When it comes to the music industry and new artists, almost everyone has heard of them. The thing is, however, that not many people have listened to their music. This seems to be a common misconception with bands such as Radiohead, who are constantly overlooked by audiences because they’re “overplayed.” And while having recognition for being a famous band helps keep your job and build your resume (especially if you’re interested in becoming a music manager), it doesn’t exactly help when trying to expand your audience and break into different genres. When you listen to Radiohead, there’s no denying that they’re an amazing band with Grammy-winning potential. Their lyrics are complex; their melodies are catchy, their rhythm and beat is delightful and most importantly, each song tells its own story. However, when you think about them from a contemporary rock perspective, they don’t really have everything in the right place (at least not yet). What we mean by this is that Radiohead might not be ready for the industry just quite yet… but they will be soon!
The Good Stuff
Although it’s important to discuss where Radiohead needs to improve, we first want to recognize the things the band does extremely well and could transfer over to the contemporary rock scene. The first thing we want to talk about is their musical complexity. When you listen to Radiohead, you can tell that each member is extremely talented and passionate about their instrument. While some bands only have one or two members who write the music, Radiohead has five people who are involved in almost every aspect of the creative process. And while this may seem like a lot of work and unnecessary pressure, it makes their music more authentic and relatable to their audience. Another thing that makes Radiohead such a great band is their ability to experiment with new sounds, genres, and sub-genres. While it’s important to have a foundation for your music, it’s even more important to try something new and break the norm. Radiohead does this on almost every album and sometimes, even within the same song! This experimentation and desire to push their boundaries can be seen not only in their lyrics, melodies, and rhythms but also in their choice of instruments. Whether it’s the horn section in “Let Down” or “The Numbers” or the synth in “No Surprises” and “Idioteque,” Radiohead always keeps their music fresh and interesting.
What Radiohead Has Right in Contemporary Rock
As we discussed above, Radiohead has a lot going for them in the music industry. However, one major weakness that prevents them from being accepted into the contemporary rock scene is their musical genre and tone. Musical Genre - As we discussed earlier, Radiohead is primarily a rock band. While this is a great start and something many other bands strive for, it’s not enough to truly expand your audience and become one of the biggest names in the industry. Although rock has a large audience, many sub-genres also have large followings and will help you reach a new (and perhaps bigger) crowd. Tone - While the musical genre of your band is the foundation of your sound, the tone of your music is what makes it unique. Think about it this way, musical genres are like the types of houses you can buy. There are many options available to you, but it’s the tone that will help you decide which one best suits your needs and lifestyle. The same can be said for musical genres. However, while musical genres are like the houses you buy, tone is more like the paint color and interior design.
Where Radiohead Needs to Improve
As we’ve already discussed, Radiohead has a lot going for them and they’ve already made great progress towards becoming one of the biggest names in contemporary rock. However, there are still a few things they need to work on before they’re ready to be accepted in the industry. The first thing is their ability to stand out from other rock bands. While Radiohead is an amazing rock band, there are many other rock bands out there who are also amazing and who will be competing against you for the same slots on the radio, on tour, and at awards shows. To stand out from the crowd and truly become one of the biggest names in contemporary rock, you have to be able to differentiate yourself from other bands. The second thing Radiohead needs to work on is building their brand and expanding their fan base. Radiohead is a good name, but it’s not memorable. If you were to ask a random person on the street if they’ve ever heard of Radiohead, they would probably say no. This is one of the main reasons why people overlook Radiohead and why they’re not as big as they should be. It’s important for artists to create their own brand and make themselves memorable so that people can associate their name with the image you want them to see.