Harrowdown Hill. Judged (as much as possible) on its own merits, its a good album. It's not Radiohead, but no one should expect it to be. Thom Yorke is certainly a creative genius, but if one comparison to Radiohead is to be made, perhaps it's that genius loves company.

The Eraser

Mainly taken from the KID A recording sessions Yorke's independent project is phenomenal. Apparently Bjork had told Yorke to do a record that focused on his voice and this is the result. The songs use small microbeats and minimal synths to create music that puts Thoms greatest assett right up front. The record sounds like what you would expect from a Radiohead record, but, it also stands alone as a new sound for Yorke and hopefully a new direction for singers and songwriters. Harrowdown Hill is a standout track and the Eraser is a standout album.

Listen to this album as a whole

First thing that needs to said about this album is that it is NOT Radiohead. I am a huge fan of Radiohead, but I also like this album. Gone are most of the guitar and drum riffs that provide the undercurrent for Thom Yorke's sweeping, edgy vocals. Instead, you get a journey through Yorke's own musical mind, aided by a lot of electronics somewhat reminiscent of "Kid A", although that's the only Radiohead album that you might compare this to. Second, I don't think there are any songs on this album that stand on their own very well. It's kind of ironic that one of the primary reasons why Radiohead doesn't want their music on iTunes is because they don't want to break up their albums to be sold song by song. This album, more than any of Radiohead's albums, is probably most hurt by iTunes' pricing structure. The songs are somewhat amorphous. They easily blend from one to the next in a way that is natural and soothing. As individual tracks, the album is so-so, but this album is the epitome of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Taken together, they are fantastic. I can't say that I listen to any one or two tracks alone very often, but the entire album is frequently playing at my home.


Born: October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Few rock singers of the alternative era were as original or as instantly unforgettable as Thom Yorke, and his band, Radiohead, became one of the biggest acts of the 1990s and 2000s for their challenging and unpredictable music. Early on, Yorke rarely worked outside the band, but he steadily collaborated with a variety of artists, released a pair of low-key solo albums, and briefly led another band, the Afrobeat-inspired Atoms for Peace. Throughout, he worked closely with Radiohead producer Nigel...
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