Review : Thom Yorke - The Eraser
PitchforkWhen the nine remixes that make up this CD officially hit the web in December 2007, surprisingly few paid them much attention. It wasn't a quality issue as much as timing-- an incredible marketing plan/album called In Rainbows had been set upon starving web consumers just two months before, and Radiohead fans were still in the glassy-eyed-wonder stage. At that point, Thom Yorke's The Eraser seemed like a harmless but necessary detour. While only a few would name The Eraser as their favorite Radiohead-related LP, the 2006 record gave Yorke the chance to air out his electrohead side before heading back to the band for In Rainbows-- the most naturalistic Radiohead album since OK Computer. The assumed logic seems sound: no Eraser, no In Rainbows. A little over a year ago, The Eraser was a tiny lily pad, so why fret about these redos courtesy of dudes from Yorkie's dubstep-heavy iPod?
Though there's no discernible reason for The Eraser Rmxs finally getting a U.S. release right now (the songs were originally sold as MP3s, then a collection of three-song EPs, then as a CD in Japan last year), it sort of makes sense. Though the original album may have caused Radiohead to not make a record that sounds like it, the LP has caused some guy named Kanye West to do his best impression of it. Of the influences West cites in his recent Grammy ad, The Eraser lies directly in his head space. And there's no denying the spare sonic similarities between the record and West's current 808s and Heartbreak, which currently sits at No. 5 on the Billboard charts. Its current single, "Heartless", is No. 3. So it turns out The Eraser played a large part in both Radiohead's consensus return-to-form LP as well as one of the most galvanizing pop albums in recent memory. Maybe this record's more important that we originally thought....full text
RollingstonesMany people find Thom Yorke disturbing. And Thom Yorke seems to be one of them. On his excellent surprise solo album, The Eraser, he creeps himself out constantly, muttering about heartbreak amid waves of electronic keyboards. He doesn't have the rest of Radiohead to buoy him up -- it's just a man and his laptop, with hardly any guitar. Yorke comes on as a Lieutenant Columbo of the psyche, rumpled and haggard, who always has just one more question. On The Eraser, he has some particularly barbed ones. "Are you only being nice because you want something?" he asks in the opening title tune. "Be careful how you respond/You might end up in this song." Like the rest of the album, it's intensely beautiful, yet it explores the kind of emotional turmoil that makes the angst of OK Computer or The Bends sound like kid stuff.
Yorke recorded The Eraser with Nigel Godrich and kept it a secret until Radiohead hit the road, so nobody would wonder if they were splitting up. The album could hardly sound more different from the superb new uptempo songs Radiohead are debuting on their current tour. Live, Radiohead are killing crowds with the Velvets-riffing "Arpeggi" and "Bodysnatchers," or the Run-DMC tribute "15 Step," or the trimly rocked-out "Bangers 'n' Mash," which is even cooler than the classic Peter Sellers/Sophia Loren duet of the same name. But The Eraser is full of glitchy electro ballads, in the style of Kid A tracks like "Morning Bell" and "How to Disappear Completely." The structures are tighter than in Radiohead songs, centered on the vocals -- fans hoping for ten-minute ambient dub doodles will be disappointed. Yorke's voice has never sounded so fragile; his melodies have never sounded so mournful. In a word, he sounds alone. And it wears him out....full text
MusicomhThom Yorke insisted, ahead of the release of his first solo album The Eraser, that he "don't wanna hear that word solo". The Radiohead front man nevertheless wrote, played and recorded these nine tracks of electronica on his own, with the producing assistance of Nigel Godrich, during a lull in his band's creativity.
Radiohead purists who believe the band and its members should only ever regurgitate The Bends in perpetuum are unlikely to find The Eraser easy listening. But those who appreciated the electronic dabblings of Radiohead's Kid A/Amnesiac period will find plenty of sonic common ground. The shambling, pulsing electronic skit beats, peculiar time signatures and noirish atmosphere are all present and correct, but while much of Kid A featured distorted vocals, on The Eraser, Yorke's voice is given its full head of steam....full text
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