I have been very proud that the “Easy Run” category of this blog hasn’t been seeing much action the past few months. Meaning that it’s not often I simply go out to run some LSD anymore. In fact, the last entry was almost two months ago. Now every workout serves a purpose. Maximize my time. Test myself frequently. Track the results.
Thank you, Training Peaks…I get it already!
But ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning haven’t exactly been hitting the asphalt too confidentially lately either, ever since getting back from my San Antonio trip (or what is now known as the “Great Taco Rising” five day calorie orgy of complex proteins, craft beer and bad Tex Mex). So today’s plan was to just give the fella’s a break from all the intensity and not ask for anything more that a nice, simple, easy 9k jog; to hell with Strava. It’s nice out, what the fuck.
There also the perfect “side-excuse”, if you will, for not wanting to suffer through any 2 or 4 minute intervals today down Thunder Bay Rd., in that I have also been waiting to really listen to the newest album by by Radiohead, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool‘.
Remember the whole total media feeding frenzy that was it’s digital release as a download (iTunes, Apple Music and Tidal) on May 8th of this year? The whole thing was backed by the singles ‘Burn the Witch‘ and ‘Daydreaming‘ and, whoo boy! Who doesn’t love themselves a new and weird Thom Yorke video, amiright? Is he going to perform another awesome herky-jerky dance? Will it be stop-motion animation? How about a period piece? Will he wear a hat?
And the album isn’t even in stores yet. It’s official record store release is on June 17th. Next week. But if you want to give up your first born you can pre-order a vinyl copy of the album now which will likely contain actual DNA extracted from Thom Yorke’s semen embedded in every pressing. Yes, Thom Yorke will personally christen each and every record before it’s get sealed up and shipped off to you. Not really. But seriously, that’s what I would expect to happen in order to pay some of the ridiculous prices I’ve seen.
(I was curious).
Up to this point, I think I’ve been pretty good at learning not to simply rush into a Radiohead album. It’s not that easy. With some albums you can just dive right in head first with total motorboat gusto, but with a new Radiohead album you have to be more stealthy. It’s true. One has to be savvy and cautious in the way they approaches a new Radiohead album; as if they’re trying to slowly creep up on a baby deer in the forest so as to not scare it off*. Spook it too suddenly and it will take off at a full gallop into the darkest corners of the forest never to be seen again, or if you’re more patient, it might let you come right up to it and embrace it softly, while nuzzling right up there in that shit, as it begins to take it’s magic hold over you.
Wait, we’re still talking about Radiohead here, right?
Their last album, ‘King of Limbs‘ was exactly like that for me. When everyone else plundered their way in upon it’s release and then immediately cried “it’s shite!” from the rooftops, I just ignored you and waited an entire month…and loved it immediately. It’s amazing, in fact. Even those original naysayers are now hailing it as a masterpiece. If you disagree, start your own blog. The point is, it just took everyone a little more time to 100% absorb it and get it.
I understand that.
Not that anyone listens.
Anyway, seeing as how that album date is just on the horizon, there will be no further holding back of the second wave of media shit’s that about to unleash over the airwaves. So, as of today, I surrender. I’m pulling the cork on my whole conscientious Radiohead blackout by using this run as a 50 minute opportunity to try and creep up on and nuzzle the deer that is, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool‘.
Right off the boo-boo, ‘Burn the Witch‘ sets sail at a feverish pitch and framed with a gorgeous, driving string arpeggio. I have to remind myself that this is meant to be an easy run and not just go out like a gazelle. The song is an epic slow-burner that starts right off the cuff and continuously fans the flames from there until it suddenly sucks out all the air altogether and the fire immediately goes out. This is definitely staying on my iPod for future playlist inspiration. From there, the 2nd track/release, ‘Daydreaming‘ takes it right down a notch in a complete change of direction. This lends credit so some of the early critics who claimed that the lack of cohesion through the album was a problem and to them I say: Blow me! That’s why you don”t go rushing in. The track is gorgeous and as perfect there as anywhere else on the album.
In fact, every song is 100% infectious. ‘Decks Dark‘ and ‘Desert Island Disc‘ are both as eerie as they are delicate and pretty. Just try and not let the later bring a smile to your face. ‘Full Stop‘ hikes things back up again with a steady throbbing bass hook and again I have to remind myself to keep it dialed back. ‘The Number’ might just be among the best tracks that Radiohead has ever written or recorded. No shit. I guess I just love me some dark riffs accompanied by a lilting string section.
And to the premature jag offs who started lobbing grenades after the album was released back in May that another concern lies in the last two tracks, ‘Tinker Tailer Soldier Sailer Rich Man Poor Man Begger Man Thief‘ and ‘True Loves Waits‘, which are both on the more ethereal side, meaning that the last 10 minutes or so of the album are “anti-climatic”.
Again, I say: How did your deer look crashing away into the undergrowth?
In short, the album is a masterpiece and right at the very tippy top of the Radiohead album catalog iceberg. And considering the high esteem that I hold many of Radiohead’s albums, this is no small claim…I get that. But. It is that fucking good. I guess who could say that I have successfully become one with the deer.
Today’s run went well where I hatched up the pace gingerly here and there before backing it down again to a near walking pace when I felt like doing so with not a stitch of guilt or remorse. Altogether, an avg. pace of 5:42min/km isn’t a bad pace at all. However, I prefer to look at it this way: It took me exactly 9 kilometers of distance covered to also listen to exactly 50 minutes and 23 seconds worth of Radiohead magnificence.
I may even have to pick me up one of those fancy Thom Yorke gunk-imbued records.
*The same currently holds true for me with the new Stone Roses single ‘All For One‘.