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CD: Hail to the Thief

It’s now come to the point where the alternative rock band Radiohead seems absolutely incapable of making a conventional album, and Hail to the Thief is certainly no exception. The Oxford band’s sixth album, Hail to the Thief, has bold ambitions as it strives to “sum up what it’s like to be around in 2003,” explained guitarist Jonny Greenwood in an interview with the Los Angeles Times this past summer. The quintet found that fatherhood, reports of war in Afghanistan, the beauty of the English countryside and the future of democracy provided plenty of inspiration for this album.

Dark, honest emotion pours out of the guitar, piano, beatbox and experimental electronica elements, and nothing is more chilling and beautiful than frontman Thom Yorke’s dynamic voice. His soft-sung, three-part harmonies give me goosebumps and make my heart swell, overwhelmed with such depth of feeling. Suddenly, the bittersweet gloom in these melodies turns into thrashing and creepy sound. A cross between the music of Coldplay, the Pixies, Oasis, Nirvana, the Foo Fighters, R.E.M., Múm, Sigur Rós and Pink Floyd, “it’s direct music, quick, not thinking about it too much, just letting things happen,” Yorke said in the interview with the Times.

The band’s focus is not to be rock stars, but rather, to give musical shape to the world they see. Hail to the Thief communicates the reality of “the feeling that we are entering an age of intolerance and fear where the power to express ourselves in a democracy and have our voices heard is being denied” Yorke said. Lyrics like this are murky, political, sincere, thought-provoking, liberal and complicated, which makes absorbing the record’s genius 14 tracks more stimulating and soul-stirring with each listen. Well worth the price. Hear what made me fly to Camden, New Jersey to see them live. This album is incredible.

CD: Smallville Soundtrack: The Talon Mix
By Lizeth Castillo, 14, Monroe HS

This is the first soundtrack mix from The WB hit series Smallville. I got this CD

This is the perfect example of the kind of variety a soundtrack should have. Although if you’re a huge fan of rap or hip hop, this CD is definitely not for you. For others who have a wide range of musical interests or for those who particularly enjoy alternative music, run and get this A.S.A.P.

This fantastic musical experience includes hit artists like VonRay, Weezer, Sixpence None the Richer and Phantom Planet, just to name a few. Remy Zero‘s theme song to the series starts a great mix with Five For Fighting‘s “Superman” as a centerpiece. This song outlines how hard it is to be a superhero and make people realize he’s “more than a bird, more than a plane, more than some silly face beside a train.” In addition to those hits, this soundtrack also delivers a super-touching cover of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Time After Time” by Eva Cassidy. That song and Lifehouse‘s “Everything” will make you want to share a special moment with your honey just as Clark Kent shares with Lana Lang. because I was a fan of the show, not because I knew what songs were on the soundtrack. But after I dished out $14.99 for it, I fell in love by the fifth track.