The Best Of


Capitol, 2008

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


This “best of” album is Capitol’s final attempt to make any money off of Radiohead’s success. As much as they would’ve wished the new Radiohead record In Rainbows had been released under their banner, as opposed to independently, the label thought of the next best thing to do: release a bunch of Radiohead songs that they own, piggybacking on the success of the Radiohead name and of In Rainbows. This is the smell of desperation.

Radiohead was never a “singles” or a “best of” band; even their earlier efforts my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Pablo Honey and The Bends -- though not to the extent of their later ones -- worked as whole albums, and not as a bunch of songs thrown together, with some being better than others. While there might be a debate amongst the Radiohead-listening populace pertaining to the greatness of albums like Kid A and Amnesiac, there is no denying the fact that people either love or hate Radiohead’s albums in their entireties. Even for someone who has never braved to enter the sacrosanct and mind-bogglingly eccentric world of Radiohead, there is an album to start off with. One cannot like or hate the band just by listening to a bunch of songs from different albums.

As expected, there are no new songs on the The Best Of album; there is absolutely nothing for fans. Capitol is simply trying to milk what they have as far as they can. As if a single disc is not enough, this release is available in a myriad of formats: single CD with 17 songs; special-edition double CD with 13 tracks; four-piece vinyl with 29 tracks; 17-track and 30-track digital downloads; and a DVD version featuring all the videos.

Even though the double-disc release features “Talk Show Host” (the b-side to “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” which also appeared on the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack), which is not featured on any other Radiohead album, this collection is an absolute waste of money, except if one is interested in the DVD version for the videos. This record, at best, would work as a lame gift from a casual listener of music who might have spoken the name Radiohead once while trying to show off his or her knowledge in cult bands.

Bands like Duran Duran make excellent candidates for a “best of” album. But for Radiohead, the best place to start is an actual album. Perhaps the only record that could possibly ruin Radiohead’s catalog of memorable albums is a “best of.” Kudos, Capitol.

Rating: F

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© 2008 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.